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Submit On: 20-08-2010

Retailers need to be authentic if their customers are to regard stores as a home away from home.

Driving loyalty amongst retail customers is becoming part of the customer's "Life World".

It's an intimate decision to bring a party inside an individual's life world.  Humans don't make these decisions lightly, and in a world where increasingly they face a mixture of authentic and undeserved invitations, consumers are easily deterred.

Melbourne University's Michael Healy, presenting parts of his nearly complete Doctoral thesis makes the point well at a briefing attended by Josem.  Michael's field research investigated how consumers react to specific efforts by a retailer to establish a third place (First is home, second is work), what works and what doesn't.

The clear message is "be authentic", and understand the social cultural values of the target market segments.

Josem's summation is that subscribing to common cultural values is a critical requirement if consumers and retailers are to develop meanigngful and authentic loyalty.

Some of the reasons for consumers establishing a third place, one that is revisted time and again for rerasonable lengths of time:

  • Escape from the real world - time-outs
  • Easy access
  • Safety

An interesting indicator as to whether or not a retail store has become an authentic third place is the tendency to see "co-production", where the consumer adds or attempts to adivise the management on how to enhance the business or product.

Another interesting aspect to establishing the third place is the social aspect.  Other like-minded consumers will be drawn to the concept when they witness behaviours that they too can replicate.


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