Several companies seem to be in perpetual financial trouble: Sears. JCPenney. Pick an airline. Radio Shack.
A recent visit to the Florence Meat Market on Great Jones Street in Greenwich Village revealed lessens for all retailers -- especially Radio Shack. At almost 100 years of age, Florence Meat Market shows no signs of trouble.
1. Florence Meat Market has vast competition. Big chain supermarkets, chain meat markets, medium size markets, organic nonsense markets, etc. Florence thrives because it does not respond to the competition. Customers who shopped the store 50 years ago find the exact same merchandising and product offerings today. Nothing has changed.
2. The staff is stable and knows its customers by name. The last time I went there was two years ago. This week when I walked in the door the butchers called out my name.
3. Pricing is competitive. Surprisingly, for a small retailer Florence’s prices are below those of stores like Whole Foods -- but the product is superior.
4. When you order meat at Florence the butcher goes to the source, cuts it before your eyes, prepares it before your eyes -- and when you take it home you become a great chef. Their product line is vast, but the staff knows the strengths and weaknesses of each product.
Note: At Radio Shack, a store of similar size, the staff does not know about each product. Most of the staff is new. Some clerks know about the phones, others the electronic components, others know about headphones. No one seems to know something about everything. Waiting to find the person who knows about a desired product can easily send a customer out the door forever.
5. Somebody is in charge. At Florence, the manager is not on break or in the back. The manager, Maria, is on site at all times and can answer any question. She’s confident and has a quick smile.
6. Ambiance sells. Florence Meat Market plays opera and classical music. This music takes customers back to a time when mom and pop markets were the economic base of New York City.
7. Florence Meat Market sells meat -- nothing else. No pans or flans or shenanigans -- just meat!
At Radio Shack there is a shelf full of lame radios amid dozens of other products in the store. According to Nielson, 65% of Americans will listen to radio today. Wouldn’t it make sense for Radio Shack to deliver on its name and sell great radios?The opinions and points of view expressed in this commentary are exclusively the views of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of MediaBizBloggers.com management or associated bloggers. MediaBizBloggers is an open thought leadership platform and readers may share their comments and opinions in response to all commentaries.