What’s love got to do with it?

Does love have anything to do with Retail?


I have written (a lot) about the keys t success and the reasons for failure. I have been careful not to define any of those a ‘silver bullet’. Customer experience. Staff. Training. Merchandising. Mobile. Social. The list goes on…

But, if there is one thing that gets pretty close to being the ‘unified theory of everything’ as far as retail goes; this is it: LOVE.

1. Love your job

I see so many people who are not proud to be a retailer and don’t admit to being a retailer. For example; I meet newsagents who cling to the misguided idea that somehow a newsagent is some exalted form of retail, but they don’t want to be a retailer. Often their particular store is just an old-fashioned convenience store, and they nothing but a shopkeeper – as if there is shame in that.

Shopkeeping is a profession if you are professional about it.

2. Love your customer

I have said this often in presentations, classes, and lectures: Retailing is not about product, price and promotion – the usually list of Ps – but retailing is really only about one thing; people.

Every retailer is in the people business. (Except maybe banks.) If you don’t like people, even the ones that give you the heebie jeebies, you are in the wrong business. If you heart doesn’t go a-flutter when a customer walks into your store, you should find something else to do.

3. Love your product

Some people are born for the buzz and pace of hospitality, others are shoe people. Other still are born to be in books or love to get lost in the knick-knacky world of gifts. And if you ask a book lover to run a restaurant, they never seem to do as well as they otherwise would.

It is a fact that people love certain things more than other things. And it is obvious why this fact plays a role in how good they are when they find their passion.

4. And above all, love yourself

What can I say? Listen to your self-talk. What do you say to yourself when you catch yourself making a mistake? If the answer is not very flattering, then you have some work to do, because accepting and loving yourself is the starting point. (And this is not about drinking from the lake of Narcissus.)

The idea of love may at first not seem appropriate for the cut-and-thrust of commerce. I hear often that retail is a numbers game. But it isn’t a numbers game; that is just how we keep score for lack of something better.

Retail is about love. Really.

Go hug a customer. (You know what I mean.)


At Ganador we help the retail supply chain love what they do by getting better at it.

PS1: If you want to watch a video on the real unified theory of everything, here is 42 minutes on string theory. And it is not as boring as it sounds.

PS2: I have written a rant on my private Tumblr about the lie that love makes the world go round as promised in all our pop songs – just for a different perspective.

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