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  • Gary Hawkins

All Customers are not equal in Retail

Customers are not equal in retail. This is not heresy but fact. We discovered this firsthand 25 years ago when we launched one of the early loyalty programs in supermarket retail and began capturing customer identified purchase data. It quickly became obvious that a relative handful of shoppers generates a large portion of annual sales and even more of gross profit. At the same time, a majority of shoppers are shopping very infrequently and spending little. And yet a vast majority of retailers continue to ignore these economics. Some retailers, those who understand the data, skew value in different ways towards their more loyal, valuable customers. Kroger has been doing this for years with a few other retailers finally catching on in recent times. As my friend Brian Woolf was fond of saying "Treat all your customers equally (with great service) but reward them differently". Retailers who fail to understand customer behavior and economics are increasingly disadvantaged in today's marketplace.

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