The big box store. A retail creation that has transformed how we shop. For better or worse, more and more Canadians are purchasing what they need, and sometimes all of it, at one store. Whether it's Costco, Walmart, or the latest Canadian entrant Target, we definitely have choices. And that's just the retailers who offer everything. There are also the specialty big box retailers like Home Depot, Winners and Best Buy.
So, why are we so taken with big box shopping? And how good are they at delivering a great experience?
On their own, the above suggests it is worthwhile to shop exclusively at these retailers. But, let's look at the bigger picture - for those of us seeking a great customer experience, it will be harder to come by...
Where does this leave us? Simple. If you are looking for a one stop shop and don't care about being wooed by a great customer experience, than big box retailing is absolutely for you. Moreover, they provide affordable options and are accessible to pretty much everyone. Therefore, it's hard to argue with their success.
I, on other hand, crave the EXPERIENCE, so I choose to shop elsewhere, when I can. I prefer a place where I can relax, enjoy the environment and be well taken care of. Even if I have to pay a bit more to get it. Of course, unless you live in the city core and don't mind spending a bit more money, there aren't a lot of alternatives, especially when you're shopping for food, electronics or home improvements. But I chase it anyway!
I would challenge big box retailers no differently than the grocery store chains to see how they can improve the customer experience without veering from their priorities of price, choice and accessibility. And as a suburbanite even I can admit to a new found big box dependency - I'd just prefer that be by choice instead of need.
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