The Return of the Department Store

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It’s no secret that the Macy’s and Gimbel’s of my parents day, once the hub of all shopping, are no longer a very important piece of mix. Shopping in the “something for everyone” environment is out of fashion.

But, the one stop shop or department store model is finding a new home – the service department store.

I have witnessed an increasing number of service providers adding products and services to compliment their core offerings and becoming an essential hub in their client’s life.

A participant at a recent workshop I was conducting referred to his business as a “financial salon.” His clients, admittedly upscale, find that art, music, gourmet coffee and a masseuse are part of the experience involved in tax return preparation. His clients come to him for all of their financial needs. This idea of “family CFO” has begun to take root in the financial services industry.

I believe other industries could easily follow suite. What about a home repair concierge. An office locator and outfitter. A marketing department for hire (complete with web designer, writer, graphic designer, printer and marketing coordinator.)

I’m not a fan of simply offering more to try to serve everyone. What I am advocating though is the ability to become more important to your clients, to find an experience they are seeking and enhance it, to aggregate and filter the information overload they are experiencing.

You can still maintain a narrow market focus, with enormous growth opportunities, when you begin to adopt the service department store mentality.


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