This week my mum informed me that she was going to Harris Scarfe to look for some sheet sets. She asked if I wanted to come with her, however I declined. I didn’t need sheets and I couldn’t think of anything that I thought the store would offer and which I needed. But more to the point I’ve never been inside a Harris Scarfe store in my life, despite this store being only 15mins away at my local Westfield mega centre.
It got me thinking about why I knew nothing about this store and had never ventured in. I guess I’ve just never been properly introduced.
A quick google and it turns out the brand is almost 170 yrs old. It was established in Adelaide and I guess that has created part of my problem. I’m up here in sunny Queensland and Harris Scarfe is a bit of a new comer to our state that’s why I don’t really know much about them, none of my family or friends have introduced me.
When you think of shops they could be compared to family. Some of them have been around since our birth- Coles, Woolworths, David Jones, Myer, Kmart, Country Road, Sportscraft etc. (depending upon your age of course) They are like the grandparents, aunties, uncles and cousins that we just grow up knowing who they are. They are constants in our life. You can’t even remember when you were introduced, just that they’ve always been there. Then there are our friends in life, perhaps you’ve been introduced via a 3rd person. Some introductions via a 3rd party come with an assurance that you’re really going to like so and so. Sometimes that’s the case and other introductions you just don’t gel.
Of those friends and relatives you work out their individual quirks and whether you get on with them. Some of them you always feel happy when you visit, others you visit occasionally and that’s enough for quite a while. There are the cool cousins and the glamorous aunties and the practical down to earth friends who are always comforting and no matter how long you spend with them, you can’t wait to see them again.
Think about a new store that you’ve ventured into. Did it come recommended via someone you know? Did they tell you about all the cool treasures they’ve found and they think you would like the products too? Or had you seen some really great advertising or social media and it just resonated with you to the point that you wanted to visit?
If you’ve had none of those experiences what do you do when a new neighbour moves in? Do you go and introduce yourself first and hope that they will be nice and reciprocate with warmth? When you meet someone new it’s hard not to make a comparison and think to yourself how much characteristics of them remind you of other people you know. I think we all make a little mental calculation of where that person fits into our social hierarchy. We do the same with shops. We know you can go to store A or B and their prices will be similar with subtle differences in their products or Store A and B will have very similar products with price point differences.
Relationships are double sided. So how does the new retail kid introduce themselves? They can’t just sit around waiting for outsiders to make the first move, they’ve also got to decide who they want to appeal to, be friends with and hang out with. That’s where the marketing gurus step in to become the match makers and introduce us to new friends that hopefully we will have lasting relationships with.