Learn from the Problems at K-Mart
The last few years have not been good for the founder of the big box discounter K-Mart. Sales are bad and the merger with Sears has not stopped the decline. While I do not have experience with their corporate issues, I will go over some issues I have observed in their stores, and some of things they need to do to turn things around.
Why would I go over K-Mart's problems in this blog? Simple, so that you can learn from K-Mart/Sears mistakes and show you what pitfalls to avoid. While I could write a book on their issues I will only outline the problems and give you solutions so you can apply them to your business.
The first and foremost problem K-Mart has is poor customer service. They have cut store staffing to the bone and now there is not enough people to assist the customers they have. Some examples of the problems: customers cannot get help in the departments, if there is a problem at the checkouts say with a price, it takes an eternity for someone to do a price check, and employees are poorly trained and cannot deal with problems. This is just a store issue since I have seen these problems at every K-Mart I have been to in the last two or three years.
The remodel that isn't. When K-Mart started to change the name of the stores to Sears Essentials all that changed was the sign on the door but nothing was done to the interior. The Sears Essentials I have been into had no interior modifications so they look like dumps. Sadly most of the K-Marts I have been into look like they haven't been cleaned in 20 years. That is a problem because it scares customers away. Just a coat of paint goes a long way to changing perceptions.
They still have no idea what they are trying to be. Then again Wal-Mart is starting to have some of these problems, and Nordstrom had this problem a few years ago. K-Mart and Sears need to figure out what they want to be, what market they are going after, and go for it instead of trying to be all things to all people because it doesn't work. Target has their niche, Wal-Mart has their niche (even if they want to change it), Nordstrom has their niche and K-Mart/Sears should try to find where they fit in. I live near the first Sears Grand store and I thought it had a ton of potential but there is so many big box stores, maybe its time to go after something else?
This gives you a general idea of the problems facing K-Mart and Sears. While it is no way a comprehensive list, it does show the biggest three problems they are facing. I hope looking at their problems gives you ideas to improve your business and make your business the best it can be.