The main reasons why people don't buy are pretty simple:
- They don't know that the goods or services are available
- The goods or services that are available are not those for which they are looking and/or need
- The goods or services are not considered good value for money
- The service (or lack thereof) provided by the seller is such that the customer considers it "just too hard" to buy
Ken Varga (http://kenvarga.com/) has some interesting things to say about this issue - perhaps even to some of the affected retailers.
I believe that a key problem is that so many of our major retailers have moved away from their core business. Where once stores like Myers and David Jones employed their own staff, trained those staff, and ensured that their staff knew about far more than just the small area in which they worked, today this is not the case. Our retailers seem to have moved to a situation in which various brands lease parts of the store and each is interested only in promoting their brands. In addition, because employment costs are seen as an expense rather than an investment, the stores have moved to a minimalist position on staffing levels and pay those they do employ the lowest possible wages they can get away with. The stores show little or no loyalty to staff (apart from the middle to senior managers and executives) so why should the staff show loyalty to them?
Good customer service requires engaged staff. To get staff committed to what they are doing, to their co-workers, and to their organisation, requires a vastly different type of leadership from that which is currently being provided. Unless an organisation is consciously set up to create an environment in which employees at all levels have a high probability of being successful, then customer service (and profitability) become a random end variable - which is, I guess, exactly where many organisations are today.
More information about Doug Long at http://www.dglong.com