NEW YORK ( MainStreet) -- Urban Outfitters ( URBN) is having trouble connecting with consumers and investors. The stock is down 25% this year as the retailer finds itself in the middle of a competitive industry dominated by discount retailers with consumers increasingly disconnected to the merchandise."This is a fashion issue, plain and simple," Bloomberg reported Urban Outfitters CEO Glen Senk saying during an earnings investor call last month. "We need more compelling product."
|DeCicco's food stores are an example of a retailer that aims to listen to and adapt to the needs of its customers.|
John DeCicco Jr., director of operations for DeCicco Family Markets says maintaining customer relevancy is paramount. The specialty food store, started by John DeCicco's father and two uncles, has eight stores in Westchester county and Rockland county, N.Y., with a ninth opening next year. DeCicco's opened its first store in 1972 in an Irish area in the Bronx, but the focus has changed since then. As C-Town stores, they catered toward the middle-income consumer. As the company expanded north into more affluent areas, customers were naturally looking for different, higher-quality foods. DeCicco's decided to rebrand and hone its niche, offering gourmet natural foods and prioritizing customer service. It's not unusual for a customer to ask for an item that's not on the shelves to be ordered. The product is brought in within a few days and sometimes kept on the shelves, he says. "Every store is merchandised a little differently based on customers' wants and needs," he says. "That's one thing we do that's really different than the chains. It's obviously appreciated by customers." There is a lesson in DeCicco's strategy: Be sure to listen to what your customers are asking for and respond to them as quick as you can. Customers will appreciate the quick turnaround and hospitality.