In a single word what customers want most is Convenience. In the retail world we tend to mainly use the word convenience when referring to a particular type and size of store that mostly sells groceries and a limited range of other goods. Perhaps because of this we are missing a broader meaning of the term. Wikipedia defines Convenience as anything that is intended to save resources (time, energy) or frustration. Imagine if we reviewed our current ways of working by constantly asking ourselves “is this convenient for customers?”
I don’t have any insider information but it appears that Wickes asked themselves this question about customers who had to drive out to their store to get some minor items such as screws or white paint. It would be much more convenient for the customer if they could get this type of item closer to home without making a special journey to a large out of town Wickes store. So Wickes are trying out a 700sq ft in town store to test out the concept. I hope that it works because it would be much more convenient for me too.
The “is this convenient for customers?” question works is many other contexts too. Think about checkout queues, store layout, signage, stock availability, product information and customer service. It’s interesting to visit stores as a consumer with this convenient question in mind. I know that when we do this we often pick up some good ideas as well as identify some practices that might be convenient for the retailer but are definitely not convenient for customers.