In my last post, I mentioned the 12 minute void. I had entered a Duty Free Store with the intention of buying a birthday gift for my wife and ended up walking away empty handed.  Here is the reason why….

Looking for inspiration, I entered the store. As I ambled round from category to category, I noted that there was an abundance of staff but they were all much more interested in talking to each other than serving customers.  Almost every beauty brand had consultants yet only some were actively talking to shoppers. The rest were either talking to each other or avoiding interaction (it wasn’t just me before you ask!).

Low Hanging Fruit

12 minutes of wandering round the store without any interaction is an odd experience. Despite putting out clear buying signals, there was not the motivation there to try and make the sale. It would appear that most staff were more interested in the low hanging fruit…. Those shoppers who walk up, ask for something specific and they ring it through the till.


Liquor didn’t fair much better. Stood at a tasting area, 3 members of staff were stood chatting. One finally turned to me with a “yeah?” as an opening line. Now, having managed shop floors ranging from 500 square feet to 60,000 square feet, I was ready to go into orbit! Keeping calm I asked to try a product. One of them sauntered over, handed me a sample and turned away to return to their conversation.

The $2m Opportunity

I walked away and found a suitable vantage point to spend the next 10 minutes observing. I found that I was not the only shopper to have these type of experiences. Imagine this is happening once every 10 minutes with an average transaction value of $80 being lost. That equates to $2.1m of lost sales every year….. from a single store.

All it would have taken is a friendly smile and a “Hello”.

The Reality

Of course, we would love to think that our stores are at the top of their game every minute of every day. In reality, they are not. In fact, in a lot of occasions, there is a long way to go to get the fundamentals right. For a one pager on steps to fix the fundamentals on the frontline, please contact me on

Next time, I will share my experience with another retailer in the same location. Having failed to find an appropriate gift in the duty free store, I went to another luxury store….

Until next time.