May 07, 2020

Outliers

When I worked at Nordstrom, Oprah, a powerful woman who hosted her own afternoon talk show, decided to feature a garment of ours on her show. 

Note:  This was in the time before podcasts and Instagram. Now everybody has a talk show.

I don't recall whether Oprah volunteered this unfettered sales surge upon us or if our PR department worked their magic. Regardless, the sales came rolling in.

It was my job to analyze what happened "after" the sales surge ended.
  1. Sales of the item returned to normal.
  2. The customers who bought the item were generally new customers, and generally didn't return to buy anything else. Some did. The vast majority didn't.
Customer response to outlier events is different. You may catch lightning in a bottle. You might declare bankruptcy because your stores were closed for the greater good. Regardless, customer behavior ... response to either outlier, is going to be different.

It's our job to ferret through the differences, evaluate the impact of the outlier, and then teach our Leaders what we've learned about customer behavior. Our Leaders have concerns, just like you do. Help 'em out.

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