Kmart's Ten Deadly Sins: How Incompetence Tainted An American Icon

By Marcia Layton Turner | Go to book overview
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2
Not Knowing Its Customers

”Kmart thought their customer was anybody and everybody, says Tony Camilletti of JGA, a brand strategy and design firm, which has worked with Kmart. Unfortunately, although shoppers at their stores may reflect a diverse group of consumers, they are not anybody and everybody. Exactly who they are, however, seems muddied.

Says Professor Don B. Bradley III of the University of Central Arkansas, “I think [Kmart was] using the shotgun approach that 'everyone is my customer,' when Wal-Mart knew darn well and Target knew darn well that 'everybody' wasn't their customer.” But knowing your customer is one thing and being willing to structure your company to meet the customer's needs better than the competition is quite another.

“Kmart doesn't have customer focus, a deficiency arising from the company not knowing what it is or should be, reports a Retail Merchandiser article, which contrasts Kmart with Kohl's, the up-and-coming retailer. Unlike Kohl's, which goes squarely after the middle-income consumer, Kmart has essentially targeted everyone within a certain radius of its stores. The evidence is the millions of newspaper advertising circulars distributed each week to households nationwide. Instead of focusing its efforts on particular neighborhoods, income levels, educational

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