A proven, exciting Retirement planning process for individuals and couples, The Best-Half is a combination of workshops, coaching and personal reflection. It was developed by experienced coaches and educators. For organizations, The Best-Half is a process to be used in succession management especially for transitions and to establish common goals and objectives in the senior phases of a career.

Monday, November 07, 2011

Un-earth the possibilities

We just got back from Edmonton. On Saturday we didn’t have any plans and so I asked to be dropped off at West Edmonton Mall. We have history together; the ‘mall’ and I. When we lived in Edmonton in the early 1980’s West Edmonton Mall (WEM) was shiny and new. There was only one Phase – now there are five. We lived close enough that it became a place to hang out on the weekend with our daughter Kate who was just walking and starting to explore the world. The Amusement Park was always a ‘must’ and a trip to see the aquariums. It was a total experience of shopping/amusement/food court.
I had an objective for my visit last week. I wanted to see if the experience factor was still present. I wanted to see something that would startle, amaze, make me laugh, make me think and make my heart beat faster.
In short and infrequent visits over the past 20 years I had experienced the size increase, the submarines (once touted as more than the Canadian Navy) and the fake beach with the wave pool.
And so I set off. While I was looking for the experience factor I discovered that walking through both levels of the mall would take almost three hours with only a short break for the food court experience.
To my surprise the biggest emotion I felt was not joy or excitement of amazement. It was sadness and frustration. I was sad because I cannot say I saw anything that took the experience of the past to new heights. No new areas, displays, outrageous store ideas or innovative restaurant experiences. It was a large mall that behaved like almost every mall we have ever been in. The subs were docked and looked like they had been there for many years. The water park looked about a quarter full on the middle of a Saturday and the food court with the same outlets was just – the same.
But, the parking lots were full. There were a lot of people at the WEM.
To build a successful experience we have to tap in to the emotional needs of our customers. I expect that WEM has done this by tapping in to the middle of the road. Their customers are looking for a unremarkable shopping experience that satisfies their need for the expected. Another group is looking for an outlet for birthday parties or weekend get-a ways where there is no surprises and everything is as expected.
I predict a long and busy future for WEM. I think they have found their niche and it is NO SURPRISES.
The good news is that this really opens up the market for the consumers who are looking for the unique, the different and the WOW. Edmonton is also able to supply this experience in both small independent retailers and in a new and very exciting facility called the Enjoy Centre.
The Enjoy Centre is a garden centre on steroids! Part restaurant, lounge, florist shop, complete spa, bakery, accessories, furniture and garden centre it is an extravaganza of unique and different as well as comfortable and familiar. Their mission is to “Create a unique, efficient, innovative and sustainable environment that encourages helpful and meaningful experiences for everyone.” Their website address is www.unearththepossibilities.com. Un earth the possibilities. Now that is exciting.
 “From basic hand tools to the finest you can buy, this is a store that has unabashedly put a stake in the ground and declared “we are going to do it differently.” How about a glass of wine after rooting around for perennials? You might want a second after pricing some of the garden furniture. A great experience.
Identifying the emotional needs of our customers gives us an opportunity to stand out whether you are the world’s biggest or the smallest operator selling on-online. Tapping into those emotions and creating the perfect experience for your customers is as different as food court and fine dining. An emotional connection is what separates the exceptional from the good. And, remember, the enemy is ‘the bland’.


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