This note by Bill Clarke celebrates the role of employees in retail companies. Note particularly the “Final 3 Feet” concept:
“Many years ago I worked with retail CEO who had an interesting way of viewing the interaction between the customer and the sales associate. He referred to it as the “final 3 feet”, or the distance between the customer and the sales associate during a sales transaction. In essence, this space is the most valuable piece of real estate in a retail company. The entire retail enterprise exists to maximize sales opportunities in the final 3 feet.
There are miles and miles of actions that precede the encounter between the sales associate and the customer. For instance, a retailer can have the right location, the right promotion, the right interior design and fixtures, the right selection, the right merchandise, the right presentation, the right price, the right systems, the right support capabilities, but it is all for naught if an untrained or uncaring sales associate fails to deliver in the final 3 feet.”