Retail stores have always given away advice along with selling products. Now some stores are turning helpful services into a profit center. Medical services are leading this move into retail stores. Medical clinics are popping up in pharmacies across the nation, and thousands of new clinics are planned to open in stores over the next couple years. No appointment is necessary to get quick, cheap fixed-price treatment for minor illnesses. This is a wonderful development in a nation with runaway health care costs and where fewer and fewer people even have a family doctor. The convenience will obviously draw lots of customers into the stores. Wal-Mart is even testing clinics in some stores.
Are there other services that might be popular in a fixed-price convenient retail setting?
How about “instant handy-man” services at the hardware store? The handy-man could have a small workshop for repairing or assembling stuff that people bring in. Or the handy-man could follow you home to install a ceiling fan or wire a new outlet “while you wait”. Garden centers could offer the same for tree-planting. Computer repair clinics would be great too, but computers are designed to be disposable these days and a small part is often too expensive to justify repair. Apple could set itself apart by designing its computers for ease of repair and then offer the services while-you-wait in the Apple brand stores.
Similar services have always been a part of other businesses. Jewelry stores offer repairs and ear-piercing. Photo development kiosks were a big deal before the coming of digital cameras (it’s interesting that they were located in drug stores and discount retailers, just like the new clinics). Home centers offer kitchen planning and installation services.
Repair and design services could be added to many retail businesses. You might offer the services already — to make it a bigger part of your business you’ll have to increase awareness. Set aside an area of your store for the service and give it prominent signage. Then include it in your advertising and watch your traffic grow.