In the telecommunications industry, there is a term called “the last mile”. It represents the final leg between the telecommunications provider and the customer. It is typically seen as the most expensive part of delivering service because that last mile requires the provider to physically connect from the last central point on their network to each customer. It’s also the most important because if that signal doesn’t get from the network to the customer, then you’re not delivering service and you’re not earning revenue.
In retail, we have our own last mile, and our last mile starts when a customer walks into the store. At that moment, it does not matter how great your website is, how slick your iPhone app is, or how many friends and followers you have. What matters is the customer experience in the store, and that experience is almost entirely dependent upon your workforce. If the product is still on a truck, if the visual displays are wrong, if price changes have not been made, if your associates lack product knowledge, or if they are just not engaged with your customers, then everything else that you’ve done to this point has been wasted.