LAS VEGAS-Service with a smile won’t cut it anymore when trying to get customers’ attention. With heavy competition and changing shopping desires, retailers now need to go the extra mile to attract consumers.

That was the message of retail consultant Barbara Wold who spoke at the International Council of Shopping Centers’ Spring Convention here in a presentation called “The WOW Feeling.” The convention, which started on Sunday, ended on Wednesday.

“You can’t just show up every day,” says Wold, whose clients have included some of the largest retail developers in the country. “That doesn’t work anymore at all.”

One vital movement that retailers need to pay attention to is the changing mentalities of different age groups. Store and service owners need to realize that today’s children have grown up with the Internet and are used to getting up-to-the-minute information. And the aging Baby Boomer generation is more active than past generations of over-50 consumers.

“You have to look at every single age group, and every single age group is a little different when it comes to customer service,” Wold says. For example, retailers probably don’t want to miss out on the projected $650 billion of consumer spending that is influenced by children every year, she says.

Store owners can help retain customers by properly training their employees. One way of doing that is to give employees enough ownership of their positions so they can solve problems in stores. An example is to give workers the ability to immediately refund a customer without needing a manager’s authorization.

One retailer that is successful when it comes to catering to children is the manufacturer of American Girls dolls, according to Wold. After being in the store with her grand daughter for nine hours, “I was wowed by the customer service there,” Wold says.

Other retailers she points to are Dallas-based gourmet-food chain Eatzi’s; Stew Leonard’s, the Norwalk, CT-based grocer, and East Taunton, MA-based Jordan’s Furniture. Wold also touts the Asian expansions of Famous Amos cookies and H20 Plus skincare products.

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