By Steve Moran
Ok, I am going to confess . . . this story is not going to take you quite where you might think; however, there is an amazing idea for senior living here.
Just a few days before Christmas 2016, Bloomberg published a story online titled “How One Huge American Retailer Ignored the Internet and Won." The crux of the story is that a few retailers -- T.J. Maxx, Marshalls, Burlington Coat Factory -- have this quirky business model, where they source from multiple thousands of vendors (for some of them, close to 20,000). They purchase odd lots, small lots and sample lots for sale in their network of retail stores.
This is very different than large retailers like Macy’s or Penney's where they make big bets on a much smaller number of items hoping those items will be “the thing” for the season.
Defying the Internet
This Christmas season marked a huge turning point for retail. For the first time ever, more Christmas shopping was done online than in brick and mortar stores. Online has turned into a big deal even for what are traditional storefront operations like WalMart.
Yet, not T.J. Maxx. They do have a website, but it primarily exists to drive consumers to their retail stores and it works.
The reason consumers love stores like T.J. Maxx is that every time they stelp into a store it is an adventure. The prices make things into a bargain. It is a treasure hunt, meaning you could visit two stores in the same metro area and find completely different things. And when you come back a week, or two, or a month later, there will be brand new treasures. Things you couldn’t decide on will almost certainly be gone.
The Senior Living Play
I talk about, and lots of other pundits talk about, “the sameness” of senior living. Imagine for a moment that a senior living community set out to create a new surprise experience every single day or every single week.
It could be all over the community: dining, life enrichment, lobby decorations, transportation, housekeeping, administration. It should be quirky and lighthearted. Imagine residents getting up each morning with this anticipation of finding the next weird, cool, neat crazy thing in their community.
Imagine how family members would look forward to coming to your community each time to see the next little adventure you created for residents and staff.
Imagine the fun your entire team will have in creating these experiences.
Imagine the word of mouth storytelling every visitor would carry with them.
There is a community where every day, the marketing director creates a new quirky voice message that I have been calling into after-hours just to listen to. (This will be its own story with some recordings in a few weeks).
Big and Small
In order to make this work, bite off a manageable goal, maybe start with once a month. Challenge your residents to be a part of it. Trust me, they will blow you away with their creativity.
If you do this, we want to hear about it and write about it!