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Recent consumer survey report

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40 Inspirational Retail Quotes From Brand Leaders

by Sam Osbourne

Being a retail leader is simultaneously one of the most challenging things you can be and also the most rewarding. Sometimes, some inspirational retail quotes are precisely what you need. 

If you’re looking to get inspired, look no further. Qudini is here to help retail executives around the world to become the best with a list of our favourite 40 retail quotes. 

Enjoy some inspirational retail quotes, share your favourites with your team and feel free to bookmark this page for a day when you need some advice from the retail greats. 

 

Check out the top 10 Appointment Scheduling Apps for Retail

 

Retail quotes about running a retail business

1. On managing a business

John Hartford quote: You cannot run a successful retail business from memory.

 

Takeaway: Software tools from Order Management systems to Appointment Booking platforms can take your business to the next level. Lean into technology–it won’t only change your customer experience, it will make running your business much easier. 

 

2.  On aiming high

“The goal as a company is to have customer service that is not just the best but legendary.”

– Sam Walton, Founder, Walton

Takeaway: Never settle for a great customer experience–there’s always more you can do. Set your sights on companies like Apple who have redefined the customer experience. 

 

3. On value

“Your value will be not what you know; it will be what you share.”

― Ginni Rometty, CEO, IBM

Takeaway: Your customer offering is everything. Knowledge is important, but it’s how you use it to shape your business that’s essential.

 

4. On creating a corporate mission

“To be truly successful, companies need to have a corporate mission that is bigger than making a profit.”

― Marc Benioff, CEO, Salesforce

Takeaway: As consumers reject transaction-focused retail in favour of experiential retail, brands need to align themselves with the customer and share their values. 

 

5. On building a reputation

“A brand for a company is like a reputation for a person. You earn reputation by trying to do hard things well.”

– Jeff Bezos, Founder, Amazon

Takeaway: As Bezos knows, retail enterprises aren’t built overnight. To truly succeed in a world made all the more competitive by ecommerce, identify a key customer pain point and solve it. Then repeat again and again until you’re the leader in customer experience in your field. 

 

Quotes about physical retailing 

6. On physical retail

Cathy Sparks: Retail is not dead. Boring retail is dead.

 

Takeaway: Physical retail is alive and kicking. Customers still want to have exciting in-store experiences. However, transaction-focussed retail is on the way out–the modern consumer wants more from stores. 

 

7. On the purpose of brick-and-mortar retail

“The thing is, I don’t want to be sold to when I walk into a store. I want to be welcomed.”

— Angela Ahrendts, former SVP of Retail, Apple Inc.

Takeaway: The heavy sell is becoming less effective in retail. Perhaps this is why Clienteling software systems are becoming so popular. Consumers want to develop personal connections with your store teams and an obsession with selling can often spoil this. 

 

8. On the future of physical retail

“I was reading all these reports that were down on retail brick-and-mortar, saying it’s all about online…I think brick-and-mortar is an amazing opportunity to use our stores and our store staff as a vehicle to truly engage with the community in a way no other retailers are doing.”

— Jim Brett, President, West Elm

Takeaway: Don’t underestimate the growing demand for real experiences in brick-and-mortar stores. Online retail is undoubtedly growing in popularity but physical retail will always be a key drive for sales and brand awareness. 

 

 

Retail quotes about competition

9. On losing customers

Bob Hooey speech: If you are not taking care of your customers, your competitors will.

 

Takeaway: Products and services are no longer the great differentiators between different brands. Experiences are. If you’re not trading in quality experiences, your customers won’t remain loyal to you for long. 

 

10. On being original

“You should learn from your competitor, but never copy. Copy and you die.”

– Jack Ma, Co-founder, Alibaba

Takeaway: Get inspired by other retail brands in your space–just don’t rip them off. 

 

11.  On being the best

“Loyalty is not won by being first. It is won by being best.” 

– Stefan Persson, H&M

Takeaway: Customers won’t buy out of nostalgia alone, especially if your stores are rife with pain points. They respect retailers who go above and beyond. 

 

Quotes about digital retail

12. On digital innovation

 

Naraya Murthy quote: It is a well known fact that bringing in technologies in the retail sector is good for customers.

 

Takeaway: As Murthy acknowledges, study after study has shown that customers prefer retailers who offer in-store technologies. It shows that you care about their experience in your stores and helps to recalibrate their brand perception. 

 

13. On the power of social media

“Let your store associates be active on social. “Friendorsers” are more important than paid models in showing our clothes—social influencers, but also our store associates, who are 100% our customers too.”

— Emily Watkins, SVP, Real Estate & Construction, Charlotte Russe

Takeaway: Your store teams are one of your greatest assets. Let them document their workday on your social media channels (and their own) and you’ll create a better brand image and get free brand promotions. 

 

14. On word of mouth

“Word of mouth works now, much more than ever. @-reply every single person.”

― Gary Vaynerchuk, CEO, VaynerMedia

Takeaway: Don’t take your customers for granted. Get your marketing team to interact with them online–consumers like brands that try to relate to them. If you can turn your consumers into brand advocates, you’ll be able to drive customer acquisition.  

 

Retail quotes about motivation

15. On being bold

Michael John Bobak quote: All progress takes place outside the comfort zone.

 

Takeaway: Bobak may not be a retail leader, but he still captures an essential truth. To lead the way, you have to tread into unknown territory. By being bold and pioneering new services, you may just find an entirely new customer base. 

 

16. On doing more

“Whatever you’re thinking, think bigger.” 

― Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos

Takeaway: Tweaks don’t increase foot traffic. Major innovations do.

 

17. On problem-solving

“Everything is figureoutable.” 

― Marie Forleo, Motivational speaker, life coach and author

Takeaway: Worry gets you nowhere–find the silver lining. 

 

18. On getting things done

“You can’t build a reputation on what you are going to do.”

— Henry Ford, Founder, Ford Motors

Takeaway: Manifest change. Roll out new services quickly to be the first to the post and reap the rewards of being a true market leader. 

 

19. On being aspirational

“High expectations are the key to everything.” 

– Alice Walton, Businessperson

Takeaway: Set the bar high and even on your worst day, you’ll be offering a stronger brand experience than your competitors. 

 

20. On being open to change

“Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.”

– Thomas Edison, Inventor and Businessman

Takeaway: Be open-minded to all ideas. Sometimes, the greatest ideas don’t look all that enticing in the beginning. 

 

Quotes about the retail landscape

21. On transaction-focussed retail

Alex Ricard quote: I need to recognize where consumers want us in ten years…I believe businesses that are only targeting profits will die.

 

Takeaway: Experiential retail is leaving transactional retail in the dust. Customers have realized that there’s a new, better way to shop and they will not go back. However, it’s not enough to simply look at what current trends are to see how to cater to your customers. Retail is evolving so quickly that it’s best to look far into the future. 

 

22. On the one retail absolute

“People are always going to go shopping.”

 – Phillip Green, Chairman

Takeaway: Let Green’s words calm you. You’ll always have people to sell to, you just need to find a way to engage them. 

 

23. On the new retail landscape

“We have entered the era of the customer. Today, providing customers with outstanding customer service is essential to building loyal customers and a long lasting brand.” 

– Jerry Gregoire, CIO, Dell Computers

Takeaway: The consumer’s power is growing. With the click of a few buttons, they can share their opinions about your brand across social media platforms to hundreds of people. Consequently, retailers need to acknowledge this shift and create a customer-focussed retail strategy. 

 

24. On planning for the future

“Change before you have to.”

― Jack Welch, former chairman and CEO,  General Electric

Takeaway: There are two types of brands. Type A drives change. Type B follows industry trends. While Type A brands will always stick out to customers, Type B risk losing brand relevance and will constantly need to catch up to the competition. 

 

Quotes about store teams

25. On hiring the right people

Marc Benioff quote: The secret to successful hiring is this: look for the people who want to change the world.

Takeaway: Hire employees who represent your brand, show passion for what you do, and what to make a difference. 

 

26. On retaining staff

“When you look at the reasons people leave companies, it’s usually because their boss is a jerk or because they aren’t learning and growing. So we spend a lot of time developing leaders internally and creating learning opportunities.”

— Neil Blumenthal, CEO, Warby Parker

Takeaway: Treat your employees just as you would customers–if you’re not actively trying to retain them, they’re likely to churn. Employees want to feel valued, not taken for granted. 

 

27. On valuing your team 

“Companies are comprised of human beings without the effort, professionalisms and motivation of whom no achievement could be made.”

– Amancio Ortega, Founder and former chairman, Inditex

Takeaway: It takes more than one person to build a retail empire. Your store teams are crucial to the success of your brand. 

 

28. On making the most of your staff

“The only thing worse than training employees and losing them is not training them and keeping them.” 

– Zig Ziglar, Author and Motivational Speaker

Takeaway: To deliver great customer service, your employees need great training and resources.

 

Quotes about the customer relationship

29. On tuning in to your customers’ needs

Bryan Clayton quote: "Listen to your customers deeply or you will have none"

 

Takeaway: Leading retailers know what the customer wants. They’re in tune with their needs and have the in-store technology to analyze how they shop. Know your customers better and you’ll reap the rewards. 

 

30. On cherishing your customers

“A satisfied customer — we should have him stuffed!” 

– Basil Fawlty, Fictional TV character, UK sitcom Fawlty Towers

Takeaway: As far as funny retail quotes go, Basil Fawlty has a monopoly. While we don’t recommend stuffing your customers, it’s still great to celebrate when a customer has a good experience. Once you know what your customers like about your stores, you can find ways to expand these aspects and drive brand advocacy. 

 

31. On consumer psychology

“People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.” 

― Simon Sinek, Author, The Infinite Game

Takeaway: Increasingly, customers are choosing retailers who align with their values. For example, consumers might choose an environmentally friendly retailer over another. Or perhaps they’ll choose a brand that prioritizes retail accessibility over one that doesn’t value inclusivity. 

 

32. On the customer relationship

“If anybody ever called our number, it would be picked up in less than two rings with a friendly voice answering, ‘CD Baby.’ From 7 am to 10 pm, there was always somebody to pick up a call in two rings. No voice mail system; no routing to different departments. We treated our customers like our best friends. You don’t route your best friend’s call to an automated system!”

– Derek Sivers, Founder CD Baby

Takeaway: Don’t think of your customers as walking sales opportunities. Real people like to be treated as such. 

 

33. On customer loyalty

“Customers who are merely satisfied remain your customers only as long as everything goes their way.” 

– Chip Bell, Founder, Chip Bell Group

Takeaway: Customers are less loyal to brands today. Retail’s digitization has created a world of choice for customers–anyone can now sell goods on online marketplaces. As such, the standards are much, much higher. 

 

34. On engaging with customers 

“The more you engage with customers, the clearer things become and the easier it is to determine what you should be doing.” 

– John Russell, VP, Harley Davidson

Takeaway: Close the data gap to find out what your customers want from you and work this into your future plans. For example, with a Scheduling App, you can send post-service surveys to customers to learn what they’d like to see from you. This kind of information is vital if you want to launch services that will make an impact. 

 

35. On better knowing the customer

“What is necessary is to listen to your customers: understand their needs, expectations and jobs to be done, and design an experience that meets those needs. The same goes for your employees.” 

– Annette Franz, Founder, CX Journey

Takeaway: Knowledge is power. Once you have the data, you can find out what your customers’ likes and dislikes are and cater to them. Likewise, don’t overlook your staff–find fresh ways to rejuvenate them and ensure they enjoy working for you. 

 

36. On creating store intimacy

“My company is an extension of me, so when I designed my stores I wanted people to feel that they were in my home.” 

— Tory Burch, Founder & Creative Director, Tory Burch

Takeaway: No matter what your brand aesthetic is or what you want customers to feel like when they’re in your stores, it’s crucial to do something unique. Find a way to bring your brand values into your store design. 

 

Quotes about making mistakes

37. On solving problems

Don Porter: Customers don’t expect you to be perfect. They do expect you to fix things when they go wrong.

 

Takeaway: It’s true that consumers are becoming more demanding and less loyal to specific brands. However, that’s not to say they have unreasonable expectations. You may even be able to drive engagement with your brand by showing customers you’re making a concerted effort to solve any operational problems. 

 

38. On making mistakes

“Sometimes when you innovate, you make mistakes. It’s best to admit them quickly and get on with improving your other innovations.” 

— Steve Jobs, Co-founder, Apple Inc. 

Takeaway: Inevitably, you’ll make mistakes along the way. Only by dusting your brand off and finding new ways to innovate will you be able to ensure you’re pushing your customer offering in the right direction. 

 

39. On disappointed customers, 

“Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.”

– Bill Gates, Microsoft, Founder and CEO

Takeaway: It’s tempting to only focus on the positive. However, by ignoring the negative, you can’t improve your store experience and find permanent solutions. Find out what your pain points are and fix them. 

 

40. On inaction

“The price of inaction is far greater than the cost of a mistake.” 

– Meg Whitman, Former CEO, eBay and HP

Takeaway: Customers have a sense of which retailers are pushing boundaries and which are failing to adapt. As experiential retail continues to evolve, slow to change retailers will only stand out more for all the wrong reasons. 

 

Bonus quotes about Qudini

1. On driving ROI

Franchise owner retail quote: Qudini has enabled us to have a much more pleasant customer experience in the store and we can definitely see that we’ve had a percentage growth in terms of revenue.

 

2. On perfecting the customer experience

“Qudini is one of the best systems we have seen to achieve a truly exceptional experience for our consumers.”

– Head office team, Philip Morris International & IQOS

 

3. On business intelligence

“Qudini has really helped us to understand how our stores are planning time and utilising people in-store. It also gives us some really clear insights into when customers are coming in and what they are coming in to ask us.”

– Head Office, O2 (Telecoms)

 

Next steps

Hopefully, you’re feeling motivated and recharged after hearing from some of the world’s greatest business leaders, motivational speakers, artists and more. 

If any of the inspirational retail quotes have inspired you to make some changes to your retail operations, get in touch with our team using the form below. We’re helping global brands to create legendary customer experiences with our award-winning software solutions for Appointment Scheduling and Virtual Queuing

 

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Do you know how you’re going to stay relevant and profitable during the recession?

Peak season is just around the corner!

Have you thought about how you’re going to manage peak season traffic this winter?

New best practice guide

Our new best practice guide explains how Appointment Booking Landing pages will drive traffic to your in-store and virtual appointment services.

Latest consumer survey report

Our latest consumer survey report shows which types of retail stores and banks customers want to be able to schedule appointments within…

Recent consumer survey report

Our recent consumer survey report shows how the pandemic has changed consumer shopping habits and which habits will be here to stay…

Upcoming Webinar

Our Upcoming Webinar will present consumer insights on how the pandemic has changed consumer shopping habits. Sign-up below for Tuesday October 12th (2pm ET | 11am PT).