Fan Or Fantasy?
Economic conditions have proven difficulty for retailers this past year and today there are announcements of profit warnings from some of the "pile it high" stores.
By contrast, the managing director of Waitrose supermarkets apparently receives 50 letters a week from people asking him to open branches in their neighbourhood.
They're definitely supermarkets, though physically smaller with a focussed product range aimed at a slightly upmarket clientele. Their market share may only be 4% but their differences clearly appeal and this creates the loyalty that other retailers lack.
The managing director can genuinely declare that "We don't have customers so much as fans." That's something that any contemporary would dearly love to repeat and which critics of the economic underpinnings of certain social network businesses should note.
Think of making people your fans rather than passive customers with "loyalty" cards and business gets a lot more interesting.