During the 1980s, Sears Roebuck was the largest retailer in the United States.
It was a powerhouse, started in 1892 as a mail order catalogue business. Sears billed itself as “Where America Shops.” Sears was well known for it’s unconditionally-guaranteed Craftsman tools and for its highly-rated Kenmore private label appliances, backed up by Sears own outstanding appliance service company. It also sold a lot of clothing. Advertising giant David Ogilvy proudly wore business suits purchased at Sears, a major Ogilvy & Mather client. Sears stores were the anchors of shopping centers in many American communities.
Walmart surpassed Sears as the largest retailer in the United States in 1990. In 2005, Sears was acquired by the management of KMart. Sears filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on October 15, 2018. As of June 21, 2023, only 11 Sears stores remained — 10 on the mainland U.S. and 1 in Puerto Rico.
A question is: “Who has access to the contact information for the customers who bought all of those products at Sears?” The manufacturers for the appliances under the Kenmore label would surely want to be able to market to them under their own label (such as Whirlpool.)
You never know what will happen to other businesses that are selling your product or service. Will they continue to exist? Remember Circuit City, The Good Guys, Montgomery Ward and KMart? They were all major retailers that faded away. Of the companies in the S & P 500 in 1955, only 52 still remained in 2019. None of them were retailers.
Will your salespeople and resellers just treat the sale of your product or service as a “one time sale” and not follow up to build customer relationships?
An ultimate provider business MUST have the customer’s contact information for consistent contact.
One way this has traditionally been done is with a warranty registration.
I suggest that an “ethical bribe” should also be used to get the information from the customer, in the form of a “free thank you gift”.
There should always be a direct relationship maintained between the customer and the company.