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Profitable Retail: Hearing Customers’ Needs & Wants

pricing compression May 26, 2022

We are diving into our ability, as retailers and brands, to hear our customers’ needs and wants to help us build strong, loyal relationships.

I was in the drive-thru at Mcdonald's recently and ordered a McFlurry. The cashier said, “no we’re out”. I'm left idling. I wanted ice cream but ended up leaving the drive-thru.

We had a disconnect.

It turned out, the ice cream machine was broken. Instead of ending the transaction, the cashier could have asked me “are you after something cold, it's really hot out”. I probably would have said yes and considered a smoothie instead. The ability to identify consumers’ wants and needs is imperative for a retailer.

When your wants and needs are met in a retail environment, the brand and staff feel like mind readers. That’s because they’ve taken the time to learn about their customers, so they can anticipate their needs.

But you can’t be everything to everyone.

Customer personas with specific ‘reasons to believe’ or ‘reasons of differentiation’ require a uniquely personalized value proposition. Therefore, it’s vital to Identify and prioritize customer needs that you can deliver authentically.

How can you learn more about your customers?


  • Ask budtenders, “what are our customers' needs?” They are on the floor talking with your customers every day and will be able to give the best feedback. 
  • Identify and prioritize those customer needs so that you can deliver authentically (i.e., Price, Quality, Choice, Convenience, etc.)
  • Keep a close eye on competitors, as they can influence your customers’ expectations and needs


  • Get 360 feedback from budtenders
  • Meet with sales teams and ask, “what are our retailers' needs and wants?”
  • Provide budtenders with the resources to help navigate the pricing ‘need’ mindset, so they can guide the customer journey

Creating a profitable retail environment is about the small adjustments we make over time that have a big impact.

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