The architect of the modern day shopping experience, Harry Gordon Selfridge founded Selfridge’s Department Store on the west end of London’s Oxford Street.
It was routine at the time that customers make a purchase each time they enter a store. Merely “browsing” was unheard of. But Selfridge envisioned a sort of “retail therapy” where a customer would never be pressured about making a purchase and would be encouraged to browse and try things before committing to buy. He thought of a store where each customers needs are catered to– where they are truly a guest. Of course, the startup was a huge risk as England had never seen a store of its kind and the market was untested.
Ultimately, his vision was realized through sheer force of will and the faith he held in his dream. Selfridges sparked a revolution in the industry and competitors were quick to adopt his practices in their own businesses. A testament to his legacy, the marketing and merchandising practices he pioneered are still around to this day.
Here are seven quotes from the legend himself, Harry Gordon Selfridge, that will inspire founders and entrepreneurs:
1. “There are no hard times for good ideas.”
2. “The boss says ‘Go’; the leader says ‘Let’s go!’”
3. “People will sit up and take notice of you if you will sit up and take notice of what makes them sit up and take notice.”
4. “Honesty always pays. Honesty alone will never build a business… but the policy of honesty, of scrupulous integrity, will—other things being reasonably equal—always win in the race for success.”
5. “Get the confidence of the public and you will have no difficulty in getting their patronage.”
6. “Treat [the customer] as guests when they come and when they go, whether or not they buy. Give them all that can be given fairly, on the principle that ‘to him that giveth shall be given’. Remember always that the recollection of quality remains long after the price is forgotten. Then your business will prosper by a natural process.”
7. “Whenever I may be tempted to slack up and let the business run for a while on its own impetus, I picture my competitor sitting at a desk in his opposition house, thinking and thinking with the most devilish intensity and clearness, and I ask myself what I can do to be prepared for his next brilliant move.”
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