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Paul Cheng Is Displeased With Your Lack Of Service

“We are being blamed as an industry for having the wrong format, the wrong place, the wrong footprint, but has anyone asked about what is really going on in retail?”

USAI Investments President and CEO Paul Cheng pointed the finger at another culprit at Bisnow's Retail South event.

USAI Investments President and CEO Paul Cheng

"Over the last 30 years in general retail … we have been in a race to the bottom [of service]. I think companies are proud to have just a [person at the] cash register, and are even trying to get rid of that person.”

According to Cheng, the real problem with retail is that retailers are not offering anything more than the internet already can. 

“When you have no service, what have you got? This is the same experience as me clicking in front of my computer,” Cheng said.

Mere merchandise can be bought without ever talking to a person or stepping foot in a store. The survival of a modern retailer is dependent upon value added — it has become more about whether or not a store has the experience a person is looking for than whether it has the goods.

“I think we need to have a big conversation with the retail industry as to: 'When are you going to go back to service so you can have something to compete against the computer?'” Cheng said.