Three principles, drawn from several hundred experiments on positioning service businesses, help to summarise why a customer databank system assists the retailer in the continuity of organisation-wide strategic planning. Principle 1 : In marketing a service which caters for customer lifestyles, it is important to ask continually : which business are we in today, and what business should we be in tomorrow? Principle 2 : Four planning horizons contribute to the challenge of positioning a service business. Like a club, a total service policy should aim to unite : functional purpose, staff, members (i.e. customers), operational facilities. Principle 3 : A national chain of outlets comprises a global heart with local faces. For the customer, offer to stay competitive, the heart of the business needs a marketing edge : price (e.g. economy of scale), quality (e.g. expert central buying), added value character (e.g. a more enjoyable shopping experience). Together these principles help to focus on particular issues of measurement and analysis which research for retail strategies should address.