07 March 2013
Rather than browsing clothing racks in their favorite boutique, customers are sweeping through dozens of pages on their bookmarked e-tail sites. They now click, tweet, message and search for what they should buy rather than walking through the doors of the classic four-walled retailer. Soon enough, we will buy everything online – clothing, electronics, furniture and appliances, even our food will be ordered online and shipped to our door in an expedited brown box.
Will there come a day when the retail storefront is extinct? No independent and trendy boutiques, no big box stores, malls or strip plazas? Retail is dead! Just kidding, it’s not even close. Consumers have become smarter but business owners are right there with them. The rise of online shopping is forcing retailers to evolve or suffer the “Out-Of-Business” consequences. SO, what is it that these evolving and resilient businesses are doing to keep their showrooms crowded with shoppers?
Answer: It’s their Secret Sauce. The ‘specialness’ that hooks a customer, captures their loyalty and completely erases any possibility of a Retail U-Turn. You do this by making the customer feel passionate about your business and the products you offer. Maybe you offer complimentary water bottles or have a loyalty program exclusive to your shoppers – whatever the case, when a customer is passionate, it is because you have made them feel valuable and special.
SO, what is your secret sauce? Still trying to hone in on the specialness? Here is how some of our favorite shops are making us passionate:
Let Them Know You Care: You have hundreds of fans on Facebook, but how many of their names can you remember? Talking to your customers, forming relationships, establishing a sense of trust with those who have chosen your storefront over online, communicates to them that you care about more than their wallets. It means a lot when you remember a birthday or ask about a child’s soccer game. Even holding a customer appreciation event one evening gives you the chance to enjoy your customers and thank them for their business in a social setting.
Excite Them: Some of our favorite shops excite each of our senses as soon as we walk in. Shopping online is convenient, but consumers will forever want to touch and see what they are buying firsthand. Merchandizing and featuring displays that capture the attention of your customers not only will motivate customers to browse longer within you shop, but it will also get them excited about what you have to offer. Shopping isn’t just about fulfilling a need; it’s about taking in an experience.
To Infinity and Beyond: Not every customer request may be possible, but if you make it known you will exhaust every outlet available so that you can bring in that pined for pair of sunglasses, you’ll have a customer oozing feelings of special.
Make Them Want To Share: Just like you would prompt your customers to tell their friends about your business, motivate them to share your message through their online networks. People love to talk, but sharing online is conversation amplification. Case and point Instagram saw its share of social media traffic grow by 17,319 percent this year, while Pinterest grew by 5,124 percent.