Recession Proofing Your Business – Connecting with the Customer

 

The Lipstick Factor.  Price Point Matters.  Both are concepts that will hopefully help you figure out how to get through these interesting economic times with style, panache and success.  And both are concepts that we’ve blogged about recently. 

There’s more.  Of course, there’s always more.  There are a thousand ideas out there designed to make your retail space more appealing, telling you how to rearrange your displays, how to dress your windows, how to create an atmosphere that practically pulls the wallet out of the purse for the purchase.  We’ve been reading those, trying to glean the most relevant info just for you.  And we have a few ideas we’re going to pass along in our next “recession-proofing” post.

But you know what we think really matters?  You know what gets someone back over your threshold a second time?  The experts all say that the major reason customers return to a retailer is because they feel some sort of loyalty and emotional connection to you, your employees and your retail store.

The guy in the picture with all those adorable little girls is Glena and Sabrina’s grandfather, Perk Long, in front of his store in Ruidoso, New Mexico, in the 40’s.  The girls are Glena and Sabrina’s mothers and aunts.

It was easy for Perk to connect with his customers.  He ran a business in a small town where he knew all his customers by their first name and where they could gather around the store stove and drink coffee.  He knew their kids’ names, how their old daddy was doing, what color hat their wife wanted for her birthday.  Perk didn’t have a Wal-Mart or Target to compete with, but he still knew that speaking to customers and making them feel welcome was as important as finding the right size Levi’s for them.

But things are different today.  Connecting with your customers and staving off the competition is tougher than ever.  So how do you do it?

If you can somehow find a way to create an emotional connection, your customer’s loyalty to you and your store will be a foolproof way to get them to buy again and again.  Why go to Wal-Mart for gifts when they can come into your store, be noticed by you, have a salesperson point out something new in their favorite lines, and talk about something they just read on your Facebook page?

It’s no surprise that social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter are so popular, and growing by leaps and bounds. People want to feel a part of something.  They want to be recognized as unique at the same time that they want to feel like part of a group, a community.

Pick Up Sticks started a Facebook fan page and a blog almost a year ago with the primary goal being establishing a connection with you and your customers.  We want to know how you feel about our jewelry and our customer service.  We want your feedback.  We want to know who you are, and we want to link our website to yours so that customers who are loyal to Pick Up Sticks can then be loyal to you.

Encourage your customers to connect with Pick Up Sticks on Facebook.  Send them to our blog.  Let us add you to our blog website as a link, and in turn, you add us to your website as a link.  When we blog about new designs, post a photo on an information board in the store and let customers pre-order (actually having an information board is another great way to connect – it makes people feel like you’re letting them in on insider information).  Create your own Facebook page and share our fans.  Let us “like” you on our Facebook page, and do the same for us.

And of course, do what Perk did.  Talk to them.  Try to learn their names.  Ask about their kids and their old daddy.  See what they like, and then when they come back, point them in the direction of something you think would be perfect for them.

Here’s what the experts say over and over: reward your customers for their loyalty and they’ll always choose you over the megastore.  An emotional connection is what tips the balance for customers.  And it makes showing up worthwhile for you and your sales staff – as trite as it may sound, we all feel better about our day when we’re making real connections with the people around us.

Thanks for connecting with us.  You’re the reason we show up at the studio every day, and you definitely make it worthwhile.

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Published in: on October 20, 2010 at 9:30 am  Comments (1)  
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  1. Brings back fond memories. I miss Perk. Ruth did a lot to connect with people, too. Organizing fund raisers, building a church, starting the choir, starting Camp Fire Girls, starting a summer art, music, dance, and drama program in Ruidoso. She even brought home several babies and little kids that needed a place to live for a while. As Perk would say, “Those were the days”!


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