Can you remember the time you were in a store, and it felt all warm and fuzzy?
If you believe that emotion is important in enjoying a store experience, you might be wondering why more stores don’t make you feel emotional. Stores like Build-A –Bear American Girl makes their customers smile and laugh. Both businesses know they’re not in the bear or doll business. They’re in the “warm and fuzzy” experience.
If we shop at a store that makes us feel good, we’re more than happy to tell our friends. Furthermore, word of mouth is the least-expensive kind of advertising. Before the internet, businesses relied on “word of mouth advertising.” But with the internet, businesses can reach more customers in a very short time; it’s become more like “world of mouth.”
Even little things make a lasting impression. A store that offers a cup of coffee, a place to sit or a toy to your child can make a difference to the shopping experience. Employees that care and have great personalities can interact in a way that creates a wonderful connection. Imagine a store that has a ‘bounce house.’
Retailers must be especially creative in finding ways to attract customers and encourage them to stay. The challenge for retailers is to find ways to entice savvy shoppers to stay longer without feeling they’ve wasted their time. If you can have a good time, you’re more than likely not to feel like your time’s been wasted.
Ways that you might invite your customers to be part of the store experience:
Offer guest blogging opportunities. It makes sense; you will benefit from free content for your blog and they’ll benefit from the link/love exposure.
Give them your business. If your customer also runs a business, when you can, reciprocate by giving them business.
Everyone is a VIP. How about a welcome package for those that come into your store or for those that buy your product? The hotels have welcome bags with cookies, bottle water and other freebies.
Own your customers voice. The only opinions that matter are those from your customer. Solicit feedback and let everyone in your organization know how your customer feels.
Create a ‘grandfather clause’ for your loyal customers. Customers who shop with you regularly should be given a ‘break’ on certain fees. This way customers will see the value of being a loyal customer.
Pay attention to your customer’s business. Provide social media recommendations; this is another way to spread the love. Show appreciation for their success and ideas. Social media is a great way to recognize them.
Be grateful because customers love companies with employees who not only say “thank you” but who are enthusiastic about saying it! Make ‘thank you’ a regular policy.
Don’t just talk business—become the customer’s friend. Find out about their interests and their life.
Remember, nothing happens without the customer.
Lisbeth Calandrino is associate publisher of Fabulous Floors Magazine and Social Media Manager.