From an outsider’s standpoint, Store A and Store B are almost identical. They’re in the same market. They carry pretty much the same products. Their prices are just about dead even.
Store A is operated and managed in a slightly more efficient manner. You can get in and out in faster.
Nevertheless, Store B is your favorite store in the market.
How can this be?
Well, it’s because the owners and managers of Store B understand what I like to call “Touch Point” marketing.
Touch Point Marketing
Touch Points are the situations, times and locations there is contact between the store (the seller) and the customer (the buyer). It could be a soft Touch Point, like the store’s website or how they handle phone calls. But the most powerful Touch Points are right IN the store — the contacts between the store’s personnel and its customers.
You see, the owners of Store B understand what a customer really wants. They understand how he or she really wants to be treated.
Survey after survey shows that customers want the same things from their retail experience. They say, “I want you to greet me. I want you to listen to me. I want you to value me. I want you to confirm my satisfaction, and invite me back.”
Now, think of someplace you do business with — a department store, restaurant, dry cleaner or car dealer. If you have more than one choice, which one is your favorite? And what makes your favorite place your favorite?
What was your best buying experience anywhere? What made it so memorable? Most people will describe an atmosphere where the staff recognizes them, at least by looks, if not by name. I’ll bet you have a little conversation with the people in your favorite store, don’t you? Sure you do.
Having A Conversation
Did you know that organizations that offer a simple greeting and have a simple conversation with customers of just a few sentences usually have higher sales than the competition?
When a staffer has a conversation with you — even if it’s just a few words — it means they’re listening to you, and valuing you. At least to a certain extent, they know you. And the more they know you, the more you believe they value you, and can help you and satisfy you.
Even if you don’t know the store employees’ names and they don’t know yours — you still have a relationship with them. And relationships build loyalty.
Now while most do, not everyone likes to chat, make small talk or have a conversation with people they’re doing business with. Some people like to get in and out of the store, bank, bakery, cleaners or whatever as quickly as possible. So it’s important to learn to “read” customers to a certain extent. Keeping that option open for customers — recognizing when someone doesn’t want to chit chat — is critical in a consumer business.
There are many factors that come together to make a consumer business successful. Certainly good external marketing is a big factor. Advertising, PR and social media — those are the things that get customers in. But even today, it’s conversation that keeps a store’s customers coming back, and gets them to spend a few extra dollars during each visit.
The next time you’re there, stop and think about what makes your favorite store your favorite store. Then apply some of those keys to make your business somebody’s favorite.