Small Business Academy

27 Oct

 

 

10/27/2011

Q: How can small brick and mortar retailers compete with Amazon?

In a word, personalized customer service. This is a question I get asked often, but never more so than around the holidays when more and more people are doing their shopping online. If your business is a stand alone, meaning not in a major shopping center or mall, you have several things going for you.

First, what any of the online giants or big box stores could never offer for the simple fact of whom and what they are, is personalized customer service. The more you emphasize this in your daily business practices the more successful you will become. Continually look for any opportunity to add a special touch or service throughout every stage of each business transaction. Let me give you some reasons why and then I will give you some examples of what I mean.

One of the key factors you need to keep in mind is the general population is mentally and emotionally fatigued. We have been at war for over a decade now, lost thousands of our daughters and sons. Our economy has caused more strain than we have seen since the Great Depression and there doesn’t seem to be any reprieve in the near future.

If however, someone can come into your place of business and feel like they can take a break from the world for a while, they will be more inclined to stay longer (consequently, spend more) and come back often, possibly with friends. So how do you turn your business into a mental and emotional oasis? Here are a few thoughts.

If your customer base is men then you will want to focus on first visual impressions. Every thing should be clean, simple, and minimal. Men hate shopping and love efficiency. They like to get in and get out. So how do you get them to hang around long enough to really enjoy your shop? I wouldn’t worry about that and here is why. Men are repeat offenders and terrible gossips. If they can get in and get out with what they need and you have managed to reduce their stress level in the process, you have just become their go-to place and they will be back. They are also going to tell all their buddies about it as well.

If on the other hand, your customer base are women then you are going to want to focus on smell. That’s right, I said smell. Women are intellectual and emotional creatures. How something smells is the most powerful emotional trigger of both. You will again need to also focus on her experience in your place of business. If you make her feel genuinely valued and special, get her order right, and continue to do soon a regular basis you have a customer for life. Women tend to remember just about everything and their experience in your store is no exception. One more thing, make sure your bathroom is clean and well stocked through out the day.

Lastly, if your customer base is children then it is all about color (bright), motion (moving products or displays), product placement (closer to the floor), and keeping it clean and safe. Once again, experience is key. Little ones remember too and tend to remind their parents often of their latest must-have. I have a free video that goes into more detail about this very subject at AlexzandraD.com so please feel free to take a look and visit all the other free resources. I hope this has given you a little guidance. If you need more in depth help please feel free to contact me on me website. I would also strongly suggest that you download a copy of The Princeton Principle. You will find that a lot more detailed information than what I can provide to you here. For more free business success tips, tools, and support go to AlexzandraD.com. Good luck!

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