Creating Experience When You are a Small(er) Company


I want you to know – I’ve heard you.

Several people emailed me that my recent article on creating unforgettable experience only focused on the big players. The common email thread? “Sure Apple can do it, they have all kinds of money. How can I do it?”

The answer is, “YOU CAN”.

It starts with your vision and passion for your customer. As an owner or manager it’s vitally important for your people to hear you and see you love customers. If you are stuck in the back — get out front. Your people need to see your heart for customers in action. It’s contagious.

Second, great experience comes with a focus. I don’t care what your focus is, but get focused on something so customers see you (and your people) as experts in your field. If you sell Christian books, become an expert on Bibles. If you sell camping gear, become an expert on a single phase of camping. Whatever it is, get focused so people come to your store because you know more than anybody.

Third, train your people to love customers and passionately serve them. For a starter, see my first paragraph in this list. After that, you cannot over train. Take away foolish polices that punish the 2% and put in place simple policies and let your employees serve people. A small investment in this (and it must be ongoing) will pay tremendous dividends and give customers a reason to return.

Fourth, be in stock. Nothing hurts retail experience more than out of stocks. Put solid inventory practices in place so you don’t burden cash flow and commit to be in stock at all times of the things that are core to your business. You can make money and serve customers at the same time.

Lastly (at least for this post), is to learn how to say “thank you” to your customers. I know several retailers who call customers every day and thank them for a recent purchase. Want to stand out from the crowd? Take the time to thank customers in a personal way for their business.

Sure, coffee bars are nice, but in reality you don’t need a coffee bar to create experience. You simply need to commit yourself and your people to loving customers and meeting their needs. Would you want people whom you love to come to a dark, messy, unorganized, unfriendly place? No, you wouldn’t. Not if you are trying to create a great shopping experience.

You don’t need to be one of the Fortune 500 players to create experience. It’s simple — love your customers and meet their needs and they will not only shop today, they’ll continue shopping tomorrow.

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One Response to “Creating Experience When You are a Small(er) Company”

  1. Wayne~
    You hit the nail on the head. Retailers are often looking for that magical panacea, the genie in the bottle that will solve all of their problems. The truth is in what you said, manage your assets well (inventory and people) and do that consistently over time and your customers will reward you. Good job! Thanks.

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