Romancing the brand
Although romance may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think retail, there are some striking connections. 'Fit' retailers create real, strong and loving relationships with their customers. They have fun with them and make each and every customer feel like they are their number one priority.
Apple is the first and most well known brand for the emotional human connection it has with its customers. They have created products that are bought for the love of technology; they are made with people in mind. Customers become a part of an Apple community and crave the next big product release. They would buy peanuts from them if Apple said they were cool!
First impressions count
The customer interaction starts at the very first moment the customer comes to hear about your brand and it might be from a friend, on the internet, advertisements or by walking past a physical store. This first impression is the moment that your customer will remember you for so make it count.
The key fitness tips to think about at this stage include your store design and fitout, window displays, brand name and style and how your sales staff are welcoming and approaching customers into your store. All these aspects should be irresistibly charismatic and memorable. They should tie together and attract people to all aspects of your brand and offer.
Make a great first impression and they might just go out with you again.
Wine and dine them
This first date stage in the relationship is where selling yourself is essential. Customers will by now be in your store talking with your sales people, browsing your website and getting to know what your brand is about. If your customers are excited about what you have to offer, they will tell their friends, family and anyone who wants to listen about the new interest in your life. These interactions need to be fun, innovative and exciting.
Coca-Cola has always done a brilliant job of selling their personality to their target customer. Coca-Cola don't just sell a soft drink, they sell fun! Their advertising messages all include the tag line 'open happiness' along with bright fun colours, chirpy music and happy attractive people. This brand personality is what sets it apart from Pepsi, LA Ice or any other cola brand for that matter.
Listen and learn
While selling yourself is important, getting to know your date is essential. After all, how can you form a real relationship with someone you hardly know? Find out all you can about your customers, from their name, birthday, favourite colour, wedding anniversary etc, etc, etc.
Once you really know your customer you can tailor your messages to that individual. By targeting relevant campaigns to the right customer at the right time, they will be more inclined to buy from you.
Huggies has a fantastic example of targeting customers by the stages in their life. Huggies' email marketing campaign begins early in a woman's pregnancy with information about managing pregnancy, as they move closer to their due date, preparing for birth will be the theme. As the baby grows up from newborn through the toddler stage, potty training, etc. Marketing will continue to grow with them.
Communicating with your customers as individuals through tailored messaging can strengthen your customer relationships and increase return on investment. As the relevance of your messaging to your customers' lifecycle stages and preferences increases, so too will your sales and customer loyalty. Build a strong foundation with the customer, listen to what they want, give them what they need and they will love you for it.
Trust and security
If you can prove that you are trustworthy and establish security with your customers, they will love, trust and be loyal to you for the long haul. Quality and consistency are essential to gaining the trust of your customers.
Establish consistency in your offer so that customers know what they are getting will be the same, time after time and through all your channels. This ranges right through from your product, price, service and the overall look and experience of the retail environment.
When a customer walks into any of your stores, they will expect the same products to be available at the same price and likely in the same area of the store. They should be met with the same high level of customer service and product knowledge from your staff at each and every touch point.
Many of our 'fittest' retailers offer satisfaction guarantees to encourage security in the purchase decision.
Shout your love from the rooftops!
As all long-term relationships require work, so too does your customer relationship. Keep in touch with direct and targeted marketing campaigns. Continually innovate and offer great quality and consistency in your offer. Reward your loyal customers with vouchers, gifts and VIP offers and they will continue to shop with you and only you.
Our research tells us that it costs five times more to gain a new customer than it does to keep an old one, whether this is true in the world of romance is still up for debate!
Happy 'Fit' Retailing.
Brian Walker is the managing director of Australasia's leading retail consultancy, Retail Doctor Group.