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Bring Back That Special Feeling – Part 2

In the previous article David Cuschieri discussed how Special in retail has lost it’s ‘specialness’ and in our challenging times retailers need to shift their focus away from their competitors and discounting and back to their customers and their needs and wants. In Part 2 of Bring Back That Special Feeling (or Bringing Specialness Back Into Specialty Retail), David Cuschieri shows how you can bring back that ‘specialness’ to your business and help boost your bottom line.

Be A Specialty Retailer

As a Specialty Retailer it is highly important to remember the ‘Specialty’ part of the equation. This means that you need not compete against other businesses as by offering special, different, unique products to your valued customers who you have made to feel special every time they enter your business you effectively don’t compete. Instead, you are serving your special customer and their special needs.

Run Your Own Race
When you shift your focus on what discounts your competitors are giving and instead focus your energy on the wants and needs of your customer often magic happens. Magic is a sense of excitement. Instead of pitching your energy ‘out there’ against your competitors, and instead on the products and the special experience you provide your customers who you have begun to know intimately you may well get excited again at the possibilities. You may begin to again gain a sense of control in your lives. Knowledge is powerful and knowing your customers can have that magical and powerful effect.

Be Crystal Clear
By having got to know your species of customer through asking them questions, surveys, and testing and measuring products through asking Customers about new products you want to introduce through analysing sales figures you may begin to get a clear picture on how you can best specialise to your customer’s requirements. This may mean culling certain products and introducing new tested products to better serve their needs.

Special-eyes
Just as people eat with their eyes they buy that way too. Not only do they buy with their eyes but also using their other 4 senses. It is how as retailers we create an engaging sensory emotional experience that will determine if we are able if they buy from you. ‘Specialising’ is about creating a branded experience that in the eyes of customers says that know and understand them and that you are there to provide them not only with the product they want but the experience to boot.

Put On Your Special Eyes
Having really got to know and understand your species of customer means that you can now put on your customer focused spectacles to see clearly how you can best create that special customer experience. It also means that you can be empathetic to your customer and see through their eyes and know how to create a memorable experience.

Making A Spectacle Of Yourself
Armed with great knowledge you can begin to make a spectacle of yourself. When potential customers walk past your store the way your store is designed, the unique products you stock and the exceptional service you provide culminate in a customer experience that makes a connection with who they are. If you really get making the experience for your customer’s truly special, you reach much deeper and can touch their heart.

Bring Back That Loving Feeling
How do you make everyone that enters your store feel special? The world and the market is changing rapidly but good old fashioned service with a smile and real interest in your customers never goes out of style. Do you smile and kindly greet your customers and do you read their body language when you see they need space or reassurance? Do you offer after sales service – gift wrapping, maybe a regular newsletter or a follow up call to see if the receiver of the present liked it. Do you take pride in your window displays and make your customers stop in their tracks to have a laugh, smile or giggle or affect them enough to want to enter your store?

Business Is About Relationships
The moment a customer walks in through the front door of your store is an opportunity to begin a long term mutually beneficial relationship. Don’t see each customer as a one off blow in but more about how you can best serve this customer’s needs moving forward. As Humphrey Bogart said in Casablanca, ‘Louis, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.’

That’s Very Niche
What you may have realised through this article is that being a specialty store means being and giving special to your customers not offering specials. You attract and retain your customers not through offering the bigger discount than your competitors but by simply making your customers feel special because you understand them and therefore not having competition.

Be Different Means Simply Catering For Your Species of Customer
It isn’t as difficult as you think to be different and stand out of the crowd. It simply comes down to knowing and understanding your customer. This alone and how you implement this knowledge through your carefully crafted customer experience as trying to appeal to the masses and competing with other businesses will make the difference.

Spectacular Success
Businesses that are successful are those that are able to intimately understand and connect with their species of customer. They have learned to see through their customer’s eyes and hearts. They put on customer focused spectacles to see clearly and deliver an experience that makes their customers feel special.

Remember, to create a spectacular business isn’t about offering your customers specials but by delivering special. Its about bringing back the specialness. Its about your business being special, after all you are a specialty retailer. It is about making your customer feel special through special products, products that are unique and cater for your species of customer. Be special, deliver special, and you will enjoy a special kind of success – the spectacular kind.

Photo by tablewareforsale on Flikr used under Creative Commons

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