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Going That Extra (S)mile

A fortnight ago we had exhibited at the Reed Gift Fair in Brisbane. At the 11th hour (2 days before we were due to set up) we were offered an additional stand as it hadn’t been taken yet. We had two days to come up with something that would grab prospective customer’s attention. With little money and time we put together a stand that created the effect we were after.

POOD – Point of Overwhelming Difference

What we learned from our experience is that with a little bit of creativity and with not very much money, you as a retailer, can create Point Of Overwhelming Difference in your business too. It simply means thinking a little bit outside of the square. Some retailers try to cater for every customer and this works for some businesses, whereas with other businesses, having a vastly different range of products to anyone in your area, and focusing a customer service over and beyond what customers may be used to is all that is necessary to create that POOD.

PEE – Positive Emotional Experience

It was entertaining to watch retailers at the fair walk towards our stand and stop dead in their tracks. Their expressions ranged from mild surprise to delight and to fits of laughter. Coathangers provided the WOW factor and the dog poo provided the BOW WOW factor (excuse the pun). Most were oblivious to the final bit of decoration but those who saw it smiled or were mildly shocked for a moment, and we were in the ranks ready to join in on the joke. One customer accidentally stepped on it which brought on a series of laughs from her fellow friends.

Customers buy products because they have had some positive emotional experience more than through logic. And like Pavlov’s dogs who would salivate at the sound of a bell so too will your customers salivate thinking about you and your business if they have a positive Emotional Experience every time they enter your store.

Watch Your PEE’s and POO’s

How do you go about creating a Positive Emotional Experience for your customers and what is your Point of Overwhelming Difference? For us it was the coat hangers and fake dog poo, but also much more than that. It is the intangibles – we care about and respect our customers and know that in this challenging economic climate anything we can do to help our retailers ultimately filters back to us anyway. If you have ever stepped in doggy left overs and didn’t realise it, it doesn’t take long before you leave calling cards all over the place including the smell – better to leave good will than a bad smell and a big mess.

Creative – Reactive

Many suppliers and even retailers are more reactive than creative. They tend to be sheep or pack animals (like canines) following trends and what other suppliers and retailers are doing. It is those suppliers and retailers that listen to their gut feeling, who go out on a limb, who do careful research and get to know their customer base, who are leaders rather than followers that prosper. Especially in the current challenging economic climate it is vital more than ever to get to know who your customers are and what your customers wants are and not be reactive and follow what others do but be creative and stand out. Better to be the top dog than to be at the back of the pack with your tail between your legs.

Coat hangers and fake dog pooCoat hangers and fake dog pooCoat hangers and fake dog poo

Going that extra mile

After we had set up our stand we both felt that there was something missing. It felt to me, with an interior architecture background) like an arch with the keystone missing. And that keystone was fake dog poo to place on our fresh pristine green lawn! We frantically looked and rang around everywhere for fake dog poo. Calling up to ask a toy shop if you sell dog poo often elicited a pregnant pause on the other side of the receiver, but once the person on the other end knew we were serious we could hear their tone change. In fact, Heidi rang up one store as were driving around and she finished the conversation with ‘ Fake dog poo is hard to come by these days’, which left the person on the other end of the phone in hysterics.

After exhausting our known and potential haunts of this fake nugget, we finally located our brown piece de fragrance and purchased it at 7pm. Where did we find it, no, not on the front lawn, but in one of the tackiest places this side of Byron Bay – Surfers Paradise. We found it in a novelty shop strewn with wall to wall tackorama (thank God for tackorama!). We left happy chappies and I was excited that our makeshift masterpiece would be complete now that we had the finishing touch of crass on our grass.

Emotion – energy in motion.

Emotion is about ‘doo-ing’. You want your customers to ‘doo’ something – smile, be engaged, buy your products, tell others how good you are and that your products and service is ‘The Shit!’ (for those not in with the lingo, this means ‘the best!’. As mentioned earlier, shopping can be a Positive Emotional Experience and like Pavlov’s dogs you can get your customers coming back again and again salivating for more simply providing them with the happy hormones they so much crave.

Make Doo

You don’t need a big budget just a big commitment to not listen to the negativity out there and in your little way you can make a big difference. No excuses. Phil Knight, founder of Nike Inc. Knight started by selling shoes from his car boot at athletics meetings. Remember, with a little bit of creativity and a lot of heart for your customers you can transform your business.

Be open to trying something different

Our gift book distributor was open to our suggestions for the Fair and she informed us that she increased her takings of our products for this Fair by ten fold! She admitted to us that the idea that we had she believed wouldn’t work but nonetheless she was open to trying it. Again, in the current climate it is those that lead not that follow that will prosper. Be open to the new, the different, the untried. Remember, if you keep doing things the way you always have you can’t expect to get better results. In fact, you may find that doing the same as you always have and stocking the same stuff that everyone has will in fact give you ever decreasing returns.

How do you go that extra (s)mile?

Just Doo It!

Don’t hesitate, don’t wait, to procrastinate. Instead, find your POOD and provide your customer with PEE (Positive Emotional Experiences). Its time to mark your territory and stand out from the back. Remember, be the leader, the top dog, not the follower if you want to prosper.

You won’t know if anything will work till you try it

The only thing that is stopping you from success is the fear of losing. Inertia is simply fear. If you are standing still it means you are not moving forward and will soon be going backwards. Be courageous, take little baby steps every day to transform your business.

Test and Measure

Excremental…I mean, incremental changes tested and measured can create a big increase to your bottom line. For those who fear change, small steps and minor adjustments, little tweaks can add to ever increasing returns.

Sometimes you’ll put your foot in it

When you test and measure you’ll find that sometimes some approaches don’t work and so you adjust. Don’t be scared of failure. Failure is simply not starting. Not taking action.

So how do you go that extra mile in business to create a Positive Emotional Experience for your customers?

What do your customers say about your service, products, atmosphere and feel of your store?

Do you regularly ask them for feedback?

How do you go that extra (s)mile?




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