If you spend any time within marketing forums or groups; you are sure to hear someone talk about personalization. The act of making or tailoring marketing efforts to “speak” to or “connect” intimately with an intended audience. This can be very powerful if done right. But it is also ripe for blunders. Think about it – if a message really resonates with you based on a need or desire or purpose or “season”; extremely impactful. Mix in the right emotional formula – magic. However, what I want to do today is briefly turn the tables and relate it to the “personality” of the retailer. Your brand. In the experience economy we all talk about – what is your “personality” as a retailer? Have you personalized your experience? Does everything about you and your business support this or are you just mixed bag of messaging? Here are a couple things to think about as you once again “shop yourself”.
Are you just a retailer like any other retailer with a sign? Over the last weeks I have asked numerous dealers – “what kinds of products do you carry”? Most of the responses were (are) a quick dump of brands. This tells me a couple things. There is a good chance that the dealer is just carrying lines in hopes that the “brand name” will be enough and second – leads me to wonder if the retailer has given any thought to how their product mix is “mixed”. What if a retailer responded “That is a great question. At (insert retailers name) we have gone to great lengths to curate a fantastic assortment to meet the needs of most first-time home buyers”. Holy crap – sign me up. They have taken a common question and driven the delivery truck right into a customers’ home loaded with the right products. Take it one step further. Maybe the dealer has then refined that response and tailored it to each category of products. Kitchen, bedroom, office. Relating the “curating” specifically to those sub-sets of products. As a consumer, wouldn’t that go a long way to tell me a lot about this retailers’ personality? They get me. They care. They have mitigated risks associated with buying (the wrong) products. The list goes on. A real-world truth is that most dealers’ less than adequate responses are a flavor of how their staff would respond to the same question… Extra points if a retailer not only has this figured out – but also has the responses engrained in their culture!
Visit and take notes! Go to a mall – yes, remember those. The big thing next to Cheesecake Factory and Maggiano’s. Go visit a bunch of stores (mall or not) and observe how the employees act as soon as you enter. Remember what you like, don’t like, etc. Even the small details – such as how someone said something. What did they have in their hands? What music perked your attention? How about smells. Colors. Everything counts. As a business owner I bet the things you gravitated to or “liked” are going to be part of the personality of your own retail business. However, have you defined these and gone the necessary step to ingrain them into your “culture”. There – I said that word again. Culture. Personality is a derivative of culture (my opinion). How your store “acts” (act being all things mentioned above, not just people) when someone crosses the threshold of your business sets the tone, the mood, and expectations of the visit. Seems a bit like retail 101, but I think the opportunity in this point is that there is a gap or miss if you really look. It is in your control. Define and fine tune. Again, everything counts in that consumer experience.
What are you trying to solve? I mentioned culture. I mentioned personality. You started your business for a reason. Hopefully it is to solve a problem, and everything ties back to that. In my response above – “At (insert retailers name) we have gone to great lengths to curate a fantastic assortment to meet the needs of most first-time home buyers”; you have done it. You solved that problem. Not only do you have the right products – you have a bunch of them. Again, my opinion; personality is more than the persona of your business – emotions are a big part of it but are often not employed. This response conveys that you care. Empathy, compassion, anything that oozes you have a vested interest. Here is a comparison. “We carry leading products from leading brands” or “We have gone to great lengths to curate a fantastic assortment to meet the needs of most first-time home buyers”. There is nothing “wrong” with the first response as it is better than “we carry, x,y, and z”; but I believe that the second response conveys that vested interest in a solve to a problem – thus a satisfied customer.
- Are you just a retailer like any other retailer with a sign?
- Visit and take notes!
- What are you trying to solve?
As a retailer – you must set yourself apart. Experience and personalization and culture. All huge words and efforts for any business to define and refine. The effort must begin and should never stop. Now go make that “solve” part of your business personality!