Sunday, 11 May 2014

How to educate your customers

I often wonder how run of the mill, High Street retailers can educate their customers in their ways.  By this I mean how to interact with the company and what "buy in" the company needs from their customers to make a successful relationship/partnership.

Some newer entrants to the market are able to have this relationship/partnership and have complete customer but in, as the retailer and customer have grown together.  For me, a prime example is Ikea.  You select your own products, you get them home yourself, you clear your own tables in the cafe - in return they keep the prices to a minimum.

Another such example is Build A Bear - you pay a bit more for the bear, but you have the experience of choosing the design if your bear and being a large part of the production of the best.  It's not just a purchase - it's an experience.

How do you relate the things you need your customers to know?

In the examples above, Ikea has store notices and both retailers have a great "word of mouth" network of avid fans.  Social media has increased this many times over.

Social media is one way to to this, but you need to educate some valued, regular customers in the first place for word to spread.  So, the best way to initiate this is to get your team to have great conversations with your customers.  The effects of this may not happen overnight, but consistently great interactions with your customers will consistently lead to these values customers being your best advocates.

One message I'd like to see all retailers get over to their customers is that their mistreatment of stock, fixtures and fittings will always come back to them as higher prices.  A packaging that a customer splits and renders unsaleable will mean an extra cost to them and all other customers in future years.

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