Know yourself know your customer. The more we understand our customers the better we can deliver what they want and the more successful our business will be. Every day we hear about the importance of the customer and how we should be customer focussed in all our business decisions but, do we really know our customers or do we just think we do. There is a massive difference.
In retail if you want to succeed you have to get under the skin of your customer, really understand how they think, what they like, their hobbies, work, family and social life etc. You can’t assume anything you need to know for certain!
Customers will engage with a business for many different reasons, it could be because of excellent customer service, use of social media, the loyalty scheme, promotions with free gifts or money off, the business expertise, the list may go on but the core customers will mainly be interested in only one or two things.
Once you’ve got the information you need you can’t just stop there either you have to keep going, things change, new trends come along, new technologies change the way we buy, engage and interact.
The more you know about your customers the better your decision making will be. Customers will influence the shop layout, the way you deliver customer service, how your website is operated, the type of marketing campaigns you deliver, the products/services you sell, the way you merchandise and edit your products, how and when you buy stock, improve and change services and so on.
The question is how do you get this information? I’ve put together a little list, it’s not in any particular order and it isn’t exhaustive but before you embark on improving your customer knowledge decide what information you want and how you’re going to use it!
- Surveys – Online and/or paper. They need to be short, easy to fill out for our time poor customers and remember, they’re doing you a favour so there should be a reward at the end of it! One more thing to be aware of, surveys are not always as accurate as we would like, most people will tell you what you think you want to hear.
- Watching – Watching how customers’ shop your shop can give you invaluable information about how you merchandise and layout your shop. If you haven’t got time get a friend, family member or student to gather the information.
- Desk based research - Find out more about the demographics in your area and predicted population growth. Consider outsourcing to experts working in the field. It’s not as expensive as you might think!
- Loyalty cards – There are lots of simple schemes on the market but what’s important is the information you capture about your customers.
- Engagement – Understand how your customers like to be contacted and how they like to communicate with you. Remember there’s still a large group of customers that are not actively involved in social media.
- Social media – You might be the expert but how connected are your customers. Your followers on social media may like to chat but how many of them are customers or potential customers?
- In store data capture - This doesn’t have to be complicated you just need to decide the basic information you need and the easiest and most efficient way to record it. I have a few options if you want to know more!
- Talk and listen
- Train the team
- Don’t become an administrator – too many systems, particularly for small businesses can become overbearing and cause a business to lose its sparkle. Small businesses don’t have the resources to do everything so you need to prioritise. Apply the 80:20 rule. 80 percent of your results will come from 20 percent of your efforts, 80 percent of your sales will come from 20 per cent of your products or services and 80 per cent of your top sales will come from 20 per cent of your customers…
Contact Peter by emailor phone 07907 691711
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