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Is Your Business Really Ready For Christmas?

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Christmas May Be Coming But Is Your Business Really Ready For The Opportunity?

Retailers everywhere may be looking forward to what is, for many, the busiest time of the year, but research suggests it will be the businesses that offer “Experiences” to customers that will likely come out on top in the longer term.

When you have a look at those sectors of the business community that are experiencing continued growth, an interesting trend emerges; spending on experiences, such as leisure activities and entertainment, has jumped significantly – with activities such as trips to the movies, seeing a sporting match & dining out showing the biggest gains.

And yet the bricks & mortar retail world is experiencing significant downturns in spending – or, at best, static levels. This doesn’t mean retail is dead – just that it needs to adapt to this growing desire for experiences and entertainment.

When you look at shopping centres as an example, they are devoting more and more floor space to “Experiential” tenants – “Food halls” are being replaced with “Dining Centres”, fitness centres are taking up more floor space, individual businesses are being replaced by franchise operated businesses (where consumers recognise the “Experience” they will receive).

All these changes are designed to lift the visitor’s “Experience” & encourage them to keep coming back.

Businesses everywhere (that are involved in business to consumer trading) need to look at their offerings & try to incorporate an element of an “Experience” within the buying process – something that takes a mere transaction & gives it some sort of “Wow!” factor.

Without that, the customer will simply elect to either buy online or go somewhere where the “Wow!” factor exists.

How do you build an experience into your offering? It’s not as difficult as you might think.

The first step is to know who your customers are – understand your target market(s), get to know them, understand them (social media is a great way to do this).

Then, you can embark upon your second step – to provide the sort of experience that will “Wow!” them. This will require some businesses to dramatically realign their business practices & to make sure that all staff are on board with what is required (& have the training support to be able to deliver on that).

The third & final step is to incorporate a feedback loop between the business & the customer – otherwise how will you know if the “Wow!” you deliver is what they are looking for? (Again, social media is a great tool for this).

Oh, & be prepared to continually push that “Wow!” envelope – when you deliver a “Wow!” you have to be able to deliver it consistently & realise that after a few exposures your customers will be looking for a new “Wow!”, as the old “Wow!” becomes what’s expected.

The ritual of Christmas remains – the challenge is to provide the customer with reasons to come back after Christmas & beyond. Deliver a “Wow!” this December & you can expect to have a much better January & February than ever before. Whether your success continues beyond that is entirely dependent on your ability to keep those experiences coming!

Dennis Hall

 

The Communication Commando is Dennis Hall. With an MBA in Marketing Management he has been involved in the online environment for over 15 years. He helps local businesses develop sustainable online marketing programs by applying a strategic focus to laser target what a business needs to be doing & when. He can be contacted at www.communicationcommando.com

 

Posted In: Business Relationships

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