Re-Learn the Street-Level Approach to Customer Loyalty
Mom and pop shops thrive on the popular belief that service is better when you shop locally. Small businesses have the opportunity to get in face time and connect directly with their customers, and it doesn’t get more face-to-face than bringing your work to the local marketplace or farmer’s market.
That’s why we’re taking it to the streets for this look at a genuinely unique taste of customer loyalty.
Hardcore Sweet, bakers of sweet treats, appear regularly at the Main St. Marketplace in Torrington, Connecticut. Like most food, restaurant and retail vendors, they interface with every customer who comes by.
A couple weeks ago, a man with an unmistakable mustache swung by the Hardcore Sweet table and made a lasting impression.
“It’s actually a funny story on how we met the mustache man.” They told us he was drawn in by the display, but “didn’t want to buy one because he wasn’t a ‘Sweets’ kind of guy.” In most cases, a vendor might move on, but they persisted.
“We told him we could make anyone love our product as much as we loved his mustache. So he challenged us to bring him a signature cupcake.”
Unfortunately, they didn’t think they’d ever see him again, and were unprepared when “the mustache man” appeared again the next week. “So we went home and made a chicken and waffle cupcake for the non-sweet tooth, and added a mustache on top.”
“The following Thursday he showed up to the booth specifically, and we surprised him with the cupcake,” they said. “He still comes by every Thursday.”
Tips for Getting Down on the Ground with Your Customers
The small business movement has put pressure on local businesses to live up to the mom and pop persona. Make your customers feel like VIPs with these simple tips:
- Invite a different guest to dine at a special table every night (without them having to request “the chef’s table”).
- Offer samples food-court style outside your restaurant or specialty food store.
- Attend local farmer’s markets and bring your hostess who will remember and greet familiar faces like family when they walk into your restaurant.
- Ask customers what they like and offer personal suggestions on clothes and accessories. Personal product recommendations boost sales in e-commerce and they can increase sales in your store too.
- Ask loyal customers to fill out shopping profiles, and text notifications to alert them when something they like arrives in the store.
- For your most publicly loyal customers, the ones who tweet you on Twitter and tag you on Facebook, invite them to special events, dinners and private shopping parties. Get on a first-name basis and write on their walls if it’s appropriate.
If you’re looking for ways to discover more about your customers and even offer loyalty rewards to your most frequent customers, learn about Swipely.