There is the age old expression that “everything’s local”, but it’s becoming an increasingly important concept in our globalized world. This could really be a few different blog posts, but I thought they all tied it nicely with the idea of going local.
Gary Vaynerchuk always talks about the importance of customer service and treating your customers like you would in a mom and pop store. It’s important in the age of social media to give your customers a memorable experience, because service is what separates companies in a competitive industry and marketplace. Social media is a great tool because it allows you to go beyond the average relationship with your customer. You can see what they like and don’t like and you can engage them outside of the store. Social media gives you the ability to be pro-active rather than just reactive.
Personal story about a recent experience at a local restaurant and how they failed to capitalize.
I was eating lunch with my friend in an Indian restaurant near our school in London and the restaurant was empty. It had the opportunity to create future customers by providing us with a unique experience. All they had to do was offer us free rice or naan and they would’ve solidified a relationship with a customer. No one was around, it would’ve only cost them some rice or bread. Everyone knows that word of mouth is one of the strongest form of marketing, if you give a college student free food, you can expect they’ll come back…with friends! Instead they missed an opportunity and I haven’t been back since. While in the short term it cost them some rice or bread, over the long run they lost much more.
Everyone is interested in daily deals, especially after Groupon’s recent IPO. LivingSocial recently ran a daily deal for McDonald’s and it was highly discussed in the Twitterverse. A debate arose about whether people prefer when deal companies partner with big companies like Whole Foods and McDonalds or small stores. I took the stance that its better when deal companies partner with smaller stores. I know there are tons of stories about how deal companies screwed over small business and they lost a fortune, but I think those people improperly used the deals.
Small companies should be focused on winning with their current customers, daily deals offer a chance to branch out. The small stores need to focus on their current stakeholders and ensure they have the best experience imaginable, before they reach out to crazed daily deals users looking to save a few dollars. I think these companies can benefit from daily deals by applying them to slow times, if you know you don’t get customers on Tuesdays in January that’s the perfect time to run the deal, not on Friday evenings in December when all your regular customers stop by.