Why Customers are saying “Let’s go Local”

McArthurGlen-Bridgend_5A recent article in Entrepreneur magazine has highlighted a very interesting trend in the US – I know we are not the states but we do follow a number of their trends, so this one is worth noting. Based on a survey of over 6000 people, conducted by online marketing company Yodle, consumers plan to patronise more local businesses.

Why are consumers seeking local businesses?

People want better relationships with their business providers. Consumers know that local businesses don’t (or can’t) compete on price, but they can in their ability to provide a certain level of service and a personalised experience to their customers. It’s why customers buy, and it’s why many are using local vs. large national competitors.

So how can a small business meet the expectations?

If you want to differentiate yourself, you have to understand not just what customers want from a product or service, but how they want that product or service delivered and the kind of relationship they want to have with your company. Technology has advanced such that it’s pretty easy for people to connect with their small-business partners and, similarly, for small businesses to connect with their customers. There’s a wide range of opportunities—including online communications, social media and customer reviews—for small businesses to play up their service, locality and personalization, as well as how important customers are to a smaller business, relative to a big company.

Creating an experience

Whether it’s online or face to face, as customers are certainly doing both, the experience has to be great, otherwise you run the risk of losing that customer. The area that I help my clients with is with the face to face experience. This research totally supports the need for a local business (in fact any business) to create an experience that customers don’t get elsewhere – it’s actually not that hard. As is mentioned above, it’s about finding out what your customers want, how they want it delivered and what kind of relationship they want.

To do this you and your staff have to get to know them – talk to them, recognise when they are returning customers, ask for their feedback and how you could improve – if you do you might discover a gold nugget that propels your business forward.

My key steps for creating a truly positive experience:

  • Find out what your customers want
  • Make sure your staff are on board by setting clear expectations with them
  • Follow up to make sure they are living the expectations
  • Provide regular feedback – particularly positive feedback.

 


Roger SimpsonRoger Simpson – CEO, The Retail Solution and Author of “The Retail Solution” With over 35 years’ industry experience, Roger Simpson is recognized as Australia’s #1 Authority on customer ROI in the retail industry and as a global expert on staff coaching, customer service and selling skills.

Roger Simpson and the team at The Retail Solution have provided nearly 2 decades of unparalleled expertise in retail consulting for Australian businesses.
 
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