By Moe Lastfogel
Director of Sales and Marketing for The Retail Observer
The benefit of offering extraordinary service
In today’s economy, you can no longer get by with just the basics. By this, I mean people want fries and a sundae with their burger—the works! Delivery, installation and warranties have been our fries and sundaes for years, but if we were to offer sprinkles, whip cream and a cherry on top with the order, how do you think customer loyalty would grow?
Delivery is simple. You schedule an appointment, drop off a box, and sometimes install the product—no problem. How about offering “White Glove Service”? A uniformed installer, carpet runners, shoe covers, and yes, white gloves. Add a small vacuum and clean-up after the installation and boom!—the customer gets the works.
How many times have you received a call from a client who didn’t understand how to use their new product? In-store classes are a great side order. Offer once a week, bi-monthly, or monthly classes on convection or induction cooking, or roasting and baking. Many distributors or manufacturers would aid in making these classes happen if you used their products. Offer these classes to potential customers and to those who have already purchased a product. Heck, if the order was big enough, send a personal chef out to teach them in-home. This offer can also be a money maker if you offer it as a package line item.
The ideas are endless as to how to make the customer’s experience different from that of the box store. That’s one of the biggest advantages you have as an independent retailer. Think outside of the box, and add that cherry on top of the sundae to make your customer think that they’ve just received the best product offering ever. Let’s face it: a box is a box, it’s how you present it that makes it—and your business—special.
By Eliana Barriga
Publisher and Managing Editor for The Retail Observer
This month we are heading to the Architectural Digest Home Design Show in New York. A world of design inspiration awaits us with a showing of the latest in furniture, accessories, lighting, art, and kitchen, bath, and building product trends. Everything you could ever want or need for your customers’ upcoming design projects.
Don’t do design? Well, as a former designer, may I humbly say you are missing out on the opportunity to bring in new business without lifting a finger? Also, providing design services allows your business to move from just selling products to selling an investment in a lifestyle, bringing something truly unique to each customer—what the French describe as a certain “Je ne sais quoi”.
Stores like Ethan Allen call their sales reps “design professionals”, host design workshops and offer referral incentives to affiliate designers. West Elm’s Design Lab provides complimentary home stylist services and installation services starting at $129— including TV wall mounts. And it’s not just the national chains cashing in on the “design for life” bandwagon either. Independents like Wolf’s Furniture and Baer’s Furniture offer free design services and a virtual design center with helpful how-to articles on their websites.
Make sure you are satisfying the discerning tastes of today’s consumer with what they want and need for their next design project by working with a local designer or decorator.
Already working with a standout designer? Encourage them to enter the 2015 NKBA Design Competition. Award winners garner national press, industry recognition and cash prizes (only NKBA members are eligible).
Designer for life,