written by David Geller
You know, before the internet, cell phones and streaming TV. Wow, what a crazy idea.
Why in the world would I propose this? To enhance the basic human connection. By the time you read this most of the country will be “open” but still far from mass hugs, crowded restaurants. Its what humans want and need. During shelter in place many of you in addition to email blasts and Facebook auctions have done something you haven’t done in a long while:
- Called customers on the phone
- Sent handwritten cards and notes
- Met people outside of your store curbside, excellent service at its best.
- Met them inside the store, just you and them. Made real connections
Make it continue. Yes, electronic everything is here to stay but look at what is happening to the retail landscape. Every industry including ours has companies now failing. Consumers have bought more online than at Christmas time. But there’s no human connection online and we crave that. So what am suggestion? Deep six Facebook/Instagram/Website? Not at all! Enhance the experience-go boldly where most other stores never go!
1974 was the year I started my shop, about 50/50 trade work and retail. Within 3 years went 100% retail. From the very first day we sent every single customer a thank you card. Battery customers as well. My old company is still going strong and up to the last day I owned it (December 1999) we sent every customer a thank you in the mail.
The number of transactions grew so large that we segregated sales into 2 groups:
- Sales under $249.00 received a post card addressed by the computer, it was from me.
- Sales over $250.00 were handwritten by the sales staff that helped them.
- Every single customer. We demanded the staff to get mailing addresses and we did. In December 1999 we had over 18,000 on our mailing list!
Yes, we did traditional advertising but in addition once or twice a year we sent out direct mail to our customer list. For any event was the biggest bang for the buck.
If you send out an email blast, you’re a star if you have a 25% open rate! That means 75% of the customers never clicked and opened your email. Would you like a 90% OPEN RATE!
Send out postcards as part of your advertising plan.
Postcards have a 90% open rate. You have to look at them before tossing them in the trash. Postcards work and the larger size the better. Advertise whatever you want, graphics, color and a call to action.
Call them on the phone. Great for repairs and custom. Don’t file the envelopes away just yet, set aside in a box and a week later call the customer to make sure everything is “A-OK”. No one does this, but you will, and you’ll be remembered and talked about.
Start an honest to Betsy wish list and contact the person who needs your help!
Stores that ask customers “what do you want for your next piece of jewelry” get an answer 75% of the time and you know how to pull the other 25% out of them. One store I visited did this, asked every customer:
- What’s next of your jewelry wish list?
- When do you want it (birthday/anniversary/mothers day/Christmas, etc.)
- Whom do I contact?
Each salesperson kept their list and a few weeks before the coming occasion hand wrote a note to (usually husband) expressing:
“Hi Mr. Davis. Your wife Marilyn was in a few months ago with a repair and she casually mentioned that she just loved our diamond and emerald tennis bracelet (see picture attached). I believe your anniversary is coming up July 7th and this would be a perfect gift. Its still in the store if you’d like to see it or we can ship it to your office, just give me a call. Thanks! Sally @ the Jewelry Store.”
I asked the associate how many men bought after receiving the letter. She looked me straight in the eye and said
“Within 6 months 90% of the men I wrote will buy what I wrote.” Honest.
Tough times calls for tougher people. Make this YOUR NEW NORMAL and you’ll stand out in the crowd and be standing for a long time to come.
Your personal kick in the butt