Was 2015 your company's best year? Did your customer base expand like you hoped? Are you satisfied with your place in the market?
If you answered no to any of the above, then you'll want to continue reading.
With a clean slate ahead of you, we've been giving a lot of thought to ways in which we can help you achieve your goals in 2016. These three areas resonated for us and will probably strike a chord with you as well:
- Understanding your base
- Discovering your untapped potential
- Managing a multi-pronged approach
What We Know About Your Customers
No matter what industry you specialize in, your customer base is now comprised of several dynamic groups:
- Baby Boomers (ages 51-70)
- Generation X (ages 35-50)
- Millennials (ages 21-36)
What this means for you is that differing expectations come into play depending on the needs of each group ... but here's something you might not know:
Millennials have a much more communicative relationship with their Boomer/Gen X parents than previous generations. What does this mean? It equates to an open dialogue regarding purchases, recommendations, and satisfaction levels as these individuals share information in a way that was uncommon among Baby Boomers and their parents. The result: a need to embrace everyone with the common goal of carving out your own space in the market.
What We Discovered About Your Customers' Purchasing Habits
As large as the Millennial generation is (
estimated to hold $200 billion in annual buying power
) their parents and predecessors still possess the greater portion of discretionary income. In short, while your base may be bigger, its spendable income may be smaller (think college loans, unwillingness to incur debt, starting families, etc.). On the other hand, your established base has most likely settled into a comfortable lifestyle and manages its money in such a way to be able to splurge more often.
Discovering Your Untapped Potential
Technology has made information sharing easier than ever (whether we want it or not). Decision-making often begins in the form of discussion or resides in online reviews. Recommendations, whether from fellow shoppers or found online, play a factor, as do review and opinion sites (see Yelp.com for the good, bad, and the downright hurtful). One way to access valuable feedback and reward your customers is to utilize
digital comment cards
. Actionable feedback can keep your plan on track and also offer your customer an additional bonus. By seeking their input in this advanced way, you'll stay in touch with their needs and concerns (and show them that their time and opinion is valued).
The Tactile Experience Still Reigns
Despite ever-growing e-commerce sales, savvy businesses will continue to benefit from the age old reminder that shopping is an experience. Satisfying the five senses is always in fashion, and, in many ways, shopping is an intimate experience, one complete with trying things on, holding them in the palm of your hand, and beholding that awe-filled moment when you transcend from shopper to owner. Your customers are not emotionless machines; they need to touch, see, feel, hear, and sometimes taste what you're offering. The more customized your product, the more your base will visit your physical location.
Managing a Multi-Pronged Approach
While deciding which aspects of your business need to be optimized, there is a lot to consider. And since a one-size-fits-all approach rarely ever yields long-term results, seeking advice from an objective third party can help provide perspective and a plan. It's a good idea to invest in a careful analysis of your current strategy and also to consider improving both your brick-and-mortar and online presence by utilizing any number of methods to determine customer satisfaction.
We hope you've enjoyed this month's newsletter, and we'll be happy to help you with any questions or strategies you plan to implement. Happy 2016!