Going back to basics!
So Sir Stelios does it again. Everyone’s favourite Greek-Cypriot has made the unlikely connection between cheap air travel and ultra-cheap food and launched his first easyFoodStore in North London. Are customers really that keen on a bargain? It looks like the answer is yes.
With a special introductory offer where everything in the store is just 25p, easyFoodStore had to close yesterday to give the staff time to restock – shelves had been stripped bare and their supplier, the wholesale specialists Bookers, just couldn’t keep up with demand.
Now technically, this shouldn’t really be happening. A couple of weeks ago I told you about this year’s customer satisfaction survey by the Institute of Customer Service (ICS). The big news this year was the increasing demand for competent staff and better complaints handling. In fact, the cost of products and services was only rated as the 21st most important factor for consumers when choosing which organisations to do business with. Compare that to 2010, when this was ranked as being the 8th most important priority for customers – my initial reaction was that easyFoodStore had missed the boat by around 5 years, but seemingly not.
So what’s going on?
Good question. The ICS pride themselves on surveying the full spectrum of consumers out there, but maybe what would have been more helpful is breaking their responses down into demographics. Makes sense when you think about it – someone on the minimum wage is going to have different shopping priorities than the director of an accountancy firm in Kensington (if they actually do their own shopping). Whatever’s going on, Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou has proved to us that the consumer’s thirst for a bargain hasn’t been quenched yet – it all depends on what your customers want from you.
It’s one of the perversions of marketing that the more people you try to reach, the fewer will actually engage with your business. The key is to focus on your most important market, get that right and then see who else you can bring along for the ride. And that means that an hour spent getting to know your ideal customer is probably the most important hour you’ll spend this week. Unless you’re rehearsing how to propose to your partner in time for Valentine’s Day or expecting your first child.
Who’s your ideal customer?
Now if I asked you who your ideal customer is, I’m guessing you think you could answer – but could you really? You might be able to tell me what sex they are or what age bracket they come in but what about the rest? What about the really juicy bits of information?
As well as looking at demographics, you need to look at psychographics too and that means their personality, values, opinions, attitudes, interests, and lifestyle. By deeply understanding your ideal customer you’ll not only find out what they want from you but also the best way to communicate with them – and that’s crucial for engaging customers.
Last month’s ICS survey found that consumers are using more and more channels to communicate with businesses – the choice of how to reach out and engage are almost limitless these days. Even in the retail market, where face-to-face interactions are required, nearly half of consumers use website and social media to find out more about a store before they use it. So do you know how your market uses the internet? You might not have thought it was relevant to you but I can guarantee that it is. Even easyFoodStore got new customers this week through the word spreading on Facebook and they’re as ultra-basic as you get. So the key is that in the 21st century, the internet rules – even if you see yourself as a no-frills, cheap and cheerful kind of business.
57 channels and nothing on.
Here at The Monachie Project, we’re seeing more and more of businesses touchpoints moving to multiple channels – with consumers expecting to be able to access information about your business online, through telephone help services and email services. And this counts even if you’re in a sector that seems to rely on face-to-face interactions.
The modern day consumer is more demanding and more discerning than ever before. A multi-channel approach might be new to you and even if it’s not it can be hard to get it right. Understanding your market – really understanding them – so that you know how they want to communicate and which words resonate with them the most can be a complex business. But never fear – it’s what we do best.
So when you’re ready to build your brand in a way that meaningfully engages your market, get in touch. The Monachie Project’s emotive user experience consultancy will have you successfully navigating today’s complex communication channels as confidently as an easyJet pilot cruising at altitude. And don’t worry – unlike Sir Stelio we won’t hit you with extra charges for any baggage you need to bring along.