I recently attended a presentation by a company that specializes in helping businesses create a brand for themselves. While it’s great to carry high-quality products at reasonable prices, in order to excel and differentiate your business from the competition, you need to do more. One of the items that was stressed during the presentation was the importance of creating an emotional bond with your customers. While there are a variety of different ways to accomplish this goal, there is no recipe to follow that works for each and every business.
One of the segments of my business that has experienced significant growth since I opened six years ago is the Doggie Birthday category. Beyond the obvious birthday cakes and pupcakes, I also carry "Birthday Boy” and "Birthday Girl” T-shirts and bandannas, party hats, plush toys that play birthday jingles and party invitations as well as party collars. I always invite my customers who purchase birthday gear to post pictures of their dog celebrating their birthday on our Facebook page.
More times than not, the Facebook post is shared among friends. Other customers always comment on how cute the dog is or how much they seem to be enjoying their birthday celebration. Ultimately, the customer associates my business with making their dog’s birthday celebration special. My recent move to a larger retail space will allow me take this emotional build to another level, as I plan to hold doggie birthday parties in my store. You should try to implement some of these ideas in your pet boutique.
Creating this emotional bond with the customer extends well beyond just birthday celebrations. I always make it a point to fill my bakery case with holiday-themed biscuits—whether its Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Easter, Fourth of July, Halloween or Christmas—for the customer to be able to share these holiday celebrations with their dog. This further strengthens that emotional bond with my business.
Another building block in creating that emotional bond is organizing special community events that customers can enjoy with their dog(s). I’ve blogged before about our summer Yappy Hour Series, Annual Howl-O-Ween Costume Parade and Contest, Annual Barkfest with Santa and Annual Dog-Friendly Downtown Shopping Event, as well as marching in the Annual Fourth of July Parade with dogs in tow. Even though these events don’t generate much revenue, their benefit to the overall health of my business is immeasurable.
How does your business create an emotional bond with your customers? Feel free to comment on this blog and share your tips.
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