How does an Icelandic rock band (who once released an album sung entirely in gibberish) win multiple awards and go on to be one of the most consistent, successful bands in alternative music worldwide? It sounds improbable. In fact, it sounds downright strange. But that’s kind of their secret.
Sigur Rós has their own unique sound. It’s strange, it’s ethereal, and when they began, they didn’t sound like any other band out there. (Other bands have since started emulating their sounds). Bottom line, they found a sound they liked and perfected it.
So, what can a small business learn from an avant-garde musical act from Scandinavia? Simple: finding your niche is important.
Here are 3 simple ways to stand out and find your own sound:
1. Set a consistent visual theme
Pick your color(s), a font, and a logo. Make sure to save the exact color code, font name, and high-resolution image files of your logo in cloud-based storage so you can always go back and reference them. At least one of these elements should be visible from anywhere in your store or on your website.
It really is worth it to work with a design professional here. Sites like Thumbtack make it easy to find quality candidates for graphic design. Google Fonts also makes it easy to select a uniform font for your business.
If you have a brick-and-mortar store, also consider the smells your customers are encountering in addition to sight and sound. Remember, consistency is key in building a great environment. Having these elements deployed with consistency will give your business an air of professionalism and polish your customers will appreciate.
2. Love thy customers
Chances are, the products you sell won’t set you apart. Unless you manufacture your own goods, or have a very exclusive supply chain, the only thing setting you apart from your competitors (besides your location) is how you’re selling the products you’re selling.
Most businesses will take the short-term profit over the long-term relationship, but often that’s not the best way to go. The smaller your business, the more you have to rely on repeat customers. This means making them feel special. Small, personal gestures go a long way.
Think small things that make a big impact. It could be something as simple as giving away a lollipop or a dog treat (if you have a dog-friendly store). A small discount can also go a long way toward acquiring a customer. A 5% discretionary discount deployed strategically can lead to many more full-price purchases later on.
If you will be relying on repeat business, be sure to give a personal touch. For your beloved regulars, it may even be worth it to send a Christmas card or personalized mailer of some sort every now and then.
Make sure your employees are properly empowered here as well. Some companies actually set a quota amount of discretionary credit for employees that has to be given away. This way, employees are incentivized to make clients feel special. Just remember the golden rule: Do for your customers what you’d like done for you.
3. Make customers feel good about doing business with you
Consumers these days are more conscientious than ever. People buy values as much as they do products. They like to know where their money is going. So, show them!
To give an example, there is a legendary establishment near Shopventory’s Denver headquarters called “The Bagel Deli” which serves traditional Jewish-American cuisine. On every wall is a family photo, or a newspaper clipping, or a thank-you plaque from a local charity.
You can recognize the smiling faces in the photos if you look around at the staff too. It really makes you feel good to eat there because you know you’re supporting a local family and that family is in turn investing in the community around them. Plus the food is pretty darn amazing.
The point is they found their niche. They’ve since been featured on the Food Network and there is always a 45-minute wait for breakfast. (Worth every second.)
Find ways to tell your story. People love stories. One of the more moving example I’ve seen, is a business that had a photo of a little girl with crooked teeth smiling and holding up a note thanking customers for paying for her brand new braces. Next to it, a photo of that same girl working the cash register next to where I was standing. Then that same girl graduating high school with a perfectly straight smile. Finally her MBA on the wall from a local university.
I felt as though I had a part in her story, even though I was just there to buy a bag of chips and the ingredients to make guacamole. I’ve never been happier to spend $10. (Congrats on the new location, Carlos and Julie! Thanks for being a part of Shopventory's story as well.)
It’s never too early (or too late) to start building your brand. Part of that is curating the right inventory for your clients and managing it well. That’s where we come in! Shopventory offers plans for as low as 79¢ per day. Right now, you can sign up for a 30-day full-featured free trial of Shopventory with no credit card required. We also back Shopventory with a 30-day money back guarantee. That means a total of 60 days risk-free!
Start a trial today and tell us your story!
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