Secrets That Make You Untouchable By Online-Only Competitors | Small Biz Marketing Specialist

Secrets That Make You Untouchable By Online-Only Competitors

Are you marketing to “affluent” customer? By some definitions, affluent customers are those households with an annual income greater than $100,000. Such households represent 21 percent of the U.S. consumers and control 70 percent of total U.S. consumer wealth. These consumers are 2 times more likely to buy advertised goods and services and spend 3.2 times more when they buy.

According to the Harvard Business Review, sales made at brick-and-mortar stores accounted for 92.3 percent of retail sales in the first quarter of 2016. Even more telling, there was only a 0.8 percent shirt from offline to online sales between 2015 and 2016.

So, despite all the doom and gloom around the industry, the stats actually point to a bright future for brick-and-mortar retailers — at least for those that are smart and adaptable. The truth is, while shoppers will continue to visit stores to make purchases for many years to come, what they expect from stores will be different. Not only will offline businesses be competing for attention against those that are online, but brick-and-mortar stores will need to offer more than just “stuff” in order to thrive.

Yes, affluent customers are shopping online, but there are two important attributes of high-end customers that you can use to your advantage in a brick-and-mortar location:

  1. Though many people look for low pricing first, affluent people don’t. In fact, a higher price often signals that something is better and, therefore, more desireable.
  2. Affluent customer prefer products and services that offer convenience and exclusivity.

Read those two statements again. They’re the biggest takeaways from this article. Now the question is, what are you going to do about it?

If you’re saying “my business is different,” you’re wrong. There are many lessons to be learned from big-name brick-and-mortar retailers.

Neiman Marcus is famous for its outrageous annual Christmas Book catalog inspiring billionaires and dreamers all over the world with its over-the-top offerings.

The 2016 Christmas Book contains a large range of categories for all budgets including spectacular gifts ranging from A Week at Three English Estates Experience for $700,000, a private Slumber Party at the Neiman Marcus Flagship store for $120,000, and a fancy Cobalt Valkyrie-X Private Plane embossed in rose gold. You could buy a $25 Coleman cooler anywhere, or you could buy a Lappas stamped leather cooler for $1,800. Neiman Marcus knows its market and is offering them exactly what they want. They’re not looking for sell thousands of these items. Take note.

When you are putting together your marketing strategy to attract affluent customers, be sure to consider these five tips:

  1. Look The Part — Everything associated with your business should be of the highest quality, including your fixtures, furnishings, and staff. First impressions do matter! Think carefully about where you physically operate your brick-and-mortar location, as well. In retail, it’s all about location, location, location.
  2. Use a Loyalty Program — Because affluent customers demand convenience, they will respond to your loyalty program if you help to make their lives easier. For example, you could start by making recommendations based on their preferences and past purchase behavior.
  3. Provide Special Perks — Think about how you can cater to affluent customers’ desire for exclusivity. Can you offer early access to sales, special events such as trunk shows or off-menu tastings, exclusive updates and offers, or VIP services for top customers?
  4. Develop a High-Quality Mobile App — Extend your top-notch customer service to your mobile app with a great user experience. Make it easy for your affluent customers to contact you, buy from you, or reserve a table. Having your own mobile app may not be feasible for every small business, but think about how you might apply the idea to other elements of your marketing and communications. At a minimum, have a mobile responsive website so users have a great experience online no matter what device they’re using.
  5. Emphasize Value — As mentioned above, affluent customers don’t look at prices, but they do think about the value or benefit your product or service delivers. Develop stories about your products or services that create an emotional connection and communicate just how special they are. I did this in my coffee and smoothie business by turning a commodity (a smoothie) into an experience. Instead of offering “catering”, we’d offer “The Ultimate Hawaiian Getaway Without a 12-Hour Flight.” Instead of offering a “smoothie” we’d offer a “vacation in a cup.” When you transform a commodity into an experience and craft a compelling story around it, price doesn’t matter. People will want it and will pay handsomely for it.

Note that many affluent buyers — also known as luxury shoppers — dislike the time it takes to fill out forms and share their preferences to get results that are relevant to their needs. Rather than asking buyers to complete surveys or give responses, think of ways you can get the information as soon as it is obtained for us in future offers.

As examples, you can use the data you already have about your affluent customers to personalize their shopping experience by:

  • Greeting them by name when they visit your location
  • Being aware of their preferences based on past purchases
  • Mailing, emailing or texting offers and rewards based on their interests
  • Inviting them to VIP events based on their interests
  • Another great idea? Studies show that affluent customers crave exclusivity. You might think about directing your staff to ask affluent buyers if they would be interested in paying for a personalized experience. Just asking will provide great feedback into what their needs, challenges, and opportunities are.

Ratings and reviews are another great way to reach out to affluent buyers. A customer who is excited about your product or service and engaged enough to start a conversation is a person who may provide good word-of-mouth through online posts and in-person conversation.

There’s one thing that ecommerce businesses will never be able to compete with against brick-and-mortar stores: putting a face on your brand and the human touch.

Therefore, it’s worth investing in your sales staff — the people who are there to greet your customers, provide information, and make suggestions while delivering seamless, top-notch service. It’s something not even artificial intelligence can ever truly replace.

When you build your business to attract customers, clients and patients for whom price is not a determining factor, it puts more money in your pocket and serves the needs — and even egos — of the affluent marketplace.

What have you found that works best in attracting, connecting and nurturing the affluent? Comment below.

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About Stacey Riska

Stacey Riska, aka “Small Business Stacey” is a serial entrepreneur who is passionate about saving small business and rebuilding Main Street. She helps small and local business owners become a #SmallBizMarketingWiz by teaching them marketing strategies that get MORE: MORE leads, MORE customers/clients, MORE sales, and MORE money. Stacey is the founder of Small Biz Marketing Specialist, THE go-to place for marketing tips, techniques and strategies that get results. Stacey is also the creator of the Daily Deals for Massive Profits Training Program, an online video training program that teaches small and local business owners how to use daily deal sites like Groupon to skyrocket their business growth and get massive profits. In this program she teaches from experience, as it was the key strategy that transformed her coffee and smoothie business from being $500K in debt to a 7-figure profitable business. When not saving the small business world, she enjoys sipping red wine, eating chocolate (who doesn’t!) and spending time with her amazing husband.

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About the Author smallbizmarketing

Stacey Riska, aka "Small Business Stacey" is a serial entrepreneur who is passionate about saving small business and rebuilding Main Street. She helps small and local business owners become a #SmallBizMarketingWiz by teaching them marketing strategies that get MORE: MORE leads, MORE customers/clients/patients, MORE sales, and MORE money. Stacey is the founder of Small Biz Marketing Specialist, THE go-to place for marketing tips, techniques and strategies that get results. She's also the author of "Small Business Marketing Made EZ" where she shares the 6-simple-step plan to get your marketing into ACTION - literally and figuratively. Stacey is also the creator of the Daily Deals for Massive Profits, an online video training program that teaches small and local business owners how to use daily deal sites like Groupon to skyrocket their business growth and get massive profits. In this program she teaches from experience, as it was the key strategy that transformed her coffee and smoothie business from being $500K in debt to a 7-figure profitable business. When not saving the small business world, she enjoys sipping red wine, eating chocolate (who doesn't!) and spending time with her amazing husband.

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  • Serri Stine says:

    Great tips! I always get good info that I can apply to my business. Thank you!

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