Your local customers are the backbone of your operation and even though you might heavily rely on tourists in your success, do not forget them.
Some years ago due to SARS a wicked desease causing the death of many people, international travel dropped to almost zero, during several months. The same happened in the weeks after 9/11 and with the outbreak of the Eeyjafjallajökull in Island.
Consequently your business always is at risk when you are not able to cover your cost with local customers, which in some holiday regions of course never will be possible, but still give it a serious try.
Also you have locals, who visit your store, take all the service out of it and then purchase on the internet, the airport, abroad, where it is cheaper, in the grey market … – do not look down on them, but develop them to a maximum. Important foremost is that they purchase a product of your brand then a product of your industry.
As the retail business, according to many studies is undergoing a big change you anyhow will have to develop strategies to make customers come physically to you or die.
Those strategies not have necessarily to do with sales in first place, but with relationships you are able to build between a brand, whose ambassador you are and the endconsumer. So make your boutiques destinations, where something relevant for your clientele is happening, the conversion into customers will follow automatically afterwards. – It sounds quite theoretical, I am aware of this, but I truly believe it is the only chance you have to succeed. The good news is everybody has the same issues and the second good news is that the relevance of the existance of a boutique is not defined by yout event budget, but much more by the way you and your team are able to address local habits and needs. Very often only little to no money is needed for this, but much more a profound knowledge on both the strategy of your brand and the expectation of your customers. Your job clearly is to understand both and act accordingly, even if this means to go down a sometimes quite bumpy road with your HQ.
Do not forget – Creating a stable local clientele really is a longterm project.
If you can use local digital tools to do so even better, but unfortunately most HQs do not allow Boutique teams to do so – the main reason being:
- uniform appearance of messages
- uniform platforms – 1 international instagram account with 200000000000 paid followers is considered better then 25 local instagram accounts with 1000 real followers each
- uniform messages – not only the way a message is given, but also how comments are managed, how messages are timed, the look and feel of a post, etc.
This is right and wrong, anyhow you cannot change it, which should not prevent you from being able to do so and to learn the importance of these kind of contact possibilities. A good, but rather old book to do so is the Cluetrain Manifesto, it’s 95 thesis are in my eyes still relevant for the bigger part.
However again if you do not do it in an organised and formalised way you will fail miserably so here again the Management necessities:
Boutique Visual Identity – adapt your VM to local habits – and above all change it regularely in your external windows to stay innteresting.
Stock Management – Ensure an efficient watches selection appealing to local habits
- Target follow up and communication:
Monthly shares and next months target announced in monthly meetings
- One to One:
Review individual CRM-actions
Individual action plans building and target fixinng
- Capture customer information systematically – especially from prospects
- Send a personal thank you to any visitor after his visit in using the sustomer’s most preferred communication channel
- Call a customer after one month or so and check on his satisfaction with your product
- according on the product – send your customer an anniversary card after one year of the purchase
- Send handwritten birthday cards (and do not forget his spouse and children, if appliccable)
- Send a warranty expiration card, to make him come back and check on the functionality of his product (if finance departement allows you to do so)
- Send a reminder for proposed product services to him
- Contact your customers and prospects for new launches
- Provide your visitors with your business card after the visit
- Reactivate sleepers in your database (after two years without interaction normally the data is useless)
- Use the local customer service database, if you have one
- Make your clients your advocats and use their networks
- Develop your network locally – partnership with clubs and other local luxury actors
- Brainstorm with your team on how to increase your impact
- identify best practices of your competition and other industries (hospitality, fashion, watch, car, …)