How to Create the Treasure Hunt Experience That Keeps Your Customers Coming Back: Lessons Small Businesses Can Learn From Major Off-Price Retailers
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by Fiza Khan
Once upon a time, the word “treasure” meant something special. Today, in this age of digital discovery, what is special is not so much the treasure as the hunt to find it. Major off-price retailers have rediscovered the value of this type of experience and made it part of their DNA. How can your small business create that same experience with your products? Any business can create a treasure hunt experience for its customers — even an online store — if they are willing to think outside the box. What follows are some of the strategies major off-price retailers use to create a sense of adventure and discovery with their customers and how you can do it for your small business.
Live and breathe your brand
Your brand is the promise you make to your customers. It is what makes you different from all your competitors. Every decision from the product mix to the packaging and logo is part of building your brand. Your treasure hunt experience has to be consistent with your brand promise. The treasure hunt should fit in with your overall product mix, including your price point, assortment, and packaging. It should be exciting to your customers, but it should also fit with your brand promise. You should also be consistent in how you introduce the hunt to your customers and make sure you are following through on the various pieces of your brand promise. Your customers are looking for consistency. If they work with your brand long enough, they will come to expect it. Consistency builds trust.
Build a sense of exclusivity with limited-time offers
There are several ways you can make your treasure hunt feel exclusive for your customers. One of the ways major off-price retailers do this is with limited-time offers that use a countdown clock. When the clock is ticking, your customers know they have to act fast to buy the item. It adds a sense of urgency to the buying experience that can pay big dividends for your business. Another way you can do this is by creating a sense of mystery. For example, you can offer a product that is a mystery to your customers. You can tell them that you will share details about the product soon, but you can’t share the details yet. You can also build a sense of urgency by offering a limited quantity of a product. The goal is to have the product turn quickly.
Frequent discounts and sneak peaks
Major off-price retailers use discounts and quick auctions to build excitement around their products. They also occasionally show their customers the product before it goes on sale so they can create a sense of curiosity and get customers talking about their new offerings. You can do the same thing with your products. Create a schedule for your customers that includes discounts, sneak peeks at new products, and special events. Also, make sure you are consistent about how often you do this. For example, if you decide to offer sneak peeks every Tuesday, make sure you follow through and keep your promise to your customers.
Hook your customers with a reward for finding the treasure
The high-end off-price retailers give their customers a sense of accomplishment and a reward when they find the treasure. For example, they might send them a letter congratulating them on a successful hunt and include a discount on their next purchase. They might also include special coupons that are only redeemable by someone who found the treasure. One way you can do the same thing is by giving your customers a badge or some sort of reward, such as a free product or service. This will give your customers an additional reason to come back to your small business.
Make use of OFFPRICE's creative strategy for buying
OFFPRICE facilitates the retailers whose business model is based on buying bulk quantities from major retailers and reselling them at a discount. This strategy works well for major off-price retailers because it enables them to buy products when they are at their cheapest and store them in their own warehouses. It also means they can offer their customers lower prices, higher quantities, and a broader assortment than their competitors. You can do the same thing for your small business by working with suppliers of larger quantities. It is also a good idea to store some of your smaller quantities of products in a warehouse so you can meet your customers’ needs. This will enable you to offer your customers a broader assortment and lower prices.
The off-price treasure hunt has been around for years but has seen a resurgence in recent times. It’s the perfect experience for customers who are looking for a bargain, but don’t want to settle for second-best. Small businesses are well-placed to tap into this treasure hunt experience. The challenges they face include a relatively low profit margin and a need to keep their marketing costs low. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to make this work for small businesses. The key is to think creatively and outside the box.