This caught my attention while at a Trader Joe’s store in Baltimore. I love how they incorporate the brand’s personality in every aspect of the shopping experience. It’s certainly not a coincidence that they have the the highest customer loyalty rating. Turning something ordinary into exciting definitely works for me, and obviously their customers.
I purchased a new leash for my dog a few weeks back after finding the best price online. When the package arrived, I then understood why their prices were so good. Encased in a soft package that looked pretty beat up and protected only by two pieces of cardboard, I was inclined to write a post about the mediocre appearance. However, I got a good price for the leash so it didn’t really matter how it was presented. At least that’s what I thought.
When the leash broke, and I needed to exchange for a new one, is when the problems really started. The sheet that accompanied the package didn’t mention one thing about returns (it did happen to mention how great their service is and to recommend their store) and when I called them to discuss the problem I had to ask a list of questions about how I should return it, who I should direct it to, etc.
Upon receiving the leash, I received an email from them confused about the returned item, most notably that I sent them a medium-sized leash when in fact I ordered a large one (they actually questioned whether I sent a different leash when they were at fault for sending the wrong size). Instead of exchanging for another leash and risk another problem, I asked for my money back.
What could they have done differently?
Get inspiration from how the great online retailers communicate with their customers. From personal experience, MR PORTER and Amazon are two of the very best:
MR PORTER: Adopting clear step-by-step return instructions, much like luxury online retailer MR PORTER incorporates, would make things a lot less frustrating for customers. The entire process with MR PORTER was straightforward, almost like they encourage returns. While they may pay more for their carefully designed and thought out return cards, I fully trust the brand and know they will take care of me in the future.
Amazon: Have a look at the slip from my Amazon order. It is full of important and helpful information that made me feel comfortable and confident buying from this online mega-retailer. This smallish piece of paper includes everything from returns, feedback on packaging (would have been helpful for my leash order) and to remind me of more items being shipped.
What’s the point of keeping costs low in order to be competitive if it jeopardizes future business with your customers? With lesser-known businesses popping up online in the thousands everyday, it’s more important now than ever to be synonymous with trust. Implementing a great return policy and engaging conversation with your customers will go a long way in building that trust.
Fast Company Design just wrote about Starbucks’ new concept store in Amsterdam and how embracing the local Dutch culture through the design of the store will help “reinvent the brand.” There are very few corporations that are as obsessed with delighting their customers as Starbucks is. But my most recent trip to Manhattan convinced me that Nike is definitely one of those few.
I stumbled upon Nike’s Bowery Stadium, a multi-purpose cultural space dedicated to all things sport. Besides selling Nike merchandise, they put on everything from workshops and lecture series to art exhibitions and live musical performances, all dedicated to a specific theme. Check out last year’s creation of “The Wave,” which celebrated the surf/skate culture, with an emphasis on the east coast community.
When Bowery Stadium finishes a theme, they move on to a new shrine for another sport subculture. And it’s not limited to only American subcultures, with “stadiums” located in Tokyo, Paris, London, Berlin, and Milan.
Instead of worrying about creating the next big viral marketing campaign, companies need to make sure they are being authentic and embracing the culture of their customers, first. That’s the natural way to spread word-of-mouth.
One thing that I really enjoy seeing is a company that over-delivers. Whether it is from a product or service, it demonstrates how valuable their customers are to their business. So when I witness a company doing just the opposite, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that I’m not at all thrilled. A great example that I saw recently was a promotion by Metlink, Melbourne’s public transport system, for their mobile website.
As you can see from the snapshot on my phone, their website is clearly not optimized for the mobile user, as it lacks a simple and easy-to-use layout for people on the go. In fact, it appears to be identical to the standard browser version found on your computer (Not really fair to consider it mobile when the site isn’t even designed to be viewed on a mobile device).
I don’t know what is worse, Metlink promoting a website they know is inadequate or not actually understanding what a mobile site means these days. Regardless, their customers are left disappointed. And if anyone needs a website that is truly mobile-friendly, it would be Metlink’s customers who are in fact mobile themselves.
I apologize for the long delay since my last post, but I recently got married and spent some time traveling with my beautiful wife! I have quite a bit to share, including some of my experiences being on the customer side of a wedding. I hope you enjoy my posts for 2012…Yeah I know, I’m a little late on that one as well!
With social media evolving so rapidly, it’s essential for today’s brands to build a real sense of trust with their customers/followers/friends/etc.
One brand that’s really standing out right is Everlane, a new and exciting online retailer based out of San Francisco. They have built their brand around producing designer-quality clothing and accessories at the most affordable prices. While many brands tell their “quality for less” stories, Everlane shows it. The diagram above illustrates the prices associated with making a designer tee. Everlane doesn’t do mark-ups.
By being transparent and explaining exactly how they afford to offer every item for under $100, Everlane builds trust with their customers from the very start of their relationship. If that’s not a blueprint for brand loyalty, then I don’t know what is.
By drastically changing the store lay-out of over 400 locations across the United States, T-Mobile is hoping to create a more exciting and and efficient experience for their customers.
During a time when companies are intensely focused on providing online and mobile experiences, I have to give credit to T-Mobile for still remembering the importance that a physical location can bring to businesses (Have you seen an empty Apple store…I mean ever?).
While it won’t immediately equate to new customers, current T-Mobile customers will certainly have a more enjoyable relationship which can only lead to more advocates of the brand. Hey, your friend that’s w/ T-Mobile may just convince you to switch… (or at least visit the store with them).
How do you think the new design will impact the T-Mobile brand? Will it push them closer to Verizon and AT&T?
I saw this vending machine while walking into a shopping center last weekend. What a great take on the otherwise generic vending machine. Innovation surrounds us every day. It’s just our choice to think a little bigger and push ourselves.
Have you seen any great designs recently? And don’t tell me it’s a lemonade vending machine!