I think it’s always interesting to share personal anecdotes to illustrate key loyalty messages we believe in.
That is my prelude to a specific example of experiential loyalty benefits I encountered in early May.
Making an emotional connection through an experiential benefit can make all the difference in the world when it comes to gaining brand loyalty.
Who Knew Furniture Shopping Could Be So Fun?
I was standing in a long line to get tickets for my family to go into a massive indoor ropes course. I was surrounded by kids who were looking up in awe at the size of the course.
Outside the line parents sat with their children and ate ice cream or, perhaps, a slice of fresh made-to-order pizza while watching their kids zoom back and forth on zip lines.
There were birthday parties. Older kids. Younger kids. And plenty of adults on the course as well.
Thinking back, this was our third or fourth trip to this particular ropes course. It wasn’t particularly close to where we live – maybe an hour away. But it was totally worth it because outside it was pouring rain and inside was full of lights, music, and fun. My kids couldn’t wait to get their tickets and start climbing – they’d spend an hour plus on the course – easy.
All I could think about was what a great way to spend an afternoon. The amazing part, however, was that this particular afternoon was spent in a furniture store.
Why it was an Easy Decision
Jordan’s Furniture is a regional furniture store in the northeast part of the country. If you live in Massachusetts or Connecticut, you’ve surely seen its ads.
A couple of years ago Jordan’s Furniture opened a new location in New Haven, CT. That included the largest indoor ropes course in the world.
The three to four times we’ve visited before was always for fun – climbing, pizza, and ice cream – not for business.
This trip, however, was different.
We’d finally worn out our two couches in the living room and it was time for an upgrade. The first option was to walk around a large drab furniture store with our two kids while some salesperson shadowed us.
Our second option was to go to Jordan’s, and shop for some furniture while the kids played on an amazing ropes course.
This was an easy decision.
Making the Buying Process Your Product
Keeping your customers at the center of everything you do is absolutely critical today.
We talk a lot about premium loyalty and building deeper relationships with your customers. In a world where your competition is a click away and competing on price is difficult, it’s the relationships you build with your target market that matter most.
Investing in these types of customer relationships translates to something that is trackable, like us buying new furniture. It also leads to harder-to-quantify metrics like how often I’ve told this story to people in the office, who have kids and who need new furniture.
Jordan’s made the decision to think bigger about its “product.”
Yes, Jordan’s primary product is furniture, but the company decided to make the furniture buying process its product. While everyone else is competing on price and quality, they’re offering a premium experience to entice consumers.
Product Awareness is Easier Than Before
Elon Musk recently said, “Tesla does not advertise or pay for endorsements. Instead, we use that money to make the product great.”
Given the shear amount of marketing options available, we’re moving to a time where product awareness is a lot easier than ever before. What that means is that you must offer a compelling product.
Tesla makes a great car, but it has also improved the entire car buying process.
So, as you think about growing your business, the lesson is clear.
Product first. And by product I’m not just talking about the basics.
Ropes course or no ropes course, Jordan’s must have nice furniture that’s priced competitively, but that’s just table stakes. If you want to stay relevant and grow your market share, you need to have a more creative definition of “product.”
Change the Dynamics Around Customer Loyalty
I have someone on our team that says: “Do the right things right.”
Attractive and memorable experiential benefits lead to emotional bonds that create sustainable customer loyalty.
Change your dynamics around customer loyalty so that the product is seamlessly integrated into an indelible experience.
The right thing may not be obvious (a ropes course in a furniture store?) and it’s certainly probably not the easiest, but it’s the right place to start.
So now that the new furniture is here, my kids are already asking, “Dad, when can we go furniture shopping again?”