If you’ve spent any time with the SMCo Thrift team, you know we spend a great deal of time focusing on donors. We do so because donations are the lifeline to a thrift organization. We have to make sure we have products available to sell first. However, our first thought on the donor doesn’t mean we disregard our amazing customers. It means we engage those customers a little bit differently.
Most retail stores are trying to “sell” you the latest trend or offer you the best discount. For thrift shoppers, we would argue that engaging a customer is focused on brand awareness and story telling. We focus on what is going to make them enjoy the “treasure hunting” experience and making sure they are being engaged in a larger story.
We have tested loyalty programs and discount programs that are typical “customer” engagement. Those programs are focused on delivering increased value by lowering prices. The value part of the process already exists in thrift because a name brand item can be purchased at a greatly reduced amount. As such, these programs don’t typically have the same effect for your thrift operation.
So, how do we practically engage our customers in a thrift operation?
- How do we show our appreciation?
- How do we show each customer they are getting a good value?
- What does the cleanliness of our store convey?
- Do we see our customers come back?
All of these are questions should be considered as you develop your customer engagement strategy. Challenge your paradigm on what engagement is to you.
Here are a few simple, strategic questions we asked ourselves, and we encourage you to do the same.
- What does customer engagement mean to you?
- What strategies do you have in place to engage the customer more fully?
- What is the desired result?
- How do you measure engagement?
- How might you modify your strategy if the desired result is not achieved ?
Not only do our teams need to know what’s expected, they need to know why its expected. Regardless of what cause your store supports, you are either enhancing or taking away from your organization’s brand. It is our hope that these questions lead to you and your team being the brightest beacon for your organization’s brand in your community.