Took advantage of the beautiful weather this weekend and wandered uptown for a coffee, passing an old favorite shop.
A decade ago it was one of my must stop destinations before Mother’s Day or an upcoming birthday. The owner had an eye for the affordable unusual.
Through the window the shop looked familiar, still an eclectic mix. But off. Almost interesting, but not quite. Hard to explain. Leave it to say, I had no interest in going in. Haven’t been interested for quite a while.
I was no longer a customer. Why?
The new owners have done a fine job of maintaining the mix. But maintaining is the key word here. I never went into the shop because I expected to find ‘country’ or ‘humor’ or ‘handmade.’ I went into the shop to be entertained and to pass that entertainment on to my friends. While the old owner’s taste was always familiar, things changed in ways beyond simple design changes or style.
The new owner didn’t know what the old owner had been selling me.
Do you know what your customers are actually buying from you? Answering the question can be difficult in part because often your customers have no idea what the real reasons are for making their purchasing decisions. The words they use to justify a purchase sometimes match the motivation, but just as often asking can force them to string together words that try to make logical sense of an emotional step. (One of many reasons focus groups are such treacherous waters for a decision maker to swim in.) If you blindly follow what your customers tell you, then you will never take your business anywhere new. And you customers will find themselves someplace else. Not always knowing exactly why.