The largest giants of the internet age – Apple, Facebook, Amazon, and Google – have grown at a rate the world has not seen before. Considering these companies are so huge, you may not realize that they once started small and had many failures in the beginning. Here are some lessons small to medium-sized businesses can learn from the giants.
1) Embrace Failure
Eventually, every business is going to fail at something. If it doesn’t, it usually means the business isn’t taking risks. Focus on what your business has done the best at. When something fails, ask your team: 1) what worked effectively?; 2) what have we learned?; and 3) what can we change? Google has a huge graveyard of product failures, such as Google Notebook, Google Wave, and Jaiku. And they turned these failures in
to lessons – and used it to get to where they are now.
2) Employee Satisfaction
When it comes to where your business focus should be, you should always begin with your employees. Not the customer, you ask? Yes, of course also the customer – but the customer is happy if their interaction with your employees is a happy one – so start with your employees. Look at companies like Google, who have entire campuses built to ensure their employees are happy and thriving. This creates positive interactions with customers and endless innovation and creativity.
Most businesses operate under the belief that in order to corner the market and attract a loyal customer base, a website and social media accounts are pretty much mandatory. However, many retailers are now finding that this is simply not enough anymore.
What do we know?
Online business is booming! Business Insider reports “This holiday season indicated that there’s never been a better time to be a consumer. The rise of online and mobile shopping has given consumers more choice, flexibility, and often better service, and retailers are shifting their strategies to keep up.”
As more and more consumers are taking to their smartphones and tablets to shop, small retailers find themselves once again heeding the ever-changing call to keep up with their habits.
How does it affect me?
As customers visit your website on their mobile devices, challenges could arise involving the clarity and functionality of your site, even if it is responsive, making the shopping experience frustrating for the consumer. To alleviate these problems, the demand heightens for a more mobile friendly shopping experience.
Valentine’s Day isn’t just the time of year for flower shops or candy stores to cash in. Small retail shops can get hit by Cupid’s arrow this year too with these ideas to entice their customers. Let’s get right to it:
- Deck your store with hearts galore: Though the idea might seem silly, decorate your store with paper hearts, white lace, heart-toting teddy bears, flowers and anything else your creative mind comes up with. If you are in the spirit, it will persuade customers to get in the holiday spirit and, even if they don’t have a certain special someone to buy for, the might be incline to purchase something for a friend, child, or family member.
- Celebrate the whole month with coupon specials: Who says Valentine’s Day can only be celebrated on February 14th? Spread the love for the entire month of February by sending out coupons to your customers, one for each day/week of the month and each offering something special, such as BOGO or two for $20 deals. You can email them to your customers, go old-fashioned with snail mail, and/or have inserts at the cash register, giving them to customers personally as they leave your store. Each day in February can be a great day for your customers to shop at your store.
There’s a shift happening in the hearts and minds of shoppers across the country. Instead of finding new and improved things to buy, they’re seeking out new experiences to remember.
While retailers from Urban Outfitters to Macy’s and Bed, Bath and Beyond saw slumping Holiday sales after a tough 2015, 2015 was also the year that air travel saw record high sales coupled with record low ticket prices and the restaurant industry grew by 8%. Experiential shopping like dining out, vacations, pampering, and classes are all on the rise. And it’s not just because of millennials (although millennials are leading the charge, with 54% reporting they purchased experience-based gifts this holiday) – retailers who serve diverse age demographics are all reporting that the trend towards buying experiences is hurting their bottom line. And this trend is set to accelerate with the restaurant industry and travel industries set to increase by 27% by 2019.
So what are larger retailers doing to counteract this trend and what can small businesses learn from these retail giants?
There a few major retailers who have found ways to cater to experience seeking shoppers. Fitness and yoga apparel giant Lululemon has begun offering a concierge service that will help their shoppers book fitness classes and plan their ideal running routes. By encouraging the fitness habits of their shoppers, they’ll be driving up demand for their products as well as offering their shoppers an experience that they wouldn’t otherwise have access to.