I attended my sister-in-law's wedding last Saturday out in sunny San Diego and have some random thoughts for retailers from my weekend trip.
Hide the Backroom
The lovely couple did all of their own planning for this backyard wedding including doing all the food themselves (with the help of their families). I was there to help out for the two days leading up to the wedding. Although chaos seemed to ensue, and there were a few hiccups along the way, by the time the bride strode down the aisle, everything was ready. The vast majority of the wedding guests never saw the chaos or mess. They all had a wonderful time and enjoyed a beautiful event.
More importantly, no one talked about the mess. We all just focused on making the event special for the wedding couple and guests. Your customers don't care what it took to make their trip to your store special, all they care about is that it was special.
Complete the Sale
We made numerous trips back and forth to the store. A good sales clerk eliminates those multiple trips by asking questions, finding out why you are buying what you are buying and making suggestions of items needed to complete the sale. If you are buying multiple carts full of soda, water and beer, even a minimum-wage clerk should be asking if you need ice.
Know Your Audience
The food, the entertainment, the location, even the service itself were planned not only for the wedding couple but also for what their guests would want. They purposefully chose to delight their guests by planning a wedding celebration that fit the desires of their friends and family.
Build your store experience around your customers' expectations more than your own and you will delight them more often than not.
Tell the Story
The bride and groom each wrote their own vows. When the groom started his vows by telling the story of their first date ending with the phrase, "I told [Jason] then, 'I am going to marry this girl,'" he had me hook, line and sinker.
Stories are more powerful than facts just as emotion is more powerful than logic. Speak to your customer's heart by telling stories that matter and you will make a deeper and more lasting impression.
PS There are lessons for retailers all around us. Keep your eyes open. The next great lesson or idea may come when you least expect it.