Imagine that your local grocery store just implemented some new policies. Here they are:
- We don't want just anyone coming into our store so we are going to make all of our customers get a photo ID and we are going to check it at the door on the way in. Oh yea, and we are going to charge them $50+/year for it.
- We are no longer going to be stocking every item. We are just going to stock whatever we want and can get a good deal on. People will have to come in and see what we have.
- We have too many payment options. We are only going to accept American Express, our own credit card of course, and a PIN based debit card. No Visa, Mastercard or Discover card.
- We are no longer going to give bags to our customers, in fact, we are not even going to have bags at all. We'll just use old boxes stuff came in, if we run out too bad we'll just put the groceries in their cart. Oh and we are not going to help anyone to their car, they can do it themselves.
- We are concerned that even though we have IDs of our customers, we think they are ripping us off. So we will frisk them on the way out of the store and make sure things in their cart are on their receipt.
What do you think would happen to your local grocery store if they implemented these?
It is amazing that those policies loosely describe a very successful company that has very loyal customers, Costco.
Why does this work? Why do people do it? Is it the allure of being part of a club? Is it that it is an adventure to find out what is there and then be able to tell others about it? Is it that people like to tell others how much they saved? When I talk to people about Costco they often bring up the great food on the way out, the low gas prices, and the deal they recently found. They also always say they are saving money. A quick google search will reveal the arguable nature of that. But whether they save or not is not the point. They believe they are. Costco does that right.
I think they might qualify as one of Seth's "purple cows". They always have "deals", if you want something for less, look at costco. They don't pretend to be anything more and their customers like it that way. They know what their customers like and they give it to them. Not all people will like how they do it, but those are not the people they are after. The store is remarkable to its customers and they are always "remarking" to their friends about the deals they found. Those comments bring in other like minded folks and their business prospers.
Who are your loyal customers? What do they really like about your company and are willing to talk about? Are you trying to be all things to all people and end up not being remarkable? Discover what makes you remarkable and makes your customers talkative. It will lead to ideas on how to grow your company with a happy talkative customer base.