information about the customer
who shops with you
can expect that when a new chain store is putting one of his stores
in your area, it has have hired a company to perform a demographic
study on the neighborhood. The study can be quite complex as well
as expensive. With the data they have purchased, your competition will learn about the customers in the area: How
many residents are there? How many live in each house? How much
do they earn? What do they do for a living? How long have they lived
in the neighborhood?
list can go on and on. Of course, the information is useful only
if they have also determined what type of customer shops in their
store. With this information, the competition can determine if there
are enough available dollars in your neighborhood for them to have
a profitable business. In the case of your business, however, you
are already there and have been for many years. In all likelihood,
you are not going to engage some company to go out and gather this
information for you. But if you know more about your customers,
you can make more money. Let's look at how to do this.
by creating a pin map that you will display near the checkout of
your store. The pin map starts with your using a street map of your
community; make sure it covers an area large enough to include the
homes of all your customers. The map is mounted on a cork board on
a tripod with a large red dot positioned to denote the location
of your store. You will also need to buy several boxes of the pins
that have different colored plastic tops.
customers are leaving your business, the employee having the last
contact with them asks the customers to use the pins to mark where
they live. As you have different colors of pins, give the customer
who has made no purchase a pin with a white head; to the customer
whose purchase is less than $25, give a pin with another color.
To the customer making a purchase in the range of $25 to $100, give
a pin with a third color, and purchases in excess of $100 a fourth
several days, you will probably see a pattern. The pins will be
segregated somewhat by color. This will be your indicator of where
your most valuable customers live. In gathering this information
you may want to do the survey to see how the weekday shoppers differ
from the weekend shoppers. You could also do the survey before you
advertise, and then again after your advertisement has reached the
have retailers found from this information? One auto parts store
found out there were a lot of older cars in his area and that he
needed to stock more accessories for these vehicles. A retailer
who had been utilizing a direct-mail piece for his advertising,
found a heavy concentration of customers along the outer border
of his direct-mail distribution area. When he purchased more flyers
to extend the boundary, he found a market area from which he could
easily pull customers.
For the business that uses broadcast and print advertising, you
can ask what newspapers customers read, or what radio or television
stations they listen to and watch. Imagine the possible uses of
this pin map study technique! Almost anything you want to know about
a customer, you can ask and get the answer just by handing out pins
and asking customers to tell you where they live.
for the people walking in the front door of your business, they
are telling you they like and have a need for your goods and services.
Your efforts and success in understanding this smaller, but potentially
loyal, group of shoppers is the key to your success. Your question
at this point is to ask, "Where do you live?" And, "Are
there more like you in your neighborhood?"
cost for this research is minimal. After you have gone shopping
for the few supplies you need, the only involvement you have with
this research is deciding what you want to know, how to word the
question, and then documenting the information. The customer and
your employee at the front of the store will do the rest of the
work. Armed with this information, you are capitalizing on your
demographic studies and using the knowledge to enjoy the benefits
(and profits) of your efforts.