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Archive for the ‘loyalty’ Category

By Jeff Pett, Fleetwood Group

We are beginning to do the last-minute, mad-dash preparations for this year’s NSSEA School Equipment Show in Phoenix.  The planning for this event actually began for us the month after last year’s show.  We met with our whole sales team and talked through the 2009 show in terms of what we thought went well, what products showed well, and what we thought we should do differently the following year.

At that time we decided to commit to the same amount of floor space as we have for the past several years, and made some early decisions as to what we might want to show again in 2010 and what kinds of new products we might want to highlight.  Then we set that whole planning process aside for a few months.

In midsummer, we pulled out those early plans, dusted them off and started laying out our prospective booth and placing furniture in it.  In early September, I thought we were solid with the furniture we would show.  Then, when our sales team met later in September, we made some changes to show some new and different products.  The plan actually changed quite a bit!

The result is that this year, in addition to showing some old standby products that will have a “freshened” look, we will be showing several products we have never shown before.  We will even show a product category that we have been building for a few schools that people would not normally associate with Fleetwood Group furniture.

And that is part of the fun of this show!  Since over 30 percent of what we build each year falls into the category of “specials”, we are always creating ways to meet unique needs of our customers, so we always have something new to show.  All the manufacturers will be doing the same kinds of things, trying to show what they are capable of, and what kinds of creative solutions they have brought to market or are about to.  And, of course, relationships are renewed with old industry friends, and new ones are forged… a dynamic that is more important in this business than in any other I have been a part of.

Rumor has it that a number of manufacturers are sitting out the show this year, and many dealers are attending with fewer of their team members.  We are hopeful that people will rally around this show and make it a worthwhile event for all.  The event needs a certain critical mass to be viable, and even in tough times an event like this one is a kind of crossroads where commerce is centered, and being there is important in and of itself.  Like so many other things in life, this show is probably a “use it or lose it” event.  Let’s support it!

See you in Phoenix!

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BusinessWeek’s November 10, 2009 tip for the day focused on staying committed to being loyal to the “customer experience.” “Be Loyal to the ‘Customer Experience’” by Stuart Kiefer suggests that small businesses create solid competitive advantages by improving the customer experience and not just focusing on streamlining and improving efficiencies.

The article also mentions that small business owners feel that they are unable to compete with their larger competitors and so, Kiefer suggests implementing loyal solutions. Implementing loyal solutions can help you track customer information such as: where and how customers are spending their money and implementing loyal solutions is a great marketing tactic for small business owners.

The article also gives small business owners some suggestions on how to implement and enhance loyalty programs through real life applications and strategies. These include:

1)Rewarding loyal customers with instant discounts at the point of sale.
2)Tracking the spending behavior of your customers to ensure you always have what they need when they need it.
3)Offering a wide range of promotions with the right mix.
4)Communicating with customers via relevant messages, using the communication vehicles they want.
5)Providing an additional way to communicate with customers by creating a reward program site filled with special coupons, frequency discounts, and more.

Read the article, “Be Loyal to the ‘Customer Experience”’and let NSSEA know your thoughts!

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