Why Shopping Local Matters
“I think for us, everything is about buying local,” says Greg Hill President of Brothers Floor Covering, a family-owned and operated business in Indianapolis. “Anyone can go to a big box store. Buying local is the whole key, trying to support people just like us,” he adds.
For over 50 years, Brothers has been an integral part of the Indianapolis community. As large chain stores have changed the retail landscape, companies like Brothers have had to focus on what makes them both different and better.
What’s Greg’s frontline strategy?
“Deliver a personal touch,” he says. “It’s a big deal when someone selects you because you realize how many choices they have.” He follows up Brothers personalized service with a unique and wonderful Thank You gift—a colorful Only Indiana box filled with local delicacies and stories about the artisans who create them. Even more compelling is information on the various community programs and projects that each of those businesses support.
With the delivery of a gift like that, it’s no surprise that Greg is a huge word-of-mouth proponent. “I think it goes a lot further than we think it goes.” He adds, “I know some of the customers I talk to don’t write reviews, but they’ll tell me that they’ve given our name to two people.” After all it is good reviews, plentiful referrals and repeat business that help family-owned companies like Brothers going for generations.
“I feel really good when I fill out a little form and send it over to Deb at Only Indiana,” says Greg of his passion for using local companies. “It means a lot when someone selects you and I like the fact that we’re trying to help other small businesses in the same boat as us.”
The Most Unexpected Act
As someone who has owned a home in Indy since 1978, Pam Lemons knows a thing or two about working with contractors. She’s done plenty of remodeling and, by her estimate, spent tons of money. So, she thought she knew the routine.
She’d decide to purchase goods and installation services from a local flooring company, and they’d show up and do a decent job (she hoped) and then she’d pay the bill—simple and straightforward.
But Brothers Floor Covering didn’t behave as expected. Of course, they did turn up with her order and did a great job installing it, but a few days later Pam had a package delivered and that’s when it all went sideways.
“When this box came, I was completely bewildered,” says Pam. “What? They are thanking me. For using them?” She couldn’t believe her good luck. But then, it got even better when she opened the “incredible” Only Indiana box. “It was two gifts in one,” Pam explains. The Only Indiana box included premium products that were accompanied by cards about each artisan and the organizations they support. “It is absolutely the perfect gift,” says Pam. “Locally sourced and it keeps giving.”
“It felt so good! I called Brother’s,” says Pam. She’d never even gotten a thank you card from any previous contractor, let alone a beautiful gift box. “I like everything about it—the presentation, the home-grown products, the local programs and the fact that Only Indiana is a woman owned business.” She loves knowing that her Brothers flooring purchase helps support other Indiana businesses and that, in turn, those Indiana businesses support causes that she cares about. “When you support Brothers, you support the community.”
“I told all my friends that this happened. It’s the most unexpected act of kindness.” Pam adds, “I felt like this was selected for me, it felt personal. I thought better of Brothers because of this gift.”
Every business strives for customer loyalty, after all, it’s far easier to retain existing customers than it is to continuously acquire new customers. But customers today don’t have to be loyal. Across niche markets there are more choices than ever for consumers to select. Additionally, thanks to digital and social media, consumers also have more access to brands and brand information than ever before. Because consumers have an abundance of choice, they no longer feel the need to retain brand loyalty. However, they will continue to engage with those companies that go out of their way to support and show their appreciation for their service. I know I do, don’t you?
It’s true that more services and products are being purchased today without the help of human interaction. Thanks to technology, customers can simply search for a desired service, select a business, and make a purchase all without ever interacting with a human. In many ways, this accessibility greatly removes employee costs of today’s companies. On the flip side, it also means that companies are missing out on opportunities to put your touch on your brand. The more that consumers buy products and services in a silo – without communication or connection – the less in touch they feel with the brand. At that point, the brand essentially becomes a machine and doesn’t develop emotional resonance with customers. So, how can brands avoid this fate? By emphasizing your story, your connection to the community, your connection to your customer. What a great way to forge longer lasting emotional connections. Any guess what? Once customer develops a connection with YOU, they are far more likely to stay with you and refer You to their friends and family. Now they know, like and trust you. What can be better? Hmmm, perhaps a special thank you gift after their purchase? This is entire basis of Only Indiana. We are here to support your efforts to create a raving fan base.
Though the strategies may differ, there are several common goals of a B2C referral marketing programs. Businesses need to increase customer numbers and spend and increase customer lifetime value. This can be challenging in B2C because the market is not only competitive but niche as well. You need to build brand advocacy and basically create a community of ambassadors. We live in an economy so deeply entrenched by discounting that retailers and B2C companies alike have the challenge of keeping customers who migrating away to lower priced or the next shiny object.
Every loyalty solution has its challenges but B2C requires another level of personalization. Companies like yours have opted for Only Indiana not only because we have a unified marketing platform with customer loyalty and referral marketing capability, but also because we work with businesses to create a custom implementation strategy.
Only Indiana also helps companies nurture their relationships with existing customers through personalized gifts, which in turn increases customer referrals and the average customer lifetime value. These gifts inspire customers to become brand advocates where they’re more likely to take actions like referring a friend or submitting a Google. It’s about following the customer journey from beginning to end and building a true community around your brand.
Client A: Home Flooring
Our client, a leading Indiana flooring company, built a very successful model around selling home flooring to home owners in Indiana. They wanted to implement a customer referral program that would bring in new customers and build a community of brand advocates.
They had so many questions about best practices for referral programs. How do we best incentive our customers to give us a referral? How do we grow our customer base while creating meaningful relationships with our existing customer base? They chose Only Indiana for our experience in creating very personalized incentives specific to the B2C industry.
Soon after launch, we saw major wins for the program. By designing a solution specific to our client’s B2C sales goals, we positioned them as a leader in referral marketing. Since initiating this campaign, we have already signed up over 20 new clients. We also saw a 9% increase in repeat purchase rate and a 15% increase in customer lifetime value. However, probably the largest takeaway from the program has been building a community of our brand advocates. By building a custom solution with Only Indiana and by leveraging our unique gifts, our client is seeing a huge increase in partnering new customers and overall brand awareness.
We work hard to make sure every one of our programs meets the requirements you need to be successful in referral marketing. That's our number one goal - We are here because of YOU!