Customers are curious. They like to know what’s going on behind the scenes and they don’t want to feel nosy for asking. To grow sales, beat them to the punch. Make your business as visible as possible, you might be surprised by the increase in your annual sales. Learn how this strategy worked wonders for these 3 businesses!
For years, bakeries have created space for icers to show off their frosting prowess in front of customers in hopes of selling more cakes. But you don’t have to be in the food business to amp up the interactivity with prospective buyers.
Here are three different businesses that can attest to the benefits of letting customers watch their employees work:
Auto-repair shops have traditionally been among the biggest targets for customer complaints. But one Scottsdale, Ariz.-based company believes it has solved the problem of consumer trust. Honest-1 Auto Care, a chain of 26 auto-repair and maintenance shops, lets customers watch through a lobby window as their cars are being repaired.
“Many people like the knowledge that it’s an option for them to watch their cars being worked on. Most customers will periodically stand at the window,” says Jack Keilt, president and CEO. “With our name being Honest-1 Auto Care and the normal perception-mistrust of the automotive repair business, we wanted to create a way to build trust with our customers.”
This “honest approach” results in customers referring Honest-1 to friends and family, Keilt says, as well as a lot of repeat business. Honest-1 estimates that about two-thirds of customers come back for future repairs.
RVP 1875, a furniture shop in Jefferson, Iowa, puts on quite a show for customers. Employees dress in clothing circa 1875 and build furniture using only 19th century tools and techniques. “Having people watch the process is a giant part of our draw,” says Robby Pedersen, a furniture maker and owner of RVP 1875. “We double as a working museum, and I find that a typical customer is far more likely to order a piece after I demonstrate some tools and techniques of the trade. Our customers tell their friends and family about what they’ve seen and heard at our store and an order may come from that.”
He estimates that 75 percent of buyers have watched him work before deciding to buy. In addition, RVP 1875 offers classes and apprenticeships in furniture making, as well as a general store where other artisans, such as tinsmiths, soap makers and stained-glass artists, perform their trade and sell their wares.
Many shops let customers get involved in framing a favorite photo or print. But the team at CanvasPop, a 6,000-square-foot art factory in Las Vegas, Nev., takes this concept one step further. Customers can watch their favorite photos go from printing on canvas to framing. “This is a way for us to show people our approach to handcrafting high-quality canvas prints,” says Adrian Salamunovic, co-founder. “Our employees take great pride in their work. Having customers visit our art factory allows our employees to see our customers as real people – it’s amazing for morale.” Workers sign the back of each canvas with a sticker that says, “Lovingly Framed By ________.”
“This touch really makes our products and the experience even more human,” Salamunovic says. Another plus: Inviting in customers enables CanvasPop to get feedback. “We use this time together to ask customers questions about their product preferences,” Salamunovic says. About 200 customers visit the factory each year, but the majority of orders are made online.
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