Best Practices

Did I wake up in China?

Posted on March 31, 2011. Filed under: Best Practices, Local | Tags: |

I attended a benefit for a local charity earlier this week.  In a nutshell – the event was fabulous!  Supporters came out in droves, the desserts on display were creative and delicious, and I really enjoyed the entire evening.  There was a clear theme of supporting your community – especially as the organization handed out small grant awards to community projects that had submitted proposals.  It felt great to be part of this local area, and to be giving back.

Magic 8 Ball

Something look strange to you?

Therefore, it was really puzzling when I got home to open the “parting gift” I had received upon leaving.  It was a Magic 8 Ball of sorts – the kind you ask a question, then shake it up to get your “answer” from a variety of responses.  The responses included things like “Tell a Friend” and “Plant a Tree” and…”Buy Local.”

“Huh!  Cool!” was my immediate reaction as I went to open the box…then, I pulled out the “ball” which was some other shape altogether.  Yes, it did throw me off a little, because if I remember anything from preschool – it’s colors and shapes!

However, it was the protective bag that covered this item that threw me off the most – a plastic bag proudly announcing in block letters: MADE IN CHINA.

I think that we all (except the readers in China) can agree that China does not equal local.  Fine – the majority of our goods come from China and other locations.  However, I don’t agree with the sentiment that we can preach “Buy Local” without actually doing it.  The funniest thing about this whole thing is that the parting gift was sponsored by a local shop!

We all have to make an effort to buy local, to stay local – but those who benefit the most (small business owners) – forget this sometimes, too!  It has to be a team effort.  Support your neighboring businesses, especially if their customer base could potentially overlap yours.  The success of the shop down the street could ensure your success, too.

And most of all, as we work together to encourage our communities to buy local, remember what local means.  Unless I’m waking up in Xian, you can keep the Chinese goods.

Stay Local!

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Keeping it Simple

Posted on February 26, 2011. Filed under: Best Practices, Loyalty | Tags: , , |

Complexity is totally overrated.

I’ve been in more than my fair share of meetings.  I can’t count the number of times that I watched some poor colleague trying to explain the benefits of some antiquated, incredibly confusing and complex methodology or product.  The general response from the meeting group?  “KISS!”

No, that’s not an inappropriate response for a meeting – it stands for “Keep it Simple, Stupid.”  If you can’t explain it, who can understand it?

A blog post I saw recently made this point beautifully:

“Second, make sure it’s something easy to implement and explain. If it’s too complicated no one will use it because they won’t understand it. Moreover, you don’t want to create a plan that is costly.”

A loyalty program should sell for you, and allow consumers to earn rewards in the form of “an excuse to come back.”

But what if every store on your street had its own loyalty program?  How willing will a customer be to participate in yours?  Over-saturation can tire the consumer and, worst of all, confuse.

Keeping it simple is important for the consumer, but it’s also important for the small business owner.  A loyalty program should be:

*Simple during the checkout process
*Simple to explain
*Simple for the consumer to join
*Simple for the consumer to redeem rewards…making it a simple decision to come back!

If loyalty programs you are considering don’t pass the “KISS” test, keep looking, as we work towards releasing a simpler solution.

Stay local!

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Liked it here?
Why not try sites on the blogroll...