Two weekends ago, I enjoyed retail therapy like I have not enjoyed it in a long time. I was like a child in a toy shop. I told my children “this is the way we shop when we go on vacation”. You know how Nigerians like to shop when they travel to “rest”. Shop till you drop! Laden with shopping bags, we went to the Café next door for some rest, relaxation and much needed refreshment.
By now, I am sure some of you must have guessed that I am talking about the GTBank Fashion Weekend. Not sure I have enjoyed shopping comfortably with as much buzz as I did that weekend. My daughters kept on saying with excitement “Mom, we are really enjoying ourselves.”
What I also found remarkable, was the affordability of the items as well as getting to see Nigerians becoming more entrepreneurial and putting their talent and skills to work for them. The event was well attended and was clearly a “what to do in Lagos” this weekend event.
Feedback from the marketers was positive. My understanding was that that the exhibition booths were given free of charge. The only condition stipulated was that they open an account with the bank. Yet to verify this information. In one of the booths I shopped in, “Femi Handbags”, selling authentic Nigerian couture bags ranking with the best globally. The POS did not work, but GTBank staff were on hand to aid the payment. While I agree this was in their own interest, it made my shopping experience positive and ensured the seller made a sale and I got my retail gratification.
I will say the Fashion Weekend was successful and a number of objectives were achieved from organising the event. The bank succeeded in introducing the brand to target customers, providing positive customer experience and projecting the brand on many platforms. The pre-event blitz was effective. However, the online registration did not work as well as it should have. I registered and indicated an interest to attend two events.
Was told I would get an email which I never got. This needs to be improved on. A brand must always keep its promise or it suffers the consequence of losing TRUST. Next time, I may not bother to register online because my trust has been compromised.
Despite this glitch, I am likely to return, because overall, the benefits outweighed the negatives.
The question is “why will I return”? The answer is simple, it was well organised and presented, and won my “LOYALTY” for the event. The branding of the customer touch points resonated with my value system. It is no secret that brand loyalty in many instances is fading and sometimes non-existent for events of this nature due to poor logistics and presentation. Customers are looking for how to get the best value for their time and money at an affordable price. My hope is if repeated, my expectations on affordability and value will be met.
In view of the above, in today’s recession ridden Nigeria, what can organisations do to make customers “sticky” – follow through on intended purchasing and buy the product or service repeatedly? How can Nigerian businesses engender trust and ensure consistent positive customer experience to drive loyalty? As we know, loyalty means customers hanging in there, whether good or bad because organisations have been good to them in the past. Loyalty means not seeking out competition or when approached by competition not being interested.
Most importantly, how do we get our customers to start exhibiting the following attributes:
•Always recommending our products and services
• Continuing to buy from us, increasing their spend or maintaining the same level
• Purchasing other products we offer
• Believing in the superiority of our products compared to others in the same category
• Not seeking alternatives to what we offer in order to replace us
• Giving us an opportunity to make amends when mistakes are made and not using it as a basis to switch
Colin Shaw and Ryan Hamilton defined customer experience to be the consistent positive emotional experience, physical attributed-based satisfaction and perceived value of an experience which include the products or services. Based on my experience, you will agree that the Fashion Weekend hit the right spots for me and I had a positive time interacting with the brand and will like a repeat of the experience.
Every organisation must strive to achieve the above attributes, by ensuring positive interactions with their brand to keep customers loyal and satisfied because it is cheaper to sell to current customers than to attract new ones. Satisfied customers will spread the gospel and help attract new ones. This is critical to our businesses because it pays financially to have a loyal base of customers proclaiming our virtues and championing our cause.
– Marie-Therese Phido is Sales & Market Strategist and Business Coach
This article was originally posted on Thisday Newspaper