Be on trend and stay connected with customers
Within the Emirati community we know how many restaurants and cafes are just fads. People become so crazy about Cafe X one day and you have to wait in long queues to be served, only to find that place completely empty a year down the line. It’s a dilemma that many restaurant owners face, and an issue many clients seek my advice on.
Customers, especially millennials and Generation Z, are always on the lookout for new places and new experiences. Right now there’s a speciality coffee craze, and a couple of years before it was all about juicy burger joints. What will the next year hold? We will have to wait and see.
As an entrepreneur, and if your business isn’t a mere six-month pop-up, how do you ensure that your customers will stick around? How can you make sure that your business will not just be a passing fad? Things may be great now with customers flocking to your store and you can barely keep up with the orders. But can you ensure it stays that way?
To compete effectively, you may be urged to always reinvent yourself or start all over. But that shouldn’t be the only solution – and it’s surely not cost-efficient. You don’t need to introduce a whole new concept or rethink your business plans to stay current.
There are several ways to make profound changes that will renew your brand and keep your customers coming back for more.
Undergo a facelift
The appearance of your store or website can have a huge impact on customer behaviour. If you have a physical store, change the layout every now and then. Have pop-ups or bring in local talents to the store to spice things up.
If you have a clothing store for instance, maybe you can host a workshop with one of your fashion designers, or plan pop-up events where you display the wares of accessories designers from the community. You could host special dinner events for your most loyal customers or hold a competition where your windows display is designed by a customer or a designer.
If you have a website or a store on social media, you can always spice up your page. Make sure that the contents on your website are always up to date, that it is mobile-friendly and updated with the latest tech advancements. Even the way your content is laid out on social media must follow the latest trends in terms of photo colouring, design and layout. Just now the image trend is all about a Polaroid or film effect. That way you will show customers that you are on trend.
Your team should also be up-to-date
You also need to make sure that your team is on the cutting edge. Are they keeping up with the industry’s latest trends? Are they aware with what’s cool and what’s not? Do they know what their customers are tuned into? Your team and your customers can’t be speaking two different languages. They should always be a step ahead. That’s the only way to stay current in a growing market.
Tryano, a department store in Abu Dhabi, is a great example of a business that is keeping up to date. During Ramadan, pop-up fashion exhibitions are popular around the Arabian Gulf, with many people shopping for Eid.
For the past couple of years, Tryano has done its own version in the store and invited emerging designers to display their work there. This both provided support for the designers at increased footfall at the store.
Revive your marketing effort
The key is to be where your customers are. Forget traditional channels and think of creative ways to reach your target audience, whether it’s through a targeted competition in collaboration with a social media influencer, or directly through your Instagram channels. Make it about them and the positive impact you want to create, and not so much about you. That’s what resonates most with millennials and Generation Z clients.