May 2, 2014
I’ve found that if I want a quality cup of coffee, I have to look for it. Wherever I travel, I like to find little gems—local coffee shops that are known for their atmosphere, music, servers, and, of course, quality coffee. Interesting presentation and/or packaging doesn’t hurt either.
I’m all about getting the best experience with a product. You might not realize it, but we have experiences with almost every product we buy. We research the company, learn a little about them, decide to buy their product, and have a personal connection. From the food at our local grocery store, to the furniture in our home, we are constantly having an experience from beginning to end.
Recently these companies have impressed me, either with their packaging, follow-through, or story. While these aren’t furniture stores, there is a lesson to be learned from each.
Knot & Splice: This Chicago-based, jewelry store sells hand-made pieces, and the owner, Nicole, sources stones and materials from independent collectors as well as American suppliers. I found a nice, simple ring that was different from anything I have and bought it.
The best thing about my purchase was her follow-up. Nicole sent me an email right away and let me know when I’d receive my purchase. (Furniture retailers could just as easily email customers thanking them and confirming delivery details). A week later, my ring arrived and even though I wasn’t giving it as a gift, it was nicely wrapped in a little box and inside was a canvas bag holding my ring. Nicole even left a personal thank-you note.
Nicole’s website and Instagram are constantly updated and show her pieces in-progress, involving customers with her process. Communication is key—and important for all retailers.
KIND Snacks: I’m a bit of a health nut. I pay attention to ingredients. In my search for healthy snacks I found KIND bars. I love these bars not just because of the variety of flavors, but also because I like being able to read (and understand) the list of ingredients.
Seeing the ingredients is part of the KIND trademark. Aside from providing a tasty treat and great packaging, KIND believes in acts of kindness. The company showcases individuals who give back to their communities. I also like the bars themselves, and the thought that I’m supporting a company that I feel believes in me (and being kind) when I purchase their products.
This brand knows how to walk the walk and talk the talk. CONSUMERS LIKE SUPPORTING COMPANIES THAT DO GOOD THINGS. If your business is of this mindset, make sure you share your mission and your story—customers will appreciate it.
Shinola: On Instagram one day, I saw a gorgeous watch. It had a tomboy style that appealed to me and it was just overall beautifully made. The watch was from Shinola, a Detroit-based watch, bicycle, and leather manufacturer. Shinola not only strives to make the best possible products, the owners want to help rebuild and rejuvenate the city and contribute to its rich heritage.
I was already in love with their designs and then fell even further in love with the mere fact that I was vicariously contributing to the growth of a struggling U.S. city with my purchase. Shinola’s packaging is also exceptional. Each watch comes in a wooden box that includes information not just on the watch itself, but also information on who made it! Their follow-through with purchase is undeniably personal.
Shinola has also created a social community—they post about the history of Detroit, new products they’re working on, photos of their workers, and if you post a photo of yourself with their product, while using the hashtag #MyShinola, they share it. Shinola has definitely created a new way of appreciating their consumers.
Companies that impress customers (like me) with a friendly (and immediate) follow up, striking packaging, locally and U.S. sourced materials, and the ability to engage us where and how we want to be engaged will come out on top. Take a lesson from these companies and start following up with and engaging your customers.
Brooke Feldman is an Instagram fanatic, yogi, opera goer, coffee lover, and writer of the blog, The Seed, which focuses on social good and innovation. She is also the digital marketing coordinator for Nourison Industries.