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3 Tips for Keeping the ‘Mom and Pop’ Shop Feel as Your Business Expands

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In order to grow, small businesses depend on a loyal, recurring customer base. Sometimes your customers can be almost as passionate about your business succeeding as you are. And while it’s natural to want to expand your reach, you shouldn’t lose sight of those who helped you get this far.

A small-town feel can be good for business. There are many consumers who actively choose to shop with small businesses over competitors for a number of reasons. They want to support their local community, say, or they value service with a human touch. So maintaining a “mom and pop” feel can advantage your bottom line. With this in mind, here are three important tips for keeping your growing business feeling small.

1. Prioritize Customer Relationships

Providing quality service is part of what makes a small business so great, both for you and your customers. Ironically, one of the best ways to provide high-touch customer service is through technology. If you’re not using a CRM for small business already, now is the time to get with the program. A customer relationship management system allows you to store a customer’s contact info and record each interaction with them. With their transaction history readily available, you and your employees can better anticipate the customer’s needs and desires.

You’ll also be able to record any important information they share with you during these interactions. Whether it’s a communication preference or a stated dislike, you’ll have the intel you need to treat them how they want to be treated. Think of the classic example of a waiter at the local diner who asks if you want “the usual.” Knowing such details, along with birthdays or names of family members, is a powerful way to make customers feel special and appreciated.

A CRM will also improve and streamline your marketing campaigns. Categorize your customers based on their interests, and when a new product hits the shelves, you can market directly to the relevant audience. Additionally, you can use a CRM to automatically ping customers when their favorite products are back in stock. Use a CRM to strike the balance of offering the best customer service you can while still maintaining that small-town feel.

2. Offer Personalized Services

If you want to level up your customer experience even further, offer your customers personalized services. Not only does personalization give your business small-town vibes, it can also lend your offerings a tinge of luxury. This can encourage customers to pay a premium for your product or service, so you’re less likely to be forced to compete on cost. However, “luxury” and “small town” are two energies that can clash, so it’s important to thread the needle correctly.

Large corporations have the capital to invest in haute shopping experiences, but that shouldn’t be your goal. As a small business, you likely aren’t able to provide the same, so focus on personalized services instead. Examples of such services include offering customized wrapping on all gift purchases or personal shopper services in your boutique. A bookstore could create curated monthly subscription boxes based on their patrons’ past reads. Really, the sky’s the limit.

Personalization shows people that you spend extra time to consider their needs and desires. So think about the kinds of products and services you offer and find opportunities to add a personalized touch. Even if it’s only a small gesture, leverage customization to convey a mom-and-pop feel with a hint of indulgence.

3. Host In-Person Events

As businesses expand, their dependency on their location tends to decrease. But locality is a highly important aspect of mom-and-pop businesses. Sometimes being local is part of what attracts customers to you in the first place. To create or maintain a small-town feel, you need a sense of place. And hosting in-person events is one of the best ways to achieve it.

While sales are a popular and effective business event, don’t fall into the trap of relying on them too much. Any business can have a sale, and since many often do, they don’t really help you stand out. Instead, focus on creating unique and interesting events that people will remember. Even if an attendee doesn’t buy something, you’ll provide the opportunity for them to associate meaningful memories with your business.

For example, you could host a store party to celebrate the arrival of a new season, serving frosé in summer and cider come fall. This is an especially great opportunity if your product inventory changes quarterly, as clothing does. Or you could partner with a local winery to host an in-store tasting. Get creative and imagine events you think your customers would appreciate and enjoy. And don’t be afraid to get bold with decorations — an event is also an Instagrammable marketing opportunity!

Maintaining Your Core Identity

There are numerous ways to keep the mom-and-pop vibe as your business continues to grow. Most of them center around prioritizing customers’ wants and needs — with that approach, you can’t go too far wrong! At the same time, however, you’ll want to make decisions that preserve your business’s core identity. If you value your company’s small-town feel, make decisions that will maintain that feel. This can become difficult when you’re tempted by choices that increase profitability but sacrifice authenticity. Granted, sometimes it is a good idea to make those choices — you are in business, after all. But to avoid killing the goose that has been laying your golden eggs, do your best to hold onto your business’s core identity.

Ron Harold

It has been a long time since I joined Research Snipers. Though I have been working as a part-time tech-news writer, it feels good to be part of the team. Besides that, I am building a finance-based blog, working as a freelance content writer/blogger, and a video editor.

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