Skip to main content

Creating Homeyness in Your Business Results in Loyal Customers

The Ross Island Grocery & Cafe, in a Southwest neighborhood of Portlandia. (The author's favorite.)
Of all the fancy often expensive sales training and merchandising entrepreneurs employ, research clearly shows that certain, very inexpensive, tactics are far more effective in creating loyal customers.
  • Why put a big comfy couch in the corner of the local bookshop?
  • Why provide stacks of board games free of charge at the corner cafĂ©? 
  • Why give out complimentary backstage passes after the show?
Because by making people feel at home in a commercial space, marketers can turn their own clients into salespeople.

Suggested Reading
Click on image
A new study in the Journal of Consumer Research takes a closer look at this new trend in marketing and proves that a sense of homeyness results in a fierce loyalty in customers, who in turn demonstrate an enthusiasm and sense of commitment that goes beyond the norms. These emotionally attached customers pay higher tips, volunteer to help the business and serve as ambassadors -- convincing friends and family that a certain enterprise is particularly worthwhile.

"People start to feel at home in a commercial place when they experience that place as familiar," says study co-author Zeynep Arsel, an assistant professor in the Department of Marketing at Concordia's John Molson School of Business.

"But for that homeyness to work as a marketing tool, the sense of the familiar needs to be coupled with authentic decor, employees who are genuinely interested in what they do, high product quality and a feeling of security in the place. It also helps if consumers feel like they won't be bothered by intrusive staff or aggressive promotional tactics. For this type of marketing to work, people almost need to feel like they're not in a commercial space at all."

The sense of domesticity in the commercial space leads customers to believe they are experiencing something different, something unique to that store, restaurant or given experience. Consumers in these spaces believe they are receiving a personal gift or individual attention from the proprietor, a feeling that allows them to become intimately acquainted with the place.

"Our research interviews show that people treat their special place as a treasured gift. In return, they want to support the establishment beyond what is expected of them," says Arsel.

"As people become attached to a commercial setting, they interpret their experiences with the place through the same ideals they would apply to private and domestic areas of their lives. As a result, the commercial characteristics of their interactions in these spaces become less important than that special bond they believe to have with the commercial space."
*  *  *  *  *

Story Source:  Alain Debenedetti, Harmen Oppewal, and Zeynep Arsel. Place Attachment in Commercial Settings: A Gift Economy Perspective. Journal of Consumer Research, February 2014

Comments

  1. The snow was falling steadily in Portland this afternoon and I wanted to be in a snug, familiar place with good food and friendly people. That's why I went to the Ross Island Grocery & Cafe, where I had a '' Ross Club of Love" - their version of a toasted club sandwich with smoked bacon, turkey and cranberry mayo.

    I greeted Mike, the next door neighbor who was sipping a cup of Stumptown coffee. And when the sandwich arrived it was served with warm smile from Heather, who knows everybody's name and always makes us feel welcome.

    That's what I like about the Ross - a friendly neighborhood gathering spot where I can hangout with friends and watch the snow falling on a winter's day.

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

The Facts of the Small Business Survival Rate

Back thirty years ago when I first wrote about small business, a hoary and horrible statistic was bandied about, even by some of the most experienced entrepreneurial pros: "80% of new businesses fail in their first five years." 

This "statistic" has appeared in more places than you can imagine, from the leading small business magazines, books, presentations by employees of SBDCs, the SBA, SCORE, Chambers of Commerce, even professors on the college level - who should know better than to quote un-sourced numbers.  It still shows up in small-business blogs today.

For some years, I searched for a source of that statisitic.  Never found where that number came from, leading me to believe that some self-appointed expert made it up.  To quote a character from the popular television show, M*A*S*H, "Horsepucky." 

Here is the truth about the survival rate of new start up businesses in the U.S. economy from two unimpeachable sources, The Marion Ewing Kauffman Foundati…

Earn a Living Shining Shoes. . . Really

Earning a Living as a Bootblack
Can someone make a living shining shoes in today's economy?  At on time there shoe shine boys as they were called were found on street corners across the country, thousands of them.  Many were from poor families and worked to help support themselves and their families.  Today, I found three established shoe shine stands in downtown Seattle, plus two bootblacks, the traditional name of those who shine shoes, working on the streets of Seattle.

Meet George Johnson, age 74 on October 20th, a self-employed operator of a shoe shine stand in downtown Seattle's Rainier Place.  George has been shining shoes for the last sixty years, starting in Arkansas and ending up some thirty years ago at the Washington Athletic club a few blocks from his current location.
"Sixty years," I asked him the day we met.  "You ever think of retiring?"

"Gonna work until I can't do it no more," he replied.  "I don't even think about i…

Illegal Immigrants Start Legal L.L.C.'s, Create Jobs While Awaiting Deportation

The situation is a little like a story from the Twilight Zone.

Illegal immigrants can't get driving licenses, vote, or get benefits, but they are legally able to start Limited Liability Companies often creating jobs for legal U.S. Citizens.  All the while waiting to find out if they are going to be deported because they are, admittedly in most cases, in this country illegally.

It's long established that new immigrants to the U.S. are far more likely to start a business, and in so doing, create jobs often filled by U.S. citizens.  I mean, the sun rises in the East, the sky is blue, and immigrants create jobs - it's that level of certainty.

So why do certain elements in Congress,  allegedly pro-business, pro-growth, and pro-job, scream and yell about immigration as though it's a total drain on the economy?  If anything, immigration has been and will continue to be a boon to our economy, creating both wealth, new jobs and even new industries.

Here's an article from the L…