The digital age has changed the landscape of business as a whole.
In this new age of the internet, we are quickly finding that so long as one has a computer, a smartphone, and some internet connection, the tools for a successful business are available in full. Due to our ambitious nature and our new found electronic tools, it is no surprise that online e-commerce businesses are stacking up by the day, giving buyers an ever expanding array of sellers from whom they may choose, whether they are looking for apparel, electronics, or even applications. While it is good that buyers are gaining more options, it would follow that sellers are becoming harder to find and differentiate in an ever expanding market.
After accepting this piece of information as fact, as a business owner, one must realize that there is a very large difference between building a business and building a brand; in our digital age, the latter is becoming increasingly important. That is to say that in order for a business to differentiate and define an it factor for itself, people must have a way of life, idea, or ultimate movement to buy into. It is not only about winning the potential buyer’s attention, but winning the buyer’s heart. In fact, building a brand has become so important that perhaps, if we haven’t already, we should begin to structure our time partition as a division of thirds – one third of a business owner’s time should be spent on perfecting the product, while two thirds should be spent on branding and promotion of that product. After all, even the greatest product in the world would be nothing without the proper promotion and presentation. Don’t get me wrong though – simply building a brand is not the ultimate key to success. E-commerce is still a very crowded marketplace even for companies with spot on branding. So then how do we differentiate ourselves even after we have built a trustworthy brand? While this question is one that could have its own section in a bookstore, in this short article, I would like to examine one method of differentiation in specific: Offline Sales.
Nineteen year old Kylie Jenner (or at least the team she has behind her) could teach most business owners a thing or two about successful branding and differentiation. While Kylie is not the only one with a brand who practices offline sales, she is certainly one of the best at it. After experiencing much success on her e-commerce store, which sold ‘Lip Kits’ and other cosmetics, Kylie decided to open up a brick and mortar pop-up store in Topanga Westfield Mall, Los Angeles, CA. “But why bother? Brick and mortar is becoming outdated!” you say. Kylie would encourage you to ask the masses of people in front of her store, who are responsible for buying out every unit of her product in less than one minute upon release.
Okay, yes, it’s true. Kylie Jenner, A-List celebrity, commander of 95 million (and counting) Instagram followers, etc. is a different story than your average business owner, but the point that has been illustrated is that physical experience with a brand is exciting! Through the lens of a High Growth CFO, the most valuable growth metric is the recurring revenue per client or consumer. In other words, how “sticky” is each customer in relation to the business or how likely are they to return to your business? As humans, one thing has never changed – we are more likely to respond in a positive way to something we can touch and feel. It would then follow that a well presented product in person, rather than on a screen, would increase total consumer loyalty in the long-term. As a Foresight CFO would say, “I can keep the consumers’ attention much longer in a physical store than online, where ads or notifications can immediately shift their focus elsewhere”. The result, brand loyalty and a stable recurring revenue stream for a brand, and not just one product or solution.
Whether you want to build a more loyal following, a stronger brand, or get to know your customers, following in the footsteps of Kylie Jenner could be an excellent idea.