The moment a customer googles your brand, lands on your website or walks into your store, their customer experience begins.
From your logo, brand colours and in-store look and feel, it all has to connect with the core of who you are as a business and the customer you want to attract.
Let’s take a look at a few brands that have a clear point of difference and brand purpose.
If we take a closer look at popular retailers, Farmers and The Warehouse, they both attract and target a specific customer.
Farmers is a vibrant, modern retailer that focuses on leading brands for fashion, beauty and homewares. It has also traditionally been a middle-market retailer. With a simplistic logo in purple, words like power, luxury and wisdom come about. Their stores are bright and well-lit and brings a homely feeling. The floor plan is designed with designated department spaces for customers to experience and explore the spaces as intended. Window displays follow current trends and in-store displays are useable spaces for function.
If you were shopping for a new foundation, you will find a makeup counter with testers to try before you make your purchase. If you were looking for a new bed or sofa, you can walk around the showroom and test the options available – making the selection process easier and ensure you find the product that is right for you and your needs.
Established in 1982, The Warehouse is one of New Zealand’s largest retailers. It is competing in the mass-market discount retailing industry, where its core market segment are families, driving low prices with a high sale volume business model. It has adopted a model of ‘everyday low pricing’ and binned its traditional strategy of having a good chunk of stock on special all the time. The stores, as their name suggests, take on the feel of a warehouse and can be easily spotted by the iconic red sheds dotted all over the country. It’s a destination where ‘everyone gets a bargain’ and one that they take pride in as part of their budget-friendly experience. A big open space divided into different departments by isle numbers. Shelves as high as the eye can see with products still in shipper boxes (making it easier to buy in bulk if you wish).
However, the space doesn’t feel inviting with big intersections filled with bins shouting ‘sale’ or ‘bargain’ – fuelling impulsive buyer behaviour. While they offer changing rooms in the clothing department, they fall flat with no make-up tester stations. The furniture aisle has sofas sitting on shelf displays making it not so user-friendly for furniture shoppers. Their interiors weren’t designed for comfort, but to call on the masses to buy bulk or find a bargain.
Their customer is someone that is either shopping on a budget or knows what they want so they don’t have to spend hours in the store.
Where Farmers once would have faced competition from The Warehouse, they’ve established a clear brand image for themselves away from this discount retailer. They offer products at a reasonable price with an elevated in-store customer experience. Their customer, a middle-class family looking to invest in good quality furniture designed to last for at least a decade.
This differentiates from the priorities of a typical Warehouse customer, such as a low-income family. These people are more concerned with factors such as the product serving a function while looking trendy at a bargain price.
Although very popular in the United States compared to here in New Zealand, both Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts are doing something right. They both sell coffee at their core, but they offer two very different customer experiences.
Starbucks, the largest coffeehouse chain in the world, comprises of approximately 20,891 stores across 62 countries. It has built a premium brand, offering more than a typical coffee house dining experience. Through services such as exceptional personalised food and beverages, Starbucks can continue to price its products on the higher end, despite being a chain coffee store. Why?
Starbucks elevated its offering beyond coffee, turning their location into the ‘third space’ (after home and work). An environment designed to be a place you want to spend time in.
Their locations are warm and welcoming, designed with the comfort of their customers in mind. Free internet and comfy décor offers a more enticing option for those looking to read, write, study or relax with friends. In 2019 Starbucks opened its first Community Store that was designed to celebrate Atlanta’s rich cultural heritage of human connection and empowerment. The store itself functions as a café, but also provides a space where programs by local non-profits and community organisations can be hosted. This makes going to Starbucks a social activity, turning the store into a destination. Their brand colours feature white and deep green which reinforces an elegant premium brand, one that isn’t screaming out for attention but still is one of the most recognisable brands in the world.
Dunkin’, also known as Dunkin’ Donuts, is an American multinational coffee and doughnut company. They offer a service at a more competitive price, focusing on a fast-paced, in-and-out culture. Its intent is to be the lowest-cost provider in the market while maintaining quality above an acceptable minimum.
Their interiors are designed for speed, not comfort. The brand’s first revamp in 2013 gave stores a new look that reflected its ‘evolution from morning destination into a brand that serves people all day long’. Seating areas include updated furniture and LED light fixtures, as well as electrical outlets and bar top areas for smartphones and computers. By using bold, bright colours of orange and pink in their logo, Dunkin’ sets a playful tone, just like their famous sprinkled doughnuts. Dunkin’s brand colours come across as accessible, which accurately represents the contrast in cost between the two coffee companies.
We are brand loyal because we buy into a specific experience. That’s what sets brands apart. You wouldn’t go to Dunkin’ with your study books and expect to be comfortably seated on a non-cushioned seat for four hours. Starbucks charges $8 not just for the coffee you ordered, but for the premium experience. It offers the opportunity to sit and enjoy your coffee whilst having access to free Wi-Fi in a welcoming and comfortable setting.
All businesses should have a brand strategy that tells us who they are, what they sell and who their target audience is. To delight your client or customer you must craft your service to create memorable experiences, that rises above and beyond their expectations. You must design your brand experience in a way that you want your product or service to be used, so that your brand identity will always connect with your customers.
No matter how big or small your business is, knowing your target audience and understanding your customer is key. Energi’s shopper experience platform, Shop with Me, is designed to help you walk in your customer’s shoes and see the world through their eyes. Spend as little or as much time as you need shadowing them in an unobtrusive way to truly understand what their experience with your brand is all about.
Find out more about Shop With Me here.