My friend and fellow digital marketer, Lisa Gale, and I established a local business owner meetup in our small town earlier this year in an effort to network and help other business owners with fresh marketing perspectives. In one of our first meetings, a local book store owner told us about some challenges she had with marketing.

We encouraged her to understand her competition, of course, and provide something that can’t provide. She was immediately flustered and defensive and said that we were just exacerbating the issue and supporting her competition.

But Here’s the Truth

We weren’t wrong. The truth we pointed out simply exacerbated her fears. The trick to winning in your business is to stop fearing the trends and embrace them.

We, as customers, are inherently lazy. In our daily lives, most of us want to get from point A to point B in the shortest amount of time and expelling the smallest amount of energy.

Most of us care more about reading the book than buying the book, right?

Once in a while when you’ve got some time to kill, it’s nice to wander around a book store. But for the most part, we just want the dang book. I can order a book at a traffic light with a couple of clicks on my phone.

99% of the time, I don’t care about the process of parking, hoping the book is in stock, and paying full price for it. I just want the book, preferably fast, preferably on sale.

As Donald Miller’s very first sentence in Building a StoryBrand says, “Customers don’t generally care about your story; they care about their own.

But Brick and Mortar Stores Have Value

They sure do! There’s a time and a place for a physical store. Heck, I own one. Does that mean all brick and mortars are null and void if I can get the product online? Not necessarily. But we’re sliding into an era where the internet will beat you unless you offer something better.

If you have a brick and mortar store that sells something customers can get online, then you must ask yourself these two vital questions: 

  1. Does my brick and mortar business offer GUIDANCE?
  2. Does my brick and mortar business offer A CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE?

If you do not offer either of these, it’s time to reevaluate your business. We all know that the internet is winning the day. It’s getting better, faster, and more advanced.

So you better offer something better! Give me something I can’t get on the internet! As a customer, if you can’t give me guidance or an excellent customer experience, then I’ll simply find a solution elsewhere.

I know that’s harsh, but my friends, it’s happening. I implore you to step up your game in providing experienced guidance to your customers and improving your brick and mortar to be an amazing experience for the customers who come inside.

Yeah, But What About Restaurants?

You may be thinking this is irrelevant for restaurants. But it’s more relevant than you think. Consider the recent restaurant technology trends:

  • External delivery systems (Door Dash, Uber Eats, etc.)
  • Self-ordering kiosks
  • Self-paying tabletop systems

The need for human interaction is becoming less and less needed in our food experiences. As we said before, some of these changes are positive because ultimately, it’s all about what the customer needs–and what they need is efficiency.

What will this look like in 10 years in regards to restaurants? I don’t know. I do know it won’t be going backward anytime soon. Technology is a juggernaut and will run over anyone in its way.

It may mean fewer and fewer people going out to eat to sit in your restaurant or cafe. It may look like wait staff and hosts slowly disappearing in the industry.

A couple of questions to ask yourself is:

  • Does my wait staff provide guidance to my customers? Do they know the menu well enough to guide? Are they educated about the cooking process enough to truly guide a customer who’s asking for it?
    • For example, if I was to ask your waiter, “What entree do you recommend?” Do they know how to correctly answer? Do they provide their biased opinion or provide real guidance into helping the diner make that decision?
  • Does my restaurant offer a killer experience? 
    • When a customer is sitting at home and is interested in eating at your restaurant that night, they are going to weigh out whether they want to sit in your restaurant or get it delivered. Do you provide a multitude of positive micro-experiences to get them out of their jammies and into your seats?

If the answer is no to both of these questions, it’s time to begin making changes. At the end of the day, customers will make the decision that causes the least amount of friction in relation to the potential guidance and experience they could get.

That means if your restaurant offers experienced guidance and provides a killer experience, they’ll get dressed up, fight traffic, find a parking spot, come inside, and pay for it. The friction was worth it.

If your staff isn’t guiding customers well and your micro-experience score is low, the friction won’t be worth it.

So make it worth it! 

If you’d like our guidance in helping you create memorable experiences in your restaurant by improving micro-experiences. Just give us a call!

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