It’s winter here. And it’s cold. As a lifetime South Dakotan, I’ve learned that the only way to get through it is with some toughness, a decent attitude, and a little creativity. For my family and me, this basically means getting out of the house. So this time of year when we can only enjoy the outdoors in short doses, we go on more indoor outings. And when you’re going out with kids, you notice and appreciate the unexpected things certain establishments do to improve the experience. Here are some of our favorites:
Little Green Carts – Our grocery store has little green carts. It has become ritual for my son to go shopping with me ever since we discovered that he could help shop with his own cart. While I have to constantly ask him to slow down, and a few mystery products make their way home, it works. And I have been able to teach him to politely say “excuse me” as he passes fellow shoppers. Too cute.
Free Cheese – Our supermarket also offers a free cheese slice to my son when we are at the deli counter. Cheesy as it seems, this is a subtle signal to me that they understand that sometimes a mom needs a distraction for her kids so she can get the shopping done.
Take and Make Pizza- “Take and Bake” is the norm from one of our favorite pizza joints, but even better? They offer a kid-sized pizza kit where kids can assemble their own pie before it goes into the oven. My boy loves the idea of going to get his pizza and takes pride in the little box as we pick it up.
Stuffed Animals – We are an outdoor kind of family, so when we can’t actually be outside as much as we’d like, we visit a local outdoors store pretty often. The mounted birds, fish, bear and elk are impressive and memorable to our three-year-old. He also likes to peek into the bait tank and squeal as the minnows splash around.
Reading Nook – There is a darling little toy shop downtown that not only sells wonderful items, but invites shoppers to come and stay awhile in their book nook. We have done this several times this winter.
Popcorn - Another simple touch that makes the trip to the hardware store a little bit special and something that would attract us to this store vs. another the next time we need something.
None of these extra touches are necessary, but all of them are so appealing to us as a family that we keep going back for more. We’ve become loyal to those stores and restaurants because they “get” us. Do you get your audience? Have you brought them something they didn’t expect lately? No matter the season, by building brand experience tailored to your customer, you will also build brand loyalty.