Can I tell you a brief story, followed by a Q&A?
A colleague says "If you have time, try Little Miss BBQ in Tempe ... they have a line out the door at all times."
So we arrive at 11:15am, right after they open. We get the last spot in the parking lot.
And as predicted, the line is already well out the door ...
After being in line for 15 minutes, we realize we're halfway there.
We can see the smokers now.
They have chairs and "free water" for those in line ...
Look at that ... open until the food runs out.
And people are running out with food! Will there be enough for me?
We're getting closer now, and ooooooh boy!
By they way, they're always selling ... be it apparel or an idea for a Christmas meal. While they are selling at this spot in line, they also serve samples.
Finally, it's time for a big plate of brisket and pulled pork!!!!
Best I've ever had!!!
Ok, it's time for the FAQ section of this post. Here we go.
Question: It's awful that they make you stand in line for a half-hour. That's poor customer service. They could speed things up by having multiple cash stands and more staff.
Answer: The person who recommended the place had this to say ... "I've never been there, I don't have time to stand in line, but any place that has lines like that has to be good." Think about that statement for a moment. Word-of-Mouth and the person has never even been there. The line serves as a form of low-cost / no-cost customer acquisition. This is what I've been talking about for two years!! This is what you need to do. What is your version of a line out the door?
Question: It's awful that they serve people until the food runs out. They don't run out of food at Red Lobster. Omnichannel solutions demand that all items are available at all times in all channels ... because the customer demands this solution.
Answer: Why do you think there's a line out the door? At 11:15am? Because they might run out of food!! By running out of food, they create scarcity. Scarcity leads to a line out the door. The line serves as a form of low-cost / no-cost customer acquisition. How else did I end up eating there? If you want sameness, go to McDonalds.
Question: Kevin, this has nothing to do with my business, and you know it. We sell Widgets, and you only sell Widgets in August and September. What is your solution for our business, with our unique constraints?
Answer: This is a "trap" question. It's maybe the most frequently asked question from old-school catalogers. They'll tell us that their business is unique and special and therefore any ideas are invalid and not-applicable to their business model. Every idea is valid to every business model. If you are a cataloger and you sell Widgets only in August/September, why not let customers pre-order Widgets in June/July before you run out of them? And then cross-sell the customer something else in August/September? Now you've double-dipped ... it's like having a QB/WR on the same team in Fantasy Football. It's time we got creative, clever, it's time we started thinking.
Question: If the food was awful, there wouldn't be a line out of the door and the low-cost / no-cost customer acquisition strategy would be doomed to fail. So this has nothing to do with low-cost / no-cost customer acquisition strategies, does it?
Answer: Correct! It's all about merchandise, isn't it? Have great merchandise, then employ a low-cost / no-cost customer acquisition strategy, and you've got something. But you need both, with merchandise being most important.