Tucked into Denver's tony Cherry Creek North shopping district since 1997, SOL (Store of Lingerie) has seen plenty of bigger businesses--including national brands --open in the area, only to fall flat. All the while, SOL has thrived in its original location.
The boutique is unapologetically swanky, with bras running well over the hundred-dollar mark. So how does an upscale shop stay in business when consumers can easily order from one of the more budget-friendly online brands?
"The only reason we've remained open through tough economies is gratitude," says Cindy Johnson, who owns SOL with her sister. They balance out the sticker shock by offering customers an experience built on a firm foundation of thanks.
That starts with the recognition that parking in the area is not easy. So, SOL takes the sting out by handing customers parking tokens as soon as they walk through the door. For customers who do land a ticket, SOL will pay the fine (seriously).
From the first purchase on, the boutique meticulously tracks customer information to make it easy for shoppers to remember which products and sizes work best for them. Within days of a purchase, each customer receives a personal thank-you note.
The customer data also helps those shopping for lingerie as gifts. (For SOL, this cuts down on returns--although those are accepted "at any time, for any reason.") "Men don't have to be intimidated to shop for their gal at SOL," Johnson says. In fact, the store's male customer base grows each year--no doubt aided by the pre-Valentine's Day "Beer, Brats and Bras" event.
For SOL--as it should be for your business--it's all about giving thanks. Let customers know you're thinking about their needs. They'll never forget that you gave them something of value--and with any luck, they'll thank you back, in the form of purchases and referrals. And that's priceless.