Your friendly neighbourhood store

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Your friendly neighbourhood store

Oddbins – A multi-national store with a local feel
Sad to hear of the demise of Oddbins – yet another former favourite store has edged down the administration slide. I enjoyed many a pleasurable visit – a national store which managed to retain its local individuality.

Oddbins never came across as a chain store – stuffed shelves which didn’t seem to follow any specific merchandising rules, hand written tasting notes, pot luck bin ends, super knowledgeable staff. It smacked of a friendly neighbourhood store.

A localised approach
Not that I’ll admit to over indulging in a good bottle of wine (😊) but the manager knew me personally. What I liked, always made great recommendations, and would go out of his way to make sure I was a happy, satisfied customer who would be sure to return.

My trips were more of an education than a quick stop to pick up my favourite bottle on a Friday night. The store staff challenged my tastes, were happy to open a bottle for me to try and would always remember what I’d bought and ask my views on the next visit.

I was on their local mailing list, and was invited to events and tastings. In short, I was always made to feel like a special customer, and unlike Majestic in its former guise, I could walk out with a single bottle rather than splash out on a case.

Customer First

Then I moved house, and it all changed. Being a loyal customer, I located my local Oddbins, walked in expecting the same level of service, but this store felt different. The manager didn’t have the same hands on approach and I felt like he lacked both knowledge and expertise. Moreover, he didn’t have the support tools. There was no local marketing programme – no regular mail shots or tasting events to draw me back in to the fold.

Never underestimate the competition
At the same time, the major grocers upped their game, improving both the quality and range of wines on offer. Online retailers understood how to target better, using search technology to their advantage. They knew what I liked, and they made great suggestions on my previous buying history and what I had searched for. My digital footprint meant that although I had become just another number in the big digital world, I wasn’t made to feel that way. I was still offered suggestions, but this time I had no one to talk to.

But it’s not the same!

I might still be buying decent wine, but the shopping experience has lost its fizz. Nobody now has 100% of my engagement or my loyalty and I have to accept that without the local touch, I do occasionally buy a dud bottle.

Making retail more engaging
Most retailers forget that they once started out as one lone store and when they grow, they lose the personal touch. Local marketing is about so much more than marketing locally. It’s about understanding your local market and shaping your offering and marketing around the locality.

In our experience
A well targeted and executed local store marketing plan would have me back in a store in a heartbeat. Yes, I love the convenience of online shopping, who doesn’t. But you can’t beat human to human interaction. And whilst not every store manager is blessed with great people skills that turn conversations into customers, like my former Oddbins guy, a well-planned local store marketing programme is a great place to start.

We know it can be daunting but we’re here to help. Our top 3 tips:
1. Don’t adopt a ‘one size fits’ all approach. It won’t work and it will only alienate your customer.
2. Avoid cultural mistakes by utilising local insights. Throw away the generalisations, assumption-based marketing can offend your target market.
3. If you want to stand out, don’t just go for the lowest common denominator. Adopt a customer first attitude and understand that they all have different motivations and needs.

In Summary
Whilst we didn’t have the chance to work with Oddbins, we do have an abundance of local marketing experience, in both the UK and US, in a range of retail outlets, from grocery to DIY sheds. If you’re interested in learning more or just want an informal chat, we’d love to hear from you.

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