Consumers remember brands that create the most atmospheric, sensory and spontaneous experiences. That’s according to new research from Barclaycard Business1.
In other words, how consumers choose which brands to engage with, and buy from, is based on much more than transactional elements like price.
With that in mind, giving customers great experiences in one or more of the following ways could be just the ticket for businesses of any size looking to survive and thrive, whatever sector they’re in.
Barclaycard Business customer Crazy Pig Designs – London-based designers and makers of handcrafted rock star jewellery – has been thriving on the high street since 1992. This is testament to how well they’re rocking the world of great customer experiences.
They entered our business customer competition and won the chance to pop up in the VIP hospitality area at Barclaycard presents British Summer Time festival. So, we caught up with them to find out how they thrive on the high street and give customers unexpected experiences:
Attracting new customers and encouraging loyalty can be as simple as telling people about your business’ good practices. Like using local and ethical suppliers, for example. New Barclaycard Business research found consumers talked positively about buying from places that promote or support local business2.
“For us, authenticity and transparency are central to our business and they always have been,” say Crazy Pig Designs owners Armand and Jeannette Serra.
“It’s always been me in house designing the jewellery, hand-carving the designs in wax, which are then cast and hand made in precious metals, right here in our UK workshop, in ethical manufacturing conditions, and never compromising on these things just to try and make a bigger margin.
“I want you to buy a ring or bracelet that you’ll wear for 25 or 30 years that you can pass down to your kids if you want to. I see our pieces as minor investments for the return you get. Our customers will only see it that way too, if they know that we’re an authentic brand”, adds Armand.
It’s important to know where your customers want you to be (and be there). But most people love a good surprise too, so if you can also be where your customers least expect it, you might just win more of them and strengthen loyalty.
“We’re so excited to be popping up in the VIP hospitality area at Barclaycard presents British Summer Time festival in Hyde Park. As a Barclaycard Business customer, it’s such a great opportunity for us to be in front of fans of the rock bands playing that weekend. They’re exactly the right audience for Crazy Pig but in a completely different, unique setting.”
Loyalty isn’t all about offers and discounts (although of course there’s a place for those), it’s also about making consumers feel like they’re critical to your brand. After all, without them there wouldn’t be a business, so remember to make them feel special. This could be by giving them exclusive content, experiences or products.
For Armand, Crazy Pig Designs creates loyalty by giving customers beautiful, handcrafted jewellery, and a unique buying experience.
“In a world where so many things are mass produced, our store is an experience in itself. We offer something different. And I love seeing people showing their jewellery to other people and on social media; being proud of the pieces they’ve invested in.
“We could buy stock or have our products made abroad but that’s not what the customer wants.”
Whether you buy a Crazy Pig design from the display cabinet, or you work with Armand to create a bespoke piece, you’ll instantly feel like part of the process. Armand hand carves every design from wax, which, when you look at the intricate detail of his jewellery, is the true definition of craftsmanship.
Armand is choosy about collaborations, and rightly so.
They’re about giving customers something original and exclusive that fits with their expectations of the brand. But commercially, the collaborations he invests in means Crazy Pig Designs can reach more people and give Armand a point of difference to market in store and on social media.
And Crazy Pig Designs is clearly in touch with UK consumers. New research from Barclaycard Business revealed a warning to brands, from consumers, not to appear gimmicky in their marketing, or to ‘jump on the bandwagon’ when it comes to things like putting on pop-up events and collaborating with other brands. The survey also found consumers placed importance on brands staying true to themselves when creating any experiences; in other words never losing sight of what they stand for3.
He has turned down potentially lucrative collaborations with major high street retailers and diamond traders that don’t fit the brand. But in recent years he has worked closely on limited edition collections with Japanese streetwear brand A Bathing Ape and British wildlife artist David White.
Crazy Pig Designs has been hugely popular in Japan for many years. And the Japanese connection has now gone even further.
So, as well as selling to UK and international customers online using Barclaycard’s payment gateway, and in store in London with Barclaycard’s portable card readers, Armand now sells directly to Japanese customers in their new Tokyo store.
Having sold through a middleman for years, with customers waiting up to 12 months for delivery of their orders because of inefficiencies in the reseller’s processes, Armand decided it was time to give Japanese customers a much better experience.
This international expansion was driven by the desire to give all consumers great experiences, no matter where they’re based or how they shop.
Share your tips for giving customers great experiences:
How Barclaycard has helped Crazy Pig Designs grow in the UK and abroad