Last month I went our for lunch with a friend to a new Italian restaurant in the neighbourhood.
The place was done up very nicely. The walls has thoughtful paintings, the furniture looked classy and the staff was friendly. The menu design seemed artistic. To top it all, the food was also good and the prices were well within the rage of what you would expect from such an establishment.
The restaurant distinguished itself further by having two of us as the only customers on a Friday afternoon.
This is constantly occurring theme.You start a business or launch a new product but no one shows up. So what can we do to kick start the business? In my experience, I have found that the following five things can start the customers inflow.
#1. Communicate : Any new product or business needs to communicate to the target market. This may seem like a no brainer, but in many cases, a new product is not supported by adequate communication. It need not be an expensive advertising campaign. It could be a simple mailer, posters in offices and apartment complexes, emails to people you know. You could also combine it with some events. For example, some restaurants have stand up comics on specified days of the week.
# 2. Free trial: India became a tea drinking country because of free trails. In the days of British Raj, the representatives of Brook Bond used to go to villages and towns to offer free tea. Once people got used to the beverage, it started selling it in local stores. Similarly, many software companies offer a limited period free trail.
#3. Loss Leader: Companies can always offer one item or a smaller version of hottest selling product at a low price to attract the customers. Many restaurants offer low priced entree to attract the customers. KFC has a Rs. 25 Burger which is smaller than regular burger, but it attracts a lot of first time buyers. Many restaurants start lunch buffet to attract value conscious customers.
#4. Small packet size: If the product is expensive, then a small size package can be a good trial strategy. Since the small size package has a low price, people would have lower hesitation in trying it. A popular brand of popcorn in India used this strategy.
#5. Refund guarantee: In many cases, especially white goods or software a 100% refund guarantee within first few months of purchase gives confidence to the users to try the product. If the product is good, the refund rate should be very low.
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