Four Things Small Businesses Can Take Away from the South Beach Food and Wine Festival
The South Beach Food and Wine was this past weekend. My husband and I attended for fun, not work (Woot Woot!). But since we’re never really “off the clock,” I thought I’d bring back some learnings for you that can easily be applied to your business.
Offer Great Service
This one really goes without saying, but I can’t stress how true this is. The Grand Tasting is one of the signature events for the Festival and it gets pretty crowded. Festival parking was in Downtown, away from the mad rush of the beach, with shuttle transportation. It was our first time taking the shuttle, so I didn’t really know what to expect.
I’m pleased to say it ran with Disney precision. There were plenty of shuttles, and the ride was quick. When we disembarked, there were Festival volunteers there to greet us and show us the way to the entrance, which was about a block away.
The lines to get your tote bags and goodies were equally well-organized. Think of a big TJ Maxx checkout, but outside with flip flops and wine glasses. My point here is that this really exceeded my expectations. And when your customers are not expecting a level of service, and you deliver, you’ve secured their loyalty.
Do something that wows your customers. This doesn’t necessarily have to be expensive, just different enough to be memorable. I’ll explain. The brands that really accomplished this were Botran Rum and Matua Wines. Botran offered a signature cocktail in a bamboo cup. That’s right – recyclable, sustainable, and memorable. It was quite the conversation starter. The second was Matua Wines. Matua had a seating area, so clearly they did invest some marketing dollars on their brand presence. But that’s not really what stood out. They offered a charging station in their area, which also gave us more time to sample their offerings. Had they not offered the station, I might not have stopped. But I did and tried two of their products. (Bonus: They gave me free flip flops.) Again, they were memorable and unexpected.
Discounts seem cliché. Like doesn’t everyone offer discounts? Yes, they do because they work. Discounts make people feel special. Several restaurants and brands offered coupons and discounts for free appetizers, free desserts, etc. Sometimes a simple discount offer is all it really takes to convince someone to give your business or service a try. You have nothing to lose on this one.
Let your customers know that you, “get them.” I’ll use Tiffany Theissen as an example on this one. During her cooking demonstration, she brought her daughter and baby onstage. Her cooking style is focused on healthy, home-cooked meals. Her position as a business woman, wife, and mother resonates with her viewers. This tells her fans, “I’m just like you. Cooking delicious healthy meals for my family is important to me too.” Bridging the distance between your business and your customers is critical to building lasting loyalty.