Small, locally owned businesses have a reputation for customer service. From auto body shops to sporting goods stores, small businesses are often known for friendly faces, specialized expertise and quality service. Their welcoming atmospheres help these businesses stand out from their big-box and national chain counterparts. Now, at a time when businesses big and small are increasingly leveraging new technologies, it may be more important than ever for small businesses to maintain their in-store atmospheres by investing in organic intelligence.
The idea of investing in organic intelligence came, at least in part, from NYU professor and serial entrepreneur Scott Galloway. In a recent interview for the popular podcast Recode Decode, Galloway explained the concept:
“I think the way to make money in retail, and the retailers that are doing well, is what I would call zigging while Amazon’s zagging. Everyone’s trying to figure out a way to invest in technology to take people out. I think the best ROI for retailers right now is an investment in organic intelligence.”
Galloway’s advice tells small businesses to play to their strengths. Particularly as consumers devote more of their budgets toward experiences rather than things, this advice makes practical sense.
“People are no longer going to stores for product, they’re going for people,” Galloway said. “If they’re going to go in a store they want amazing service, amazing expertise, insight, navigation to the right product right away.”
To invest in organic intelligence, small business owners should focus on their people. Make sure employees are passionate about the work they’re doing and feel valued along the way. To foster passion and morale, consider implementing training programs and regular team-bonding activities. Give employees a forum for voicing their suggestions and take the time to address their complaints individually. When employees demonstrate their passion and enthusiasm on the job, customers are sure to respond. They’ll feel more satisfied with their trip to the store and the purchases they made while there.
Investing in organic intelligence also means giving customers a reason to visit the store in the first place. Customers can get product reviews and how-to videos online, but they can’t demo tools or sample new treats from behind their laptops and tablets. Enhance your in-store experience with the right opportunities for customers and the right employees for your business to truly make the most of the brick-and-mortar marketplace.
For most small businesses, investing in organic intelligence is second nature. It doesn’t require learning a new trick or conquering a new tool. Rather, it demands that small business owners focus on their roots by providing good, quality customer service for each consumer who walks through the door.