Friday, October 05, 2007

The Price of Loyalty

Well, they took all their books out of 'Window 1', and filled it with a poster and some leaflets inviting you to join the gang. They had a competition to see which branch/region persuaded the most people to join the gang (perhaps you got some Waterstone's points if you won). I've even joined the gang myself. They're offering double points if you buy Pam Ayres best poems on CD, amongst other things, and i'm sure it's all marvellous. I'm sure that if there was a Waterstone's in which to be loyal to in Wood Green it would be very popular. But alas, there isn't....
I've been thinking about these loyalty schemes recently, and considering ways in which we could reward our customers for shopping in the new shop. I'm not naive enough to assume that customers will just flock through our doors the moment we open. We certainly want to create a mailing list, to invite customers to our fabulous events, and evenings, and also to let them know what offers we're having, but I think that we need to be able to thank our customers for shopping with us with some sort of reward.
So i've got an idea that I wonder if anyone else has considered. It's not just little bookshops that are being affected by big aggressive businesses. There are Supermarkets, and foul fast-food joints that are squeezing a lot of the local small businesses as well. Perhaps introducing a community reward system in which a customer was rewarded for shopping at their local shops, like fishmongers, restaurants, greengrocers or bookshops etc, then it would benefit the whole community. Now please understand, i've not thought this through completely, but if you could persuade say five or six other shops in your locality to join, then you could cushion the cost and also increase your marketing power. You would be an kind of unofficial chain! The hardest thing would be to decide how the reward system would work. Points per pound spent, vouchers if more than a certain amount is spent. Or maybe something else, i don't know.
There are plenty of questions about how you would split the costs, and who counts as local, but i'm going to think about it a bit more now.
Just to let you know about two books i've read this year. Tescopoly by Andrew Simms (amazingly, available on tesco online), and How to be Free by Tom Hodgkinson (idle god)....... which probably explains a lot.


Eoin Purcell said...

Seems like a great idea to me!
Though difficult to organise!

Anonymous said...

It's called a Wedge card.

We take them.

Matthew from C & P

Tim West and Simon Key said...

Hello Matthew,
I was made aware of the Wedge Card yesterday as I was writing this.Looks great, but I guess it's not advertised that well(cos' i'd never heard of it until I did some research on the internet). We'll definitely sign up for it.
But I'm looking at a system that has a positive effect on the local community, that will benefit Wood Green.
The Wedgecard hopefully will get more recognised, as it's a relatively new thing, and I suppose the more people that take it, the bigger it will get.

Chris said...

I reckon a more "localised" Wood Green-card would be a better option for the shop guys - you could call it the "Green Card" or even a "Woody"?

(Mind you, that could cause embarrassment when you ask a customer, "have you got Wood?" ;-) )

As for "Tescopoly" being sold via Tesco-Online, I'm not surprised: if a book has an ISBN then it's automatically registered with any retailer who uses the Nielsen system.

Nevertheless, it's still irony.