Today's Pitstop crosses lanes with Rolled Up as host Lucas Walker sits down with Omnisend CEO Rytis Lauris to talk the value of empathic-philosophies and the vices of e-commerce business.
Needless to say, the Walt Disney Company has become one of the largest single business entities, in the world of media at least, that have ever existed, crawling their way up from two brothers and an easel to a global land development and merchandise producer. no matter how big a company like Disney gets though, there are still some very important lessons even single-operator small businesses can take away from the monopolistic House of Mouse.
Take for instance the way they treat and interact with their customers, who they call anything but the overly transactional term “customers”, bringing them into a larger cultural identity as Disney consumers, with all the auspices of magic and wonder they can muster. While this may seem like patronizing your patrons, pretending they’re more than just people buying an item or service your selling, many industry experts and insiders, like Omnisend CEO Rytis Lauris, view this re-associative labelling as all important to not just defining your brands relationship with its clients and consumers, but as well re-enforcing that specific approach to relationships in the minds of you and your staff.
To Rytis, customers, who he calls “investors”, are the true focus of any business. A product without a buyer is still a product, unchanged and inactive, but a buyer without a product is anything but, capable of a great deal of change and activity to achieve their goals, acting in anyway from starting their own business to fill a void in the market, to inventing an alternative, shopping at a competitor, or outright stealing a desired product. Losing track of the importance of your consumers to you, losing focus on empathy, and making sure your customers get a higher value experience out of your store than just being able to buy an item, is the difference between being a faceless supplier and being a brand people are proud and excited to shop at, and how you consider them should reflect this close relationship, trust and reliance.
For e-commerce businesses, the previous year’s global crisis has been both a blessing and curse. While the industry exploded in terms of size and sales, reaching heights not expected for another decade, this sudden rise to the forefront of the market has lead to a lot of unexpected stress for some operators. “At the very beginning of Covid and the lock downs, there was a lot of uncertainty” explained Rytis. “We saw some of our customers going out of business or having layoffs, and we had those questions and concerns raised by our team members as well”. Rather than allowing worry, uncertainty and fear take hold, Rytis and Omnisend doubled down on believing in the community of customers they had built, on the strength of their relationships with clients, and on helping to keep them afloat to help keep Omnisend successful.
Investing in empathy, says Rytis, is the true difference between making it and breaking it for many businesses, especially those that have a proven track record and should be wildly profitable in good times. Downturns happen, be it personally, in your business, or on a global scale, and we all of us always remember who was there in the hard and lean times, and who wasn’t. Being considerate of a customer’s needs at their time of need, can win you a valued partner for years to come when they’re back on their feet, or rob you of long term investment in disdainful protest of your negligence.
Put your customer at the centre of your business, focus everything you do around best serving them and their needs, and they will not only remain with you through thick and thin, but will spread the word about your brand and help you reach even higher, loftier goals of your own. Ultimately, they are the ones buying your product, and paving your road to success, so give them the focus, time, respect and attention they deserve.
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