As you can probably imagine, ‘She Who Must…’ is quite partial to a weekend excursion in the (it seems ) never ending search to find things with which to fill up the house. I am more often than not dragged along on these ‘adventures’ to make all the correct noises when various small furnishings and curiosities are waved in my direction, as well as to give the casual observer the impression that what is going on might be some sort of joint decision.
The saving grace to these longer excursions is the very real need for a good sit down and a cup of tea at some point … and I have to tell you about a quite excellent experience that also provided another example of something we can apply to our online businesses.
Tea on this occasion was at ‘The Vineyard’ in Berkshire (just down the road from the place that I’m told doubles as ‘Downton Abbey’) and as you might suspect with a name like ‘The Vineyard’, the establishment was slightly more famous for its wine selection (in fact one of the largest in the country at over 30,000 bottles) than it’s afternoon teas … but the clever way they crossed over the ‘matched’ wine experience to this much more humble activity (without at all making it seem over the top or ridiculous) was really rather brilliant.
Whereas, if you dined there, the restaurant sommelier would discuss with you and recommend the best wine for each of your courses, with afternoon tea, their tea ‘sommelier’ came out and recommended a particular tea (right down to blend and age) to go with the sandwiches, the subsequent scones jam and cream and finally the little cakes and pastries… and I must say she got it spot on.
Being of a slightly mischievous turn of mind, I did of course try each of the teas with exactly what they weren’t supposed to go with, just to make sure – and true enough, you shouldn’t be sipping green tea whilst nibbling on a chocolate éclair…
The whole thing added an extra dimension to the experience, an experience I’ll be looking to repeat quite soon, and judging from how busy the place was, I was not the only one that thought it was a good idea … and with the ‘matched tea’ option adding almost half again to the cost of the whole afternoon tea, for what amounted to, in terms of expense for the venue, a couple of extra cups of tea – there is a fantastic increase in profit as well as a mechanism to attract extra customers.
So, how can we translate this to what we do?
Well, the world wide web as we know it is not much more than 25 years old, and I don’t think I’d be far wrong by suggesting that almost everyone reading this is a little older than that, so there is a wealth of experience we can bring forward to our online businesses from whatever it was we were doing before.
Did you perhaps work in a retail environment where your customer service standards and practices, if you applied them to your online business would put you head and shoulders above your competitors … or were you part of a logistics business where the processes involved now give you an insight into how to streamline your online business so you can outperform the others?
Of course it doesn’t have to be quite as sweeping as that (though it could be), but you’ll agree that by applying techniques you will have learnt elsewhere, you will probably not only improve your online endeavours, it will probably give you a unique and memorable edge that can only be to your advantage…
Until Next Time,
Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down