Evolution is the key to retaining loyalty



I recently experienced a rather weird scenario.

I woke up one morning and noticed my room needed to be repainted. The colour that was once bright had lost its shine and there were minor cracks on the wall. It seemed strange as I spend every day in that room and had never picked up on this before. That day, however, my room looked completely different to me.

I asked myself why I had never noticed this before. And then it hit me. It was because I was wearing contact lenses. My eyesight is not quite perfect. Although I can get away most of the day without wearing glasses, putting them on makes a huge difference, especially when I drive at night. My brother often teased me about it, especially if I asked him to read signboards that were far away when we were out and about.

“Wear your glasses,” he’d tell me.

“They don’t look great,” I’d reply.

Contact lenses were not the solution either. I could not get used to them and they took a few extra minutes to put in – time I could not be bothered to spare. Anyhow, I finally gave in and, consequently, the world came into a new perspective. I then wondered why I had not done this sooner.

As I became accustomed to a brighter, higher quality vision, it was hard to imagine going back to the eyesight I had before. What was once acceptable was no longer at all.

My story reminded me of a key aspect of marketing a business that many entrepreneurs overlook.

Just because a product or service is faring well in the marketplace today does not mean that you should sit back and do nothing. The business world evolves every day. Your customers today may not be the same tomorrow. If you lose them, it may be hard to win them back.

A friend of mine would often argue: “If it’s not broken why fix it?” She used to manage a small clothing business in Bahrain.

Her first collection was extremely popular and her line was picked up by a number of boutiques. But she did not evolve her designs any further, refusing to keep up with the latest fashion trends or integrate them into her work.

Instead she stuck to her tried and tested formula, continuing to produce the same line of clothing with minor variations. Soon enough, the boutiques she worked with cancelled their consignment agreement and stopped submitting new orders. She was devastated, and to avoid damaging her business any further, she lowered her prices. It worked for a while but eventually she closed the enterprise down.

A dentist I used to visit had a similar philosophy. His clinic was once the go-to place in Abu Dhabi but it’s not so any more. He never developed the business; during a recent visit with a friend, nothing had changed since my last visit seven years ago. He did not offer the latest in cosmetic dentistry – something his fellow competitors did – and by not doing so many of his customers took their business elsewhere.

This takes me to my next point. Use your customer’s loyalty and enthusiasm for your brand to help develop it further. You can do this by involving them in the process. Make them feel like it is their brand as much as it is yours. If you own an eatery, then ask your customers what they would like added to the menu.

Yes, the soul of your business should remain the same, but ignoring market trends could cost you customers.

By continuously developing and evolving, not only will you retain your current customers but you will also attract new ones.

Manar Al Hinai is an award-winning Emirati writer and communications consultant based in Abu Dhabi. Twitter: @manar_alhinai.

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Europa League final

Who: Marseille v Atletico Madrid
Where: Parc OL, Lyon, France
When: Wednesday, 10.45pm kick off (UAE)
TV: BeIN Sports

Teaching your child to save

Pre-school (three - five years)

You can’t yet talk about investing or borrowing, but introduce a “classic” money bank and start putting gifts and allowances away. When the child wants a specific toy, have them save for it and help them track their progress.

Early childhood (six - eight years)

Replace the money bank with three jars labelled ‘saving’, ‘spending’ and ‘sharing’. Have the child divide their allowance into the three jars each week and explain their choices in splitting their pocket money. A guide could be 25 per cent saving, 50 per cent spending, 25 per cent for charity and gift-giving.

Middle childhood (nine - 11 years)

Open a bank savings account and help your child establish a budget and set a savings goal. Introduce the notion of ‘paying yourself first’ by putting away savings as soon as your allowance is paid.

Young teens (12 - 14 years)

Change your child’s allowance from weekly to monthly and help them pinpoint long-range goals such as a trip, so they can start longer-term saving and find new ways to increase their saving.

Teenage (15 - 18 years)

Discuss mutual expectations about university costs and identify what they can help fund and set goals. Don’t pay for everything, so they can experience the pride of contributing.

Young adulthood (19 - 22 years)

Discuss post-graduation plans and future life goals, quantify expenses such as first apartment, work wardrobe, holidays and help them continue to save towards these goals.

* JP Morgan Private Bank 

Company Profile

Company name: Namara
Started: June 2022
Founder: Mohammed Alnamara
Based: Dubai
Sector: Microfinance
Current number of staff: 16
Investment stage: Series A
Investors: Family offices

yallacompare profile

Date of launch: 2014

Founder: Jon Richards, founder and chief executive; Samer Chebab, co-founder and chief operating officer, and Jonathan Rawlings, co-founder and chief financial officer

Based: Media City, Dubai 

Sector: Financial services

Size: 120 employees

Investors: 2014: $500,000 in a seed round led by Mulverhill Associates; 2015: $3m in Series A funding led by STC Ventures (managed by Iris Capital), Wamda and Dubai Silicon Oasis Authority; 2019: $8m in Series B funding with the same investors as Series A along with Precinct Partners, Saned and Argo Ventures (the VC arm of multinational insurer Argo Group)

Who are the Soroptimists?

The first Soroptimists club was founded in Oakland, California in 1921. The name comes from the Latin word soror which means sister, combined with optima, meaning the best.

The organisation said its name is best interpreted as ‘the best for women’.

Since then the group has grown exponentially around the world and is officially affiliated with the United Nations. The organisation also counts Queen Mathilde of Belgium among its ranks.

KEY DATES IN AMAZON'S HISTORY

July 5, 1994: Jeff Bezos founds Cadabra Inc, which would later be renamed to Amazon.com, because his lawyer misheard the name as 'cadaver'. In its earliest days, the bookstore operated out of a rented garage in Bellevue, Washington

July 16, 1995: Amazon formally opens as an online bookseller. Fluid Concepts and Creative Analogies: Computer Models of the Fundamental Mechanisms of Thought becomes the first item sold on Amazon

1997: Amazon goes public at $18 a share, which has grown about 1,000 per cent at present. Its highest closing price was $197.85 on June 27, 2024

1998: Amazon acquires IMDb, its first major acquisition. It also starts selling CDs and DVDs

2000: Amazon Marketplace opens, allowing people to sell items on the website

2002: Amazon forms what would become Amazon Web Services, opening the Amazon.com platform to all developers. The cloud unit would follow in 2006

2003: Amazon turns in an annual profit of $75 million, the first time it ended a year in the black

2005: Amazon Prime is introduced, its first-ever subscription service that offered US customers free two-day shipping for $79 a year

2006: Amazon Unbox is unveiled, the company's video service that would later morph into Amazon Instant Video and, ultimately, Amazon Video

2007: Amazon's first hardware product, the Kindle e-reader, is introduced; the Fire TV and Fire Phone would come in 2014. Grocery service Amazon Fresh is also started

2009: Amazon introduces Amazon Basics, its in-house label for a variety of products

2010: The foundations for Amazon Studios were laid. Its first original streaming content debuted in 2013

2011: The Amazon Appstore for Google's Android is launched. It is still unavailable on Apple's iOS

2014: The Amazon Echo is launched, a speaker that acts as a personal digital assistant powered by Alexa

2017: Amazon acquires Whole Foods for $13.7 billion, its biggest acquisition

2018: Amazon's market cap briefly crosses the $1 trillion mark, making it, at the time, only the third company to achieve that milestone

About Takalam

Date started: early 2020

Founders: Khawla Hammad and Inas Abu Shashieh

Based: Abu Dhabi

Sector: HealthTech and wellness

Number of staff: 4

Funding to date: Bootstrapped


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