Why Do Your Customers Shop With You?

May 17, 2007

As a store owner, one of the most important pieces of information you can have is the reasons your customers shop at your store. If you can give an answer that isn’t your personal opinion but an actual survey of your customers, you are ahead of the curve.

If all you have is a guess, then you are projecting your own preferences on your customers and may be completely wrong. This is a really bad way to run a business. If you don’t know why your customers shop with you, you can’t emphasize those reasons and may end up inadvertently doing something to change your customers’ opinion of your store.

I recommend asking your customers to fill out a simple, one page survey at the counter while they are waiting in line. You can give them a free holy card for filling it out.

Here are some good questions to ask:

  1. Do you prefer our store above all other places in town to buy Catholic gifts? Why or why not?
  2. Do you buy Catholic products on-line? If so, do you buy them from our website? (If you don’t have a website, get one.)
  3. Do you recommend our store to other people? Why or why not?
  4. What one thing do you wish we carried that we don’t?
  5. If you could design the “perfect” Catholic store, describe what it would be like.

From these five questions you can find out:

1) If your customers actually come to your store on purpose.
2) Whether or not you are losing sales to stores that have websites.
3) Whether or not your customers will risk their reputation by recommending your store to others.
4) What you should be carrying but don’t.
5) What you should be planning for for the future.

If your customers don’t shop at you for a reason other than convenience, buy Catholic things online from other businesses and don’t recommend you to friends, you have some problems that need to be fixed quickly.

First, you have to have an identity that extends beyond being “that Catholic store downtown”. If that’s all you have, someone who has a concrete mission and some initiative can take away your business very quickly.

Second, if your customers won’t recommend your store to others, you are going to have a very hard time increasing your business. Getting your customers excited about your store requires taking care of the first issue as well as focusing on customer service and making your store a place that people don’t feel grubby walking into. Keep the store clean, well lit and organized with clearly labeled sections.

Third, you really need to get a website. You may not personally shop on-line and many of your customers may not shop on-line but if you want to cater towards younger Catholics you are going to have to have a web presence. You can have someone do it for you, you can let us take care of the lion’s share of the work or you can hope that younger Catholics will always drive down to your store instead of buying stuff on-line.

Related posts:
What is your quest?
10 Tips for improving your Catholic store

A great Father’s Day gift idea!

May 16, 2007

We’re carrying a new line of men’s apparel from a Catholic-owned company called Lionheart.

Here’s a reprint of an article about the founder of Lionheart which ran in the April 22 issue of the Our Sunday Visitor newsweekly – it’s very inspiring – we hope you enjoy reading it:

 Article by Gina Giambrone – 

Mingling faith with success

Tarek Saab offers young men a way to share faith without words

When Donald Trump “fired” Tarek Saab during season five of “The Apprentice,” it wasn’t the end for Saab. It was only the beginning.

Since his time as a popular contestant on the 2006 season, the 28-year-old has become the CEO and co-founder of Lionheart Apparel, a clothing line for Christian men; authored the forthcoming book “Gut Check: Confronting Love, Work and Manhood in your Twenties” (Spence); initiated a successful speaking career; and began his life’s vocation when he married his wife, Kathryn, last May.

Yet in the midst of all of his successes, Saab manages to keep his primary focus on his faith.

“What is worth embracing more than your faith? A family member? A career? A car? All those things are important in their own way, but they are transient. Unless we focus on the eternal, it will ultimately profit us nothing,” Saab told Our Sunday Visitor.

“Personally, I am certain there is life after death, in the same way that I am certain that there is no life without God, so I would be unwise to do anything but make my faith the No. 1 priority in my life,” he added.

Giving men a role

But faith was not always on the forefront of Saab’s mind. While he was born and raised a Maronite Catholic, during his college years he experienced a period of spiritual disillusionment.

“Upon graduating, I was blessed to receive everything I wanted in life in a short period of time before realizing that none of those things — money, a nice car, a great job — made me happy,” he said. “In the search for happiness, I found my way back to the Catholic faith.”

Now Saab is dedicated to helping others, especially Catholic men in their 20s, find fulfillment in their faith as well. His work with Lionheart Apparel, which donates 10 percent of all profits to pro-life causes, is connected to this mission.

“Although a person is defined by their actions, we believe a person’s choice in clothing can make a statement, and our mission is to provide men with a way to declare their Christian beliefs to the world without saying a word,” he said. “Similar to sporting the jersey of a favorite athlete, our clothing line encourages men to identify with Christian role models throughout history.”

These three things

Saab also encourages Catholics to strengthen their faith through focusing on three things: prayer, the sacraments and spiritual education.

“If there is a deficiency in any of those three areas, then there really is no balance at all,” he said.

In his own life, Saab can attest to the power of prayer and the sacraments, which helped him discern his vocation. He and his wife first encountered one another at daily Mass and were married nine months after meeting. Now, as Saab declares boldly on his ultra-hip website ( http://www.tsaab.com), he and Kathryn hope to be blessed with “many, many children.”

While he had always wanted to be a husband and father of a large family, at age 26 Saab saw no prospects on the horizon. But he did not give up hope that God had a plan for his life.

“At that time I prayed fervently and wondered if God had different plans in mind,” he recalled. “As a Catholic man, I felt I had a duty to explore the possibility of the priesthood, and so I prayed for my vocation. Two months later I met my wife, and the rest, as they say, is history.”

With a history like his, the future looks bright.

Gina Giambrone, now Gina Loehr,  writes from Fond du Lac, Wisconsin. She is a speaker and freelance writer.

To view our complete selection of Tarek’s apparel line, click here.


Homer Simpson Would Be Proud

May 15, 2007

Annie (age 4) after dinner tonight: “I want some beer toys.”

When asked to elaborate: “Bottles of beer. But not real ones.”

So…If I get her O’Doule’s, does that count?

Happy Mother’s Day!

May 13, 2007

To my Mom, who has been a constant support and model all my life and an unwavering believer in our business.

To my wife, who has loved and cared for our family for over ten years.

To my mother-in-law, who gave me such a wonderful wife.

To my Nana, who has given me so many wonderful Christmas memories of the joys of a large family and delicious Mexican food.

To my Grandma, who was the best seamstress I know and made wonderful desserts. I miss you.

To my Godmother, who I don’t get to see often enough.

To our team members, Aline and Deb, who believe in our company vision and are in my prayers today.

Socialization vs. socialization

May 8, 2007

Via Maureen Wittmann’s blog.

Environmentalism = Population Control

May 7, 2007

I think I might have mentioned this a while back but here is black and white proof that people are willing to take the next step towards forced population control.

This really is a logical progression if you accept the basic premise and believe that people are just an especially toxic kind of animal:

1) Global warming is bad.
2) People cause global warming.
3) Fewer people = less global warming.
4) People should have fewer children.
5) People who don’t buy the gospel of environmentalism willingly should be fined for having more than two kids.
6) The Catholic Church should be suppressed.
7) People who still don’t learn their lesson should be forcefully sterilized or forced to have abortions.

The interesting thing about this article is that the unstated end goal of the group publishing the report is a complete eradication of the human race. The head scientist, John Guillebaud, co-chairman of OPT and emeritus professor of family planning at University College London (are you surprised?), says that people should have no more than two children per couple. Since it takes more than two children to maintain a stable population he obviously wants the mankind to completely disappear.

The most disturbing thing about these environmentalists is that they never see having children as a good thing. No thought is given to the possibility that one of these little polluters may come up with a way to clean up the environment or cure cancer or some other wonderful thing. Children are ALWAYS seen as a problem.

Fortunately, we have allies in this battle. NARAL and NOW will surely support the rights those who want to have more than two children. After all, they are all about choice.

If you have any doubt about the progression of thought on this, take a gander at the discussion going on over at Netscape about this article.

All hail Moloch.

When Marketing Runs Ahead of Ethics II

May 4, 2007

In the previous post on this topic I mentioned that Catholic Company had removed all of the questionable posts and stopped poaching on Google searches for our company name. Well, they’re back. Now they are poaching on our domain for Alexa searches and Google searches with a different company of theirs. Catholic Overstock is where they put all of their sale items.

You would think that after being called on it once and acknowledging that there was a problem by taking down the links, they would avoid doing it again. Makes you wonder where this company gets its ethics from.

Related Post:

 When Marketing Runs Ahead of Ethics