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Safe Assumption: Your Customers Aren’t Paying Attention

Just because your customers are buying from you, it doesn’t mean they know what else you have to offer.

Last week the president of GameStop, the leading brick-and-mortar video game shop in the U.S., announced something pretty surprising: “Believe it or not, only 40 percent of the people who walk into a GameStop store today know that we accept trades of games.”

For anyone who has ever been inside of a GameStop, at least one-third of the store is dedicated to selling used games for PlayStations, Xboxes and the like. Their loyalty program promotes a bonus for trade-ins. Their opening line to customers is “Thank you for choosing GameStop, where we buy and sell used games, how can I help you?”

And despite all of that, more than half of the customers – people who are ALREADY in their stores doing business – don’t realize they can trade in games for cash or credit. And, given that 70% of those trade-in credits go right back to the store on new purchases, it’s a pretty important part of GameStop’s business model – to the tune of $1.2 billion annually.

That’s Interesting, But I Don’t Run a Video Game Store

GameStop realizes this, and is putting even more emphasis on its trade-in program, but there is a valuable lesson here for every company: you need to assume that your customers are not paying attention.

Your customer is doing business with you for a reason, maybe even more than one reason. There are certain goods and services they value and that you deliver. But if they are not already utilizing one of your offerings, they probably aren’t paying attention to it.

Think about fast food for a minute. When they debut a new menu offering, they make a huge marketing and advertising push to build awareness. While this is undoubtedly in part an attempt to lure in new customers who are attracted to the new offering, it is just as much to clue in their current clientele that they should exit autopilot and try the new chipotle-avocado-ranch chicken sandwich on a pretzel bun instead of just getting the double cheeseburger they order every Tuesday.

They’re not just doing this to expand the palate of the double cheeseburger buyer, they are trying to get that person to come in on Tuesday AND Thursday because they associate more value and variety with their business.

How Do You Get Them to Pay Attention?

An existing customer is always easier to upsell compared to landing a new customer. And just like we have all been asked if we “would like fries with that,” we should make sure that everyone interacting with customers is making sure that are highlighting additional services as part of those interactions.

It can be as simple as “while I have you on the phone, have you heard about our new XYZ service?” or as sophisticated as segmenting your customer base to identify which customer types are already buying XYZ, which customers of that type have not yet bought XYZ and launching a targeted outreach campaign leveraging case studies and promotions to build awareness.

Regardless of how you attack the problem, the important thing is that you are doing SOMETHING. Adding a new tab to your web site or throwing something on a shelf in your retail locations may snag the occasional open-minded customer, but breaking through the autopilot mentality usually requires some effort.

You spent the time doing the research, developing the offering, pricing it and getting it out there to address the needs of your customer. Don’t forget the last mile of actually getting it in front of them when they are paying attention.

Kevin Costner may have built a baseball diamond in a cornfield with the promise “If you build it they will come,” but if he was adding corn dogs to the concession stands he would probably need to run some ads on the Jumbotron or use a T-shirt cannon to get the fans to look past their peanuts and Cracker Jacks.

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