Looking for a new angle for your advertising or social media promotions? Take a walk through your store and see what items you carry that might solve a problem or need for a customer.  We sell a lot of fat separators for gravy at this time of year — but there are still plenty of cooks out there who are concerned about making healthier gravy but have never heard of such a thing, or don’t know that we carry them. We need to let them know that we can solve their gravy issue for them.

When customers are looking for a light-weight, American-made gift to take abroad, we have certain favorite items to recommend — for example the flexible cutting boards by Microthin, made in Wisconsin, or a Frank Lloyd Wright wooden trivet. Problem solved.

If a shopper is wondering what baby toy is safe, useful and universally appealing, Sophie the Giraffe comes to the rescue. Need a birthday gift for an aunt in a nursing home? Take a look at our battery-operated candles with a self-timer that turns them off after a couple of hours. Dry hands? Let’s give you a sample of Crabtree & Evelyn hand therapy to try.

All of these “solutions” to shoppers needs are ideal opportunities for customer service, of course, but also for promotion.  You may need to bring the problem to the customer’s attention first, because they may not have realized that there is a solution. (Gravy has always had a lot of fat in it, so that must be the only way to make it.) 

Once you’ve stated the problem, it’s simple to promote the solution.  Whether you are planning a headline for a print ad, or writing copy for an  item on your web site, try to problem/solution method to focus on the way the product will improve your customer’s life.  

The problem/solution format is ideal for short bursts of information, whether on Twitter, Facebook or in an e-mail blast. Of course the best promotion is when someone gives a  testimonial about the virtues of a product (as often happens at this time of year on TV news shows about cooking for the holidays). But we don’t mind tooting our own horn if it helps bring customers into the store, and puts products in their hands that will make them glad they shopped with us.

Happy Retailing,

Carol “Orange” Schroeder