Last Sunday, I entered a mall for the first time since lockdown life began in March of 2020. It was also my first trip to Mumbai in over two years, and I was being treated to lunch at an awesome Asian restaurant called ‘Foo’. After an exquisite meal, I stepped out onto the first floor of the mall and the shops were calling me. Well to be completely honest, I had also overeaten and it felt like a walkabout in the nice air-conditioned environment would do me some good. I had no plans of buying anything for myself, but did want to find a small gift to take home for wifey.
All my shopping (the little I have done) in the last two years has been online. Other than foodstuff, household supplies, and travel-related shopping, Christmas and birthday gifts have been the triggers for buying stuff. Somehow, the urge to splurge had disappeared. On the odd occasion that something caught my eye online, I asked myself, “do you need this Dey?” and the answer was always “No”.
That afternoon in Mumbai was different. Even after getting the gift, I kept feeling the urge to buy stuff. Everything looked so inviting in the shop window. I would get drawn into the store and then, I would see something else that looked interesting and so the afternoon went. Orange shoes seemed to be the common denominator, that kept catching my attention. Every store I entered had a brighter and bolder and more audacious pair. And I went in and eyed them all. Each time I told myself “No, you don’t need this Nikhil. Behave.” and I would put them down and walk away.
In the middle of all this talking to myself, we chanced upon a pop up store in the middle of the mall selling something called ‘Meemee’s Toasties’. My friend said they were delicious and despite being “fully fed-up” I ended up having not just one, but two toasties. If I had not walked into this pop up store, I would not have had those toasties for sure. Similarly, if I had not walked into about 5 different sports goods stores, I would not have been lusting after those bright orange shoes that had captured my fancy. I patted myself on the back as I sat in the car heading away from the mall. “Good boy Nikhil, you did not give into unnecessary temptation”.
Little did I realise that the seed or should I say “orange pip” had been planted and the desire was now going to keep growing. Later that evening, scrolling through my Instagram feed, orange shoes seemed to be chasing me. I know how this works, I had checked out the reviews of a few pairs online, while I was standing in the store and now my digital footprints had left a trail for those orange shoes to follow. I still stayed strong. And then it happened. An email popped into my inbox. A super deal. A sale was on and it was too good to be true. 50% off on a pair of bright orange shoes. Not just any shoes. Shoes that I could play tennis in. One love I could resist, but orange + Tennis + 50% discount, I had no hope. I hit the buy now button, selected my size, and pressed order now.
Location. Location. Location. This is the oldest saying about what it takes to succeed in the retail business. Visibility. Visibility. Visibility. It’s the same in the Public Relations and Communications business. Add the two together and the truth is staring me in the face, in plain sight. The power of being in full sight for a customer, being there when they need you for sure, but also just being there, when they don’t know that they need you.
I had no clue I needed a pair of orange tennis shoes till I went into that mall. And once they had me in their sights, they held on tight. They did not let go, they followed up. On my Insta page, they stayed visible. And then when I was least expecting it they popped up in my inbox with an offer I could not refuse and we are now up and running together.
Stay in-sight, that’s the simple insight. I may have bought my shoes online, but the sale actually happened in the real world, as I stood in that mall, falling in love with those orange shoes. The hybrid life is here to stay. Love all, let the games begin, my orange shoes and I am out and about and we are playing to win.
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