Build Customer Loyalty by Focusing on Customer Outcomes

The only way to compete with Amazon is to provide stellar customer experiences.

learn more about Gordon Tredgold

By Gordon Tredgold

Thomas Barwick | Getty Images

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

A common question I'm asked is: How can you compete with Amazon, which provides excellent customer service and offers the same products at the same prices you do?

This is a tough question, and it's one that more and more businesses are going to have to answer if it is going to survive in the digital age, as Amazon starts to expand into more markets.

Related: The 5 Emotions That Drive Customer Loyalty

Just recently Amazon moved into the Office Stationary Department, and it grossed $1 billion in its first year.

Now, while this might feel daunting, it's not an impossible situation to be in, but you do need to think outside of the box and look at things differently.

You need to ask yourself: What do people really want? What is that they are really looking for?

People are not always just looking for products, they are moreso looking for outcomes, and if you can understand what those outcomes are, then you can look to help them achieve those outcomes, rather than just sell people a product.

A great example of this is a local sports store, the Delray Beach Running Company, which I'm a customer of.

Many of the products that it offers can be found online, and because the prices are set by the manufacturer, it can't compete on price, even if it wanted to.

So how does it tackle this problem?

Well, it understands the outcomes that its customers are looking for.

It knows that people don't just want to buy running gear. It knows that its customers are actually looking to improve their running or that they want to complete their first 10k run, half-marathon or full-marathon and that the running shoes are just an aid to achieving those goals.

Once it understands the desired outcome, now it can move from being a company that sells running shoes to being a company that helps people achieve their running goals.

It does this by offering running coaches; organizing training sessions; providing people with running plans; and also getting running experts, such as Jim Galloway to come out, and give talks on running.

Delray Beach Running Company even runs with many of the first-timers, ensuring that they achieve their desired outcomes.

Its approach is not about trying to improve customer service to compete with bigger players and online retailers. It's about building a loyal community by helping people achieve their goals and desired outcomes.

The company regularly has 30 to 40 people running at its training sessions on Tuesday and Thursday evenings and on Saturday mornings. This means that it has 30 to 40 people, visiting its store two to three timer per week. It has become a trusted advisor on everything running related, and it just so happens to sell many of the products that you're going to need on your running journey, such as shoes, running gear and also the food supplements that you need to complete many of the longer races.

Related: Analyzing the Science Behind Customer Loyalty

There is no hard sell because people are happy to buy. Remember the adage, people buy from those they know like and trust, well this has now become people willingly buy from those they know, like, trust and who help them achieve their goals.

At the Delray Beach Running Company, people are not just customers, they are full blown advocates, referring friends, who want to run their first half- or full-marathon, knowing that they will get help to achieve that goal. They even wear branded sporting goods, showing their allegiance to the community, cheering each other on as they complete their goals.

Here's a picture of me running the Fort Lauderdale Marathon - not in the Nike top -- but in a Delray Beach Running Club top. Why? Beacuse of customer loyalty.

I now buy all of my running equipment there - even the commodities, like energy drinks, power bars and supplements, which I could buy cheaper online. Delray Beach Running Company is now my go-to expert on anything that is running related.

Related: Customer Loyalty Is Spelled N-P-S

At the Delray Beach Running Company, it doesn't spend money on marketing its products; it spends money on marketing its training programs, and the outcomes that people can achieve. It knows and understands that people don't just want products; they want results. And they also know that this is an area in which it can compete with the likes of Amazon and larger retailers, which just sell products.

Gordon Tredgold

Entrepreneur Leadership Network Contributor

Global Gurus Top 10 Leadership Expert, Speaker and Trainer

Gordon Tredgold is one of Global Guru's Top 10 Leadership Experts. He has worked in senior leadership positions, delivering $100 million projects and running $300 million departments. He now helps clients become leaders who are in demand, know how to succeed and get paid the big bucks.

Related Topics

Editor's Pick

The Dark Side of Pay Transparency — And What to Do If You Find Out You're Being Underpaid
Thinking of a Career Change? Here Are 4 Steps You Can Take to Get There.
A Founder Who Bootstrapped Her Jewelry Business With Just $1,000 Now Sees 7-Figure Revenue Because She Knew Something About Her Customers Nobody Else Did
Everything You Need to Know About Franchise Law
Money & Finance

7 Ways to Make Extra Income Even With a Full-Time Job

Want to make more money? Real estate investing, Amazon ecommerce and the sharing economy are waiting for you.


How to Cope With Career Baggage and Heal Emotional Scars From Past Jobs

Here's how professional scar tissue can show up in new roles — and a few tips for managing it effectively.


Improving Yourself Takes 9.6 Minutes of Work Each Day

Micro-habits are the antidote to a chaotic world, offering a pathway to sustainable change.


Reduce Fleet Downtime With These 5 Strategies

Irrespective of the timing or cause, there are strategies or approaches to effectively managing and decreasing fleet downtime.


50 Work-From-Home Jobs that Pay As Much or More than Average Salary

If you're tired of driving to an office and would love to work at home, there are plenty of high-quality full-time work-from-home jobs for you.


How to Select the Right PR Partner in Today's Economy

While it may seem complicated, identifying a good PR fit is crucial for your company's longevity.