In 2010, after seventeen years in arts marketing, Jan McTaggart opened up a greengrocer, Clementine of Broughty Ferry, with her business partner Carole Sommerville. In just three years, Clementine has built up a loyal and varied customer base (they deal with around 78,000 customer transactions a year). In this article for CultureHive, Jan makes observations of the parallels in customer motivation and behaviour between the arts and independent retail. She talks about customer perceptions, expectations, barriers and motivations, and some of the steps they have taken at Clementine to develop positive customer experiences.
The motivations to attend the arts are very similar to the motivations to use independent retailers. The ‘because it’s good for you’ reason is a major reason for people participating in culture and, more obviously, for eating fresh fruit and vegetables. But fresh produce is easily available in the supermarket, so some people choose to shop with us because it’s also good for the local economy. Some people like to be obvious about it extolling the benefits of shopping local to whoever will listen while others are happier showing their support by consistent and regular patronage.
It will always be easier to stay home and watch TV than it is to get out and go to the theatre. And it would be easier for my customers to get all their food from the supermarket so we have to keep rewarding them with free tasters on the counter, exclusive access to special products, our loyalty cards, opening a bit early just for them or by remembering their names. All the common sense rewards we also offer our customers in the arts.