10 Smart Ways to Cater to Your Local Customers

You may work for a giant worldwide conglomerate that maintains a core set of values, standards, and practices, but can each of these standards be maintained in every venue? Well, if you’re the Ritz Carlton or McDonald’s, you can. (NOTE: McDonald’s has regional variations in their menu to accommodate local tastes)

But what if you work at a location that is having difficulty maintaining the corporate standards because your venue doesn’t conform to the design that the standards were developed for? Or what if you’re a franchised hotel that cannot match the rates of the corporate properties because you don’t offer the same amenities? Can you still provide the same level of service as others? I say yes, and you can even surpass them.

All “In-Person” Service is Local

All in-person service is local. It should match the tastes, needs, and expectations of the customers who frequent the business. Sure, you need to maintain a core set of values found in the other locations that carry the same name, but you certainly can cater to your target market and offer services not found anywhere else. This is what can set your business apart from the competition. But most importantly, you should do all you can to match the service and expectations of your local clientele.

10 Smart Ways to Cater to Your Local Customers

  1. Feature neighborhood leaders in your marketing and in-store promotions
  2. Offer regional dishes desired by the neighborhood immigrant population.
  3. Celebrate the national holidays of your customers with signage, decorations, and even music to match the occasion.
  4. For businesses that attract families, offer a small gift or candy for the young children to keep them amused while their parents are shopping.
  5. If you don’t want to offer candy, how about making a small but dedicated children’s play area? I bet that will keep the young ones busy and allow their parents to spend more money.
  6. If your business caters to tourists, feature foods or products from your fellow local businesses. Or you can promote those small but excellent businesses that may be off the usual tourist routes. Many travelers love to find those “non-touristy” attractions and will appreciate your efforts.
  7. Sponsor the local school sports teams with clothing or equipment or donate to the area hospital, senior center, or church.
  8. Use social media wisely. Many communities have a local Facebook Group. Be active in these groups and become known as a supporter of the comments and activities mentioned there. Don’t be known as trying to sell to the group but become known as a local business that can solve problems with your product or service.
  9. Plan an event that features one of your products. For example, a bakery can host an event entitled “Cake Baking Secrets”, or a clothing store can hold a fashion show right around the time of the high school prom. Events are great ways to get potential new customers from the neighborhood.
  10. Ask, simply ask them. Consumers who continually shop locally, do so for many reasons. One great way to keep them coming back is to ask them what additional products or services they wish you offered.

Customers want their local businesses to understand their needs and offer products they regularly need. The most successful ones cater to their needs every day, and these 10 ways will help you do that. Give them a try!


Steve DiGioia
Steve DiGioia
With 20+ years in the hospitality industry and a lifetime of customer service experience, Steve DiGioia shares real-world tips and tactics to improve your customer service, increase employee morale, and provide the experience your customers desire. As a certified trainer, author & speaker, Steve has been recognized as a 4-time “World’s Top 30 Customer Service Professional” by Global and a “Top Customer Service Influencer” by multiple industry-leading sources. He is also a featured contributor to the leading hospitality and customer service websites. With a tagline of “Finding Ways to WOW Your Customer”, Steve continues his pursuit of excellence on his award-winning blog sharing his best strategies on customer service, management, and leadership. Follow Steve on Twitter @Steve DiGioia.

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