Wild Birds Unlimited Nature Shops Soaring High Through Recession
June 10, 2009 // Franchising.com // Carmel, IN - Despite economic conditions that have hampered many retail businesses, Wild Birds Unlimited (WBU), the leading backyard bird feeding specialty store franchise, has experienced sales growth by relying on their brand equity and strong relationships with loyal customers.
WBU's 2009 success (at the end of April WBU same store sales were up almost 10% year to date) is due in large part to each WBU franchise store owner's ability to differentiate their products and services from their competition, offer their customers an exceptional shopping experience and apply the strategies and tactics that are recommended by the WBU Franchise Support Center.
"At the end of 2008 we took a strategic look at the marketing tactics for our local stores and asked them to be daring and agile," said Kermit Wilfon, Marketing Director at Wild Birds Unlimited. "To respond to customers' desires and the retail environment, we changed our annual marketing plan to a quarterly one," Wilfon added.
The quarterly plan focuses on the basic tactics to communicate with loyal customers on a consistent basis, sharing seasonally appropriate birding activity and tips that help customers participate in these events and get the maximum enjoyment. Community outreach continues to be a foundational new customer acquisition tactic.
Franchisees have spoken of their appreciation of the "back to basics" concept, and customers have shared that they enjoy learning more about birds, the hobby and what products are needed to have the most success at a variety of birding activities.
"I believe our monthly newsletter and its 'how to' section reinforces our position as the community resource for nature information, enhances our relationship with our customers and provides them with knowledge that increases their enjoyment of their corner of the world," said Susan Maranhao, co-owner of the Sudbury, Massachusetts WBU store.
"We have built a trust with our customer base," continued Wilfon. "They know they can come into any one of our stores and talk to our Backyard Bird Feeding Specialists and get answers to questions that range from 'What kind of food do chickadees eat?' to 'How do I keep squirrels off my bird feeders?'"
"I would've never known how to keep the bluebirds coming to my yard if it weren't for the staff at Wild Birds Unlimited," said Doug & Karrin Haller, customers at the Indianapolis, Indiana WBU store. "We've been thrilled with the product, knowledge and experience of the staff. You just can't get that at other stores," added the Hallers.
Wild Birds Unlimited is the original and largest franchise system of backyard bird feeding and nature specialty stores with more than 275 locations throughout the United States and Canada. Wild Birds Unlimited specializes in bringing people and nature together with bird feeding and nature products, expert advice and educational events.