And now the rest of our results from the past two weekends.
5. Out of the groups we saw, I think we’ll get some repeat customers, which is what this whole thing is about. If we advertise to 3000 people, we see 100. If we see 100, we see 20 again at least once. Of those 20, 2 become regulars. It’s the old sales funnel. It doesn’t change. We worked hard all day and probably gained 2-3 regulars. That’s a win in an operation our size.
6. For all the increased business and extra people, I didn’t work any harder than normal. I only gave eight tours. One every hour, with an hour break at lunch. This is what efficiency feels like. Same work, more results.
Not everything can be good though. What didn’t work with our test?
- Spork wasn’t here. And the girls were not here during the afternoon. Erin came up and covered for us from lunch till 4 (Thanks Erin!!). SWMBO came and covered from 4-5 (Thanks Darlin’). Crystal wanted off to go to the beach and I had to tell her no, for which I felt bad. Staffing was an issue but really had nothing to do with our experiment.
- It was feast or famine in the store. Between tour groups we’d have some regulars but on occasion we’d be empty and the girls would get bored. Then a tour would return and 20 people would be in the store and it would be crazy. People would have to wait to check out. Regulars couldn’t get in. We need a way to smooth it out some in the store.
- We had a person with limited mobility. Giving a riding tour and walking tour at the same time is cumbersome. I got lucky and we were able to cram all three groups into the Gator. We cannot rely on that to happen in the future.
- We need better signage for groups. People didn’t know where to go, or where to meet. “Tour starts here” or something would be helpful.
- We had people try to take their own tours. They didn’t know better. They just saw groups walking around so they thought it was ok. We need signage that says “No unescorted customers beyond this point” or something similar. Also, I probably need to create a sign of rules to post somewhere. Hot wires are hot. Pigs bite. Don’t walk behind cows. Hands and feet inside the Gator at all times. Ask questions. Unsupervised children will be given a piglet and an espresso. That kind of stuff.
- We had one group that was a handful of moms and a bunch of young kids. It just so happened that all three groups were a mom and 3-4 kids. That’s a tough tour group. The kids are loud and semi out of control. On the Gator I tend to drive a lot more and talk a lot less. But walking I couldn’t keep the motion up and they got bored and loud. It was doable for me. For Spork, it may be tougher.
So all in all, our test went well. We didn’t really spend that much money on advertising and we were able to move the needle in the store. We spent about $620 in lost revenue for not charging for tours. Figure another $80 in adverting (it wasn’t that much) just to make it a round number of $700 total cost. Over the two weekends, we definitely moved the top line needle more than that cost. That doesn’t translate into bottom line dollars of equal value but over the long term, if we picked up 4-5 new repeat customers then we should make our money back on what we spent. That’s about as good as it gets. What does that mean going forward. At this point I’m not sure I know. I think this will have to be part of a discussion where we see what we want to do. Until then, we are having a pig petting party this weekend which is a completely different experiment. But more on that, in the next post.