Content Marketing Lessons from a Village Veggie Shop

It was the middle of the week, and the veggies I bought on Friday had already gone bad. Very annoying!

It usually happened when I shopped at the regular supermarket. The veggies ended up in the trash, and I found myself driving down to the nearby Arab village, where the stores never seem to close. There are several greengroceries as well as some minimarkets in Abu Ghosh. I didn’t shop there regularly because I found them to be messy and dirty. I needed to double check the expiry dates on every item.

It took me a while to notice there was one exception. Fruit which I bought at the smallest, but also the cleanest veggie store stayed fresh for an entire week. This little place off the main road seemed to have better quality than any other store.

After a while, the owner started greeting me whenever I arrived. He would sometimes take the bags off my hands and put them on the small counter, gesturing that it was OK and he would remember they’re mine. Sometimes he would suggest specific fruit, which was exceptionally tasty at the time. He regularly sent someone to help me carry my stuff to the car.

Needless to say, I stopped buying fruit and veggies in the supermarket and became a regular.

His competition is a large vegetable store in a convenient location on the main road, just on the way home. It is at least five times the size and includes a large organic foods section. Many people from the surrounding kibbutzim and villages are health- and environmentally conscious. The prices are high. The variety of fresh greengrocery, however, is not any more generous. Despite its larger size, the store has only one cashier. I never received assistance with anything.

You understand, why I preferred the extra drive to my smaller, friendlier quality veggie-place. I turned it into a habit to shop for fresh foodstuffs on Fridays, like most other people. Kareem, the owner, would greet me, even when the place was packed. He knew most of his other customers as well and found time to chat and recommend specialties.

Kareem seems to know what individual customers are looking for. Despite the crowdedness, no one ever waits long. Each shopper stacks his goods in a box on the counter while continuing to collect apples and cucumbers into it. There is one guy operating the cashier and another one packing. As soon as one box is empty, the next customer gets to use it.

In time Kareem equipped the porch with shelves and a roof to make it suitable for additional goods to be laid out. He placed a scale and an extra cashier and uses it at times the shop is jam-packed. On Fridays in springtime, he offers flowers for sale at the entrance.

Next door is a little grocery store. I never paid much attention to it. That’s because other then basic foodstuffs the store didn’t have much to offer.

A few months ago a new owner took over. He rearranged the interior to make better use of space and added a range of products, including an entire section of organic foodstuffs. He keeps the shelves clean, and he frequently renews the merchandise.

You probably guessed it, Kareem from the veggies is the new owner. Now, all his countless regular customers shop for groceries in the store next-door.

And that’s not all. Kareem keeps expanding. He also acquired the little bakery located on the other side of the grocery shop. At the moment it is closed, but we are all anticipating its reopening with curiosity and excitement.

Kareem is turning his corner into a little commercial center.

So, how did he do it and why do I think, as a content marketer I can learn from him?
Let’s imagine fruits and veggies are content items.

One: Know your customer.
Kareem makes sure he knows what his customers want and need. He is at the store every day and pays attention to what people are looking for and what they buy.

Two: Set yourself a quality standard and be consistent.
Quality – consistent best quality. Nothing mediocre is allowed in Kareem’s store. He frequently renews and refreshes what’s on the shelves.

Three: Always strive to improve.
Efficient use of space and tools. Kareem does not let the limited size of the store limit the variety of goods. No waste of space.
It’s not what you have, but how you use it. Look for ways to better utilize space and tools.

Four: Don’t push to sell.
Kareem makes his customers feel welcome by addressing them with a smile, a friendly word, and relevant info. This way they feel comfortable to approach him as well. He never tells you to buy anything.

This is what reinforces my view as a content marketer. Don’t sell. Just make sure your content has quality and is laid out clearly visible. Keep it fresh and updated. Make people feel comfortable. Give them a way to engage, show them that you are there to listen. Let them come to you, and they will spread the word.

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