Bali Style Part 1

As some of you may remember that I’ve recently spent two weeks over in Bali. And if you’ve ever been there before, you’ll know that it’s very hot, humid, sweaty and lots of local shop keepers haggling with you to spend some of your hard earned  holiday cash.
And as always just before you go away on holidays,  everyone tells you what it’s like, what to expect, where to go and of course all about the shopping.
So I left Aus a bit prepared of what I would encounter – heaps of local shop owners haggling and bartering, yummy food, some mosquito’s and of course the weather.
And yes all the info I had accumulated was pretty on par and glad I listened, but I would have never thought that I would learn some of the most valuable marketing lessons ever.  I’ve got so much to tell you that I’ll be writing  it in a two part blog post, so stay tuned next week .
Slow Economy
I went in the first two weeks of March, so that is the tail end of the wet season in Indonesia and usually a lot quieter than other times of the year.  There was also a couple of security alerts prior to leaving but were  only on the low scale but think kept some holiday makers away as well.
Also the celebration of the Balinese Nyepi Day fell right in the middle of our vacation and this means that the whole country closes down.  Yes I’m for real.  No power or lights are allowed or noise for a 24 hour period.

We opted to stay in a  lovely resort Novotel Benoa  for that time as they did allow for the air conditioning and they had a skeleton staff to look after everyone.  We had to stay in lock down (confined to the grounds of the resort) and were allowed to walk and enjoy the pool up to 6 pm that day.

50% Booked

 So you can imagine with all that going on  why so many tourist would opt to visit Bali at a later time of the year.  I did notice that most of the resorts were at only 50% booked.
Restaurants would often only have 2 tables filled of more than 30  available.  Shop owners hung around up to 10pm at night still looking for customers, though I think that’s pretty normal all year long, but makes for a really long day if you are quiet.
Everyone Is Vying For The Tourist Dollar
So with a large reduction of holiday people I found three businesses bursting with customers and doing a ranging business.  Of course I did find myself analyzing their business and try to figure out why.
The first business is called “Miss Debbies”  My friends took me down a tiny scary traffic laden road, then down a tiny alley to get to her shop (but location obviously didn’t matter to the income of her business).
She was so busy that husbands were waiting outside for their wives and girlfriends.  She had a designated area just for them.  So what made her so awesome?

She is what is known as a Fixed Price Shop. 

So anyone who went in there knew that the price on each and everything was just as is – not bargain-able.  And what a relief to find her in the midst of Legion.
 Her prices were more than fair and at times I actually had found her prices were so much cheaper than if you bargained for them elsewhere.
Now to top it off because it what so busy and full of customers she and her staff handed you a black shopping bag where you could pile all your goodies in until you were ready to go to pay. (Obviously you will buy more if you can hold it easily in a bag)
So when you go to pay, each item was taken out of the black bag and the lady at the cashier area would say clearly “shorts $2, sarong $3, men’s singlet $5, picture frame, $7 and placed into the shopping bag.  This was calm and clear so you knew what you were paying for.
And to top it off you also received and icy cold bottle of complimentary water, because as you now shopping is hard work especially in the heat!!


Points of Difference In A Country That’s Sells The Same Thing
So from that one business I took away 3 awesome nuggets of marketing genius info:
1. Take Away The Tourist Pain- Flip The Way Everyone Sells
Miss Debbie knows her stuff-  that most tourist get tired of bartering and most get ripped off.  Her USP – Unique Selling Point was to take the hassle out of shopping by providing fixed prices that were super cheap anyway and no need to haggle or barter.  Something we all love.
2. Free Gift With Purchase
The heat plays such a factor in shopping so by giving away a bottle of water – which probably cost her way less than what we would pay for was a no brain-er.  She would have made that in the first few sales.  And I’ll tell you she made heaps of sales, big ones, in the short time I was there.
3.  Turning Lemons Into Lemonade
Even though Bali may have been in a quiet slump Miss Debbie’s business was on a high.
I got the impression that those who visit Bali on a regular basis made her shop a top tourist destination.  She had pretty much everything that all the other shops had as far as stock goes, but her point of difference meant that she had a constant stream of clients all day, every day and  had no need to hassle her customers to buy in a low and quiet economy.
When you have a business that is very similar to other businesses standing out from the crowd with your USP will give you the edge over your competition.
So from that one business I took away 3 awesome nuggets of marketing genius info:
After all, her customers were so happy with her they were willing to walk that crazy busy street to find her, and that was hairy to say the least!
Next week I’ll be sharing about a couple of resorts we stayed at and also a beauty salon who also found that the low economy didn’t effect them either.  They had no trouble getting the tourist dollars as they also used the quiet time to their advantage.

Happy Birthday  Marketing