Why is it some stores and companies can charge more? Convenience? Sometimes. Best of the best in product or service? Sometimes. Consider Starbucks. Some people think it is the best - their preferred brand and taste. Brand loyalty whether it is for the prestige it elicites or personal taste preference drives in repeat customers.
How can some brands charge a premium price? There's a reason Starbucks can increase its coffee prices and face little resistance because of it: simply, the concept is designed to make its customers feel good. From the product to the ambience, everything at Starbucks just feels right. Nordstrom is similar - it's not about the price; it's about the experience.
The ultimate goal of marketing your product or service, from the inside to the outside, should be to make your customers feel good. It's called the "wow customer experience." It takes a company culture that has all employees project that the customer is important and becomes part of the brand awareness.
Too often it is all about the profits at the moment. Without planning on how to achive longterm business success and continual accessment of how to stay on track to achieve those goals your brand can remain local, regional or not last past its first owners. Your brand image will help you define what you need to do and what the shopping experience is. It may not be Starbucks or Nordstroms, but considering how other brands create their customer experience will help you build yours.
We all like to feel welcomed and an important customer. Isn't it refreshing to walk into your bank and be greeted by name? One bank branch I go to knows their regular customers and makes those they see infrequently feel remembered to. I trust them more than the branch that can't find my account, same brand of bank but different location. I make an effort to go to the branch that makes me feel that I am important to them. It may not affect the profits of the individual branch, but if the company knew how their customers respond may be they could create a company wide culture where every one of their customers would be treated like we get treated at their one very special branch. It isn't new technology, it is actually old fashioned customer service.
Companies need to take the time to see what the experience of doing business with you - from the customers' point of view - is really like. From the start to the end; from the phone call to driving into the parking lot; from the elevator to the office lobby, every customer touch-point should be a comfortable experience because when the experience is great, the price of your product or service makes very little difference. That's why McDonald's sells coffee for less than Starbucks. Their brand positioning is different.
Does your company's marketing at every touch-point make your customers feel good? Do your employees are consistently presenting that impression happily? Does the customer exerience go beyond their expectations? If it does, then you've got them for life.