What Howard Davidson Is Having

I’ll tell you what Howard Davidson is having. Howard Davidson is yes, yes, YES having it all.

Did you see that Katz’s – the famous Lower East Side New York delicatessen that has enhanced its fame as the setting for the famous scene in WHEN HARRY MET SALLY when the woman at the next table wanted the same thing Meg Ryan was moaning about – has started a subscription service? Pastrami of the month? Address that thing to Howard Davidson right now.

What Katz’s is doing – and Katz’s is not alone – is putting its best customers on automatic. Whether it’s a box of matzoh ball, split pea, and chicken noodle in January or a Thanksgiving-friendly turkey and gravy tub in November, Katz’s is collecting the cash in advance and then delivering its brand in a way that will stick with its customers like a big ol’ kugel.

So yes, Katz’s will be addressing a crate full of goodness in care of Howard Davidson every month.

But other businesses can do so, too. All businesses have repeat customers. Las Vegas has its whales. Consumer package goods companies have long identified their heavy users. Every espresso stand in the world that isn’t run by a guy named Howard (okay, not this Howard) gives you a free coffee after your first ten. The entire world runs on the 80/20 principle – 80% of your revenue comes from 20% of your customers.

So you should look at what you’re doing and find an angle that gives customers more of what they’re having. (And, not coincidentally, tempts others to have what they’re having.) Are you in the car business? Sign your best customers up for a new vehicle every five years. Big box hardware store? An average homeowner club that delivers what’s needed every month of the year, from bark and annuals in the spring to lawn chairs and barbecue implements in the summer to lawn chemicals and fertilizer in the fall. Underwear clubs can ship shorts for men or foundation garments for ladies every month.

This isn’t really a new concept. The Book of the Month Club and Columbia House delivered books and records automatically for years (hey, big online retailer based in Seattle, are you listening?)

So, there you go, retailers. Consider me signed up. Send that stuff immediately and
every month thereafter to Howard Davidson.


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