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As you have probably figured out by now, The Outpost isn't your average retail business. In fact, The Outpost isn't really a retail business at all! (Shhhh....don't tell anybody!).
Yes, we do sell products both in our stores and online but the truth is, selling stuff to make a buck isn't what we're about. The Outpost is just a vehicle we use to achieve our real mission.
And what is our real mission? Glad you asked...
I have travelled to countries like Tibet, Nepal, India and Vietnam a lot in my life. I love the culture, the food and especially the people. It was in these places that I discovered buddhism, something that has been a very central part of my life ever since.
I really wanted a way to help support the incredible artisans I discovered in these countries and I also wanted to share my love of these places with people who hadn't been fortunate enough to travel to these countries themselves.
And that is why we started The Outpost - to help support the incredible artisans I encountered on my travels and to share with others the incredible experiences that traveling in these countries provides.
So, if I was to try to sum up, in as few words as possible, what The Outpost is all about, I guess it would be this;
WE ARE ON A MISSION TO CONNECT THE MEMBERS OF OUR COMMUNITY IN A MORE REAL WAY AND TO DO OUR DAMNEDEST TO MAKE EACH OTHER'S LIVES A LITTLE BIT BETTER FROM THE EXPERIENCE.
I truly feel that the way we build relationships these days is broken and that we need to relearn how to connect with our fellow humans on a more real level. And what better place to start than with our own community?
When I say "our community", of course I mean you our customers, but our community also includes our loyal and amazing suppliers both here in NZ and in various far-flung corners of the globe, our awesome staff and the greater communities of Queenstown and Dunedin that we are a part of.
The Outpost stores in Dunedin and Queenstown, the website, our social media channels and the products we sell are merely the glue we use to connect the various members of our community together. And in that sense, they are an essential part of our mission. But we remind ourselves every day that our mission is not about the glue, our mission is about the community that this glue helps bring together.
We don't pretend to have all the answers and we're not perfect - none of us are. But we believe strongly in and care passionately about building better relationships with our community and we would love for you to join us on this journey.
We have got some amazing things in the pipeline for the next few months. Our brainstorms are still stormin' but when we're ready to push play on our next crazy idea you will be one of the first to know.
In an effort to be better connected with you, our community, we are going to try and communicate more effectively via email and social media and we would love to get you involved in the conversation. (Because it's not really a conversation if only one person is talking!) So go ahead, reply to this email or comment on a blog post or on our Facebook or Instagram feeds - hell, send us a message in a bottle or write us an old fashioned letter if that's what works for you! Or, you could get all 2019 and pop into the store in person and connect with a real live human (crazy talk!).
Whatever your preferred means of interacting with your community, we'd love to hear from you. Because you are a part of our community and we hope that you feel the same way about us.
P.S. make sure you check in here from time to time for more updates on the blog.
Actually, we do have one barmy brainstormin' idea that is ready to go live. In fact, by the time you read this blog post it should already be happening.
THE OUTPOST TRIBE
There's no other way to say it - our old loyalty program sucked! The main issue with it was that you could only earn or spend your loyalty points in the store, you couldn't earn or spend loyalty points on our website. But we also, in our inexperience, had unwittingly set it up in such a way that you would have to spend around $6,000 before you were able to use any of your points. (Ooopsy!).
The other issue is that most traditional loyalty programs are beige marketing BS focused purely on spending dolalrs, earning points and getting discounts. Ie they are totally focused on transactional relationships. And this is totally not what The Outpost is all about.
But the good news is that we have done a total overhaul of our "loyalty program" - which we're calling The Outpost Tribe. While the new system is not perfect (yet), you can now earn/spend Tribe points both in-store and online and your points will be synced across all systems. In fact, even if you are not a Tribe member, you still earn points on every purchase you make but you do need to join the Tribe to spend those points. (Don't worry though, it's free to join and we don't send you any emails or notifications other than a few automated emails notifying you of new rewards gained etc).
In the coming weeks I will add some screenshots and step-by-step guides here on the blog explaining how to use the system. But here's the short version for now;
HOW THE OUTPOST TRIBE POINTS SYSTEM WORKS
From now on, regardless of whether you shop online or in-store, you will earn 1 point for every 1$ you spend. Points for any purchases you make will be added to your customer account and when you hit 200 points you will get an automated email notifying you that you have earned a $20 voucher. You can use those 200 points on your next purchase in-store/online or you can save them}|}, accumulate more points and earn a greater reward. (At the moment the rewards are a $20 voucher if you use 200 points, a $50 voucher if you use 500 points and a $100 voucher if you use 1,000 points).
HOW TO EARN/USE TRIBE POINTS WHEN YOU SHOP ON OUR ONLINE STORE
Click on https://outpostnz.com to go to our home page.
Click on the small green tab on the left hand side labelled "Outpost Tribe" and that will open the loyalty widget.
If you have shopped in our online store before you can login using the details you used when shopping previously.
If you have never shopped online with us before, you will need to create an Outpost Tribe account. It's super easy - just enter your username and a preferred password to sign up.
Once you have logged in/signed up that's it, you are ready to shop!
Above; Here's the logo we've come up with for The Outpost Tribe. We'll probably change the font of "Tribe" and it's far from perfect but this is what we're running with for now. Love it? Hate it? Got any input for us?
One challenge we haven't overcome yet is that The Outpost Tribe is (for now) still a traditional loyalty system that revolves purely around transactions, buying stuff, earning points, getting discounts etc.
However, we have some plans we're working on to make the Tribe more focused on community and non-transactional goodness.
And the only way we can build a relationship with you our Outpost Tribe that isn't transactional is if you opt in to our Outpost Korero emails. Even if you sign up to the Outpost Tribe, we can't and won't send you any emails other than loyalty program notifications UNLESS you sign up for our Outpost Korero emails.
The Outpost Korero is exactly what the title says (in Maori) - a conversation. We will send out an Outpost Korero email once every couple of months to all members of our community who have signed up for it. The Outpost Korero is all about building better relationships with our community, relationships that are not just transactional. To this end, there may be the odd product or special offer mentioned but the heart of the Outpost Korero is about inspiring and being inspired by our community, sharing stories and doing our bit big or small to make the world and our lives a little bit better every day.
If you're not yet a member of the Outpost Korero, you can join the conversation here.
Stay tuned here on the blog or on Facebook or Insta. for more developments on that front. (If you have any ideas about how we can use The Outpost Tribe to build and help our community, we'd love to hear from you. Maybe there's a way we can link it in with donations to some carefully selected charities for example? I feel there are so many opportunities to use The Outpost Tribe to do things that actually matter).
And I think that about covers it for now. When you log into your Outpost Tribe account or earn/use Tribe points for the first time, I'd love to get some feedback from you on how well or poorly the system works, if there any changes we need to make. More importantly, we'd love to hear from you. So, pop into the shop to say hi to the crew, comment on this blog post, hit us up on Facebook or Insta...we'd love to hear from you.
Kaari and The Outpost crew.