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Newsletter #773: The “Break the Rules” Issue

[Welcome back to the Damn, I Wish I Thought of That Email Newsletter. This is text of the great issue all of our email subscribers just received. Sign yourself up using the handy form on the right.]

Sometimes a great way to refresh your business and earn some buzz is by shaking things up and breaking a few traditional business rules. A few ideas to get you started:

1> Your store hours
2> Your website
3> Your order process
4> Check it out: Rogers Park Cheetos

1> Your store hours

If you’re trying to shake up the supply and demand ratio or inject a little buzz into your business, try adjusting your store hours. Los Angeles’ Never Open Store — a tiny shop filled with eclectic art, clothing, and antiques — only opens when owner Stephanie Mata feels like unlocking the doors. In an interview with the L.A. Times, Mata explains she’s often working in her shop (assembling crafts or composing art) and doesn’t want to be bothered. She also likes to hand-pick her clientele. The thinking goes against most basic business principles, but it works for her. While other stores have “For Lease” signs in the window, The Never Open Store has a steady flow of hand-picked customers and plenty of curious outsiders trying to get in.

The Lesson: Mix up your store hours — a special midnight sale, an all-day event, unconventional weekend hours — to break the rules and your business rut.

Learn More: Los Angeles Times

2> Your website

According to Google, there are now more than a trillion active URLs on the web. That’s a trillion reasons to consider breaking a few online rules to make yours stand out. Ad and design agency BooneOakley did just that when they did away with their standard website and compiled everything into a single YouTube video. Their creative, functional, and unconventional website earned them a bunch of headlines, lots of positive feedback, and some well-deserved admiration for their bravery.

The Lesson: With so much competition on the web, you risk being invisible if you’re not willing to risk breaking a few rules.

Learn More:

3> Your order process

Your order and fulfillment process holds lots of opportunities to amaze customers (and break a few old-school rules, too). While legends like Zappos and Amazon continue to redefine the online ordering experience, few offline brands have been more daring in reinventing the order process than Japan’s small Ogori Cafe. Though bold, the concept is simple: You get what the person before you ordered, while the next customer gets what you order. Initially, the idea seems ridiculous, but it leads to a bunch of conversations, curiosity, and creates a sense of adventure among customers.

The Lesson: The purchase process is a huge part of the customer experience, and most of your competitors are overlooking opportunities to make it unique.

Learn More: PSFK

4> Check it out: Rogers Park Cheetos

Blogging is a paradise for rule breakers. Take for example this blog that photographically chronicles nearly two years of abandoned Cheetos bags around Chicago’s Rogers Park neighborhood. It’s a funky concept, and after checking out a few of the photos, you might never look at a lonely, empty bag of Cheetos the same again.

Check it out: Rogers Park Cheetos

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