What does your brand promise, and do your customers really care?

costumes-com-au-logoI just read an interesting article from Justin at Vinomofo about building a tribe and attracting ‘supercustomers’, who love your brand/product and what you stand for.

It is a great article and something that every business owner needs to think about. Even if you are small. Read it, and understand it!

I don’t think that you need to implement a big strategy and employ specific marketing and spend lots of $$ in doing it, especially if you are small. It just means you have to know what your business is. Know what you represent as a brand, and what your brand promise is.

We had a team meeting recently where we discussed this exact thing. We talked about our business, it’s values, and what we really do. the key thing is that we need to understand costumes.com.au as a brand and an entity. We are more than an online costume business. Much more than that really. I won’t go into it, but we have a clear idea on who we are, what we offer and the problems we solve.

We know what we are about.

What do I mean by that? I am really speaking about what our core business is.

If someone asks you what your business is, what would you say? “We sell phones”?
“We build websites”?

If you really think about it, that is NOT what you are doing. And the mistake that a lot businesses make is not really understanding what they are about.

What you might really do is “Enable faster and higher quality communications”, “Solve eCommerce headaches”, or something like that.

The questions you need to ask are

  • What problems do you solve for your customer?
  • How does your brand relate to your customer?

What does your brand promise to do and be for your customer?

Once you know the answers you can start implementing that brand promise in everything you do. This leads to lots of great things. Better business decisions (with a customer focus). Better decisions about brand partnerships, about design and product and office morale and environment.

Your customers care about your brand and their interaction with it. So work at it, start asking a few questions, and good luck!

Increase your eBay prices by 500% ??

Anthill magazine posted a link to a great video by some of the  guys the other day. I just got around to watching it (I kinda store ‘Favourites’ from twitter posts during the week, and check them out later).

I have blogged before about various strategies and methods to boost the prices you get on eBay, and one of the most important is an engaging ad for your product. This could be brighter pics, funny description, personal description, wierd title, or all of the above. It’s all about your market and customer.

And I think this little video is a great example of the result you can get by applying a bit of creativity!

Check it out :

DealsDirect.com.au signs sponsorship deal with Netball Australia

I noticed this little bit of news this evening :

Netball Australia has signed a sponsorship deal with online department store, DealDirect.com.au. The new, two-year sponsorship makes DealsDirect.com.au one of three Gold Sponsors of Netball Australia, along with Holden and San Remo. DealsDirect.com.au will support Netball Australia’s online membership portal, MyNetball, the Holden Netball Test Series and will take up naming rights of the National Netball Championships.

Naming rights is a great way to get exposure to a demographic that must obviously be strong with them – females.

I can’t remember hearing of another online pureplay ecommerce business securing naming rights sponsorship to any series like this before? Maybe I am wrong? (If so, please let me know!)

It really is an interesting move, and like any foray into ‘offline’ advertising I am guessing it will be a bit of a test (although they would have to be fairly confident of results, the sponsorship deal wouldn’t be cheap). Other pureplays like Carsales.com.au have been using TV ads, and radio, perhaps with reasonable success as they continue to use those mediums. DealsDirect also tried a little TV, but Paul Greenberg, co-founder, wasn’t jumping for joy about the results the last time I asked him. ‘Too hard to measure effectively’ was the summary of his response.

Lets hope Netball is a little more targeted, and a good ROI for them.

Does your business fulfill ALL it’s promises?

SheepI had a short holiday to New Zealand the other week. A time to relax a little, spend some time with family and count sheep.

Recently my business life and thought process has been influenced a lot more by the consulting we do these days, and my Directshop business is getting more involved in consulting and development for online retailers so it is with this mindset that I start to view other businesses in the world.

I look, think, collect ideas and try to process these thoughts into something constructive to apply to my own business, or maybe yours.

I felt compelled to write a post about Jucy Car Rentals. they are a New Zealand car rental business that specialise in renting slightly older vehicles. I admire the model, and their marketing strategy is all about fun. Their promise seemed good… (more…)

A Really Clever Use of Twitter

I have been using twitter for a little while.  I started using it for a few reasons. Mainly to see how it works (the dynamics of tweets, conversations, and the social aspects), and what can be done with it for personal and business reasons.

What better way to find out about it than start an account and see what happens?

So, I have posted in a variety of topics, not just business. I have about 120 followers now.

I noticed one really good use of Twitter the other day though, and wanted to share it.

I had recently found out about a friend from school (we were best friends in Primary School, but had drifted into other cliques in High School) who had committed suicide. I sometimes write on this blog about personal things and I decided I would ‘tweet’ this information on my twitter account.

I wrote

Just heard my best friend at primary school and friend through high school committed suicide. Hadn’t kept in touch at all. Still, very sad.

Soon after I had a direct message sent to me from an American association for suicide and prevention, simply offering condolence and hoping that I could offer the family some support.

What a fantastic way to get in touch with people in this situation. I could imagine other twitter users tweeting about many emotional issues, in various emotional states, and having well timed messages from support groups willing to help.

A very clever and effective use of twitter.

Getprice.com.au introduce category bidding

In a smart move, Getprice have introduced a category bidding system for their customers.

Now, if you want to appear at the top of a category or search, you can bid more to appear there. With enough customers feeding products to the site now (they say 1.5 million products online), this is a move that should enable them to generate more revenue.

I have included their email to feed customers below. (more…)

The traffic is coming, but why aren’t they buying?

It strikes me that many website owners out there concerned with conversion rates don’t spend enough time understanding the visitors to our websites.

I have definitely been guilty of that. Maybe you are too?

eCommerce Conversion RatesIf you think about it, I am sure you would would agree with me too. We should spend more time really understanding our offerings and whether they align with what our visitors are looking for.

Why did that person spend so long adding items to a cart, starting checkout but disappear?!

If you could boost your conversion rate by 25%, what would that do for your bottom line?

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Looking ahead at retail for 2009…

I have been spending a little time this week thinking about 2009 and retail in general.

Although I haven’t been able to speak to too many other sellers recently the ones I have spoken to are hinting at the same issues.

  1. Prices are all going up, thanks to the current exchange rate (1 Australian dollar buys .71 USD as I write this)
  2. Margin pressure will increase as retailers (online and off) try to maintain sales levels and cashflow

Consumers may not often realise how much business capital is held up in orders of stock from Chinese factories for example. And often, orders are planned (and deposits paid) many months in advance.

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