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Thread: uses for websites...

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    Default uses for websites...

    i just read in giftbeat...a big trade paper for retail , an interview with a featured store owner..she has 2 big stores in north carolina.....she said she had tried selling on line for about a year with a little success.... and was dropping it and now her website will be all about her stores, coming to her stores whats going on with her stores..and whats on her mind at any given time....she thinks thats the right way to go and how her website can help her the most....
    i was glad to read this because the retail world is swamped with sell on line advice....and i think our websites can make us so much money in ways besides selling on line...and that doesnt get covered as much....
    i know my website has been a huge thing for us...
    i hope to see more coverage aimed at a site like mine and hers....how to be a better billboard for our stores...i hope the experts focus on our needs a bit more...and think up some new ideas for us to use our sites to connect with our customers and be better billboard/brochure sites..
    one of the best examples that i have kept in mind for a long time...was a site i got to from here a while back....it was a store selling ski stuff...and they had wonderful local ski slope info and calendar and up to date snow and weather reports on their site ....it was just a perfect go to site for their taget audience....
    Last edited by greenoak; 09-04-2010 at 11:08 AM.
    ann at greenoak www.greenoakantiques.com

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    I don't know where it is that you look for marketing advice and inspiration --but this is precisely the approach of hundreds (possibly thousands) of offline business consultants the world over. I've given this advice over and over and over locally...for free...and only a handful have even begun to apply the knowledge because they don't believe it can be that simple...they don't take the time to learn and apply the simplest of things. But that's to be expected...the 80/20 rule applies to marketing too...80% of the businesses don't care enough to take a keen interest in marketing...which only makes it easier for the 20% that do to capture 80% of the market share.

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    thats great advice patrysha.... i love the 80 20 rule and have used it a lot!!! ive given it as advice too, on the retail retail forums im on ... ive read it lots of places...and applied it to inventory, ads, rooms, incoming money....so much...
    still im loooking for ways to make my website more like the ski shops in my example....any ideas?
    i do learn a lot from the consultants /marketers the trade mags publish...they are in tune with the industry....lots of it doesnt apply to our store but lots does....and i would sure buy a book by john shallert.hes a major retail consultant.....but hes getting 1600$$$ each to talk to you in a group so he isnt writing a book yet...dang....
    everyone has a different recipe...and thats neat.
    p.s. your website looks VERY NICE!!!
    Last edited by greenoak; 09-05-2010 at 10:50 AM.
    ann at greenoak www.greenoakantiques.com

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    Just because you sell stuff, doesn't mean that you should be doing it online. Ecommerce is completely different from retail. The only thing they have in common is that they both center around selling products, but everything about running and marketing them is completely different.

    The main purpose of your website should be to provide information about your company, store or brand and get readers interested in doing business with you... and you can get ideas across many different industries. You don't necessarily have to follow the retail "experts". Your site can be and look anyway you want it to and you can borrow ides from anywhere you want.

    So if you want to provide more information about Antiques, Antiquing and the industry?...do it.

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    thanks eborg...thats w hat im trying to express..my retail and selling on line are 2 different things..... ecommerce is the last thing im interested in...but i love the power of the internet in relation to my money.....
    actually im on here because its not all about retail.... so its naturally a little different slant on the world...and i like that...i have very wide interests...and get info from lots of places...
    i am looking for a marketing HOOK tho, as good as the ski shops hook....its really not about antiques,,,since my main customers arent into antiques...more about rehabbing and style and just general things for their houses... with an outside the box slant....
    ann at greenoak www.greenoakantiques.com

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    Up-to-the-minute ski slope conditions is a good example but it is also a bad example. If you are going skiing, you are there or close by and want that information now with which to make a decision now. The information is probably not available in many places, so providing it will get you the hits from the very people to whom you sell.

    A site for stockmarket traders would naturally carry the up-to-the-minute Dow, Nasdaq and S&P indicies, because they are needed now for immediate decision-making. But a site for stockmarket investors and mutual fund investors would not find the indicies that useful.

    Information about antiques, or home decoration - in fact, just about anything else - is not that immediate, nor that specific, and is probably available in lots of other places. In my case, for example, I cannot think of anything that would-be business coaching clients would want to know on a daily basis that is that specific and that immediate.

    So I'm not seeing anything that would serve as a "marketing hook" of the sort for which you are looking.

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    i sure havent found that hok yet if there is one.... but i was hoping !!!! especially being over here in a different world..with different marketers.....
    so far it seems to be about what eborg mentioned and eye candy....and they do talk nice about my fun links to other places.....but i sure dont want a list of other places to spend their money!!! like a list of antique shows or flea markets...
    ive learned on e thng this summer..they use their garmin....
    ann at greenoak www.greenoakantiques.com

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    You already have a hook, you just need to express it online. It really is that simple. Your customers love you, they are connecting with you online...not because of the online experience, but because of the offline one. I assume your goal with your website and social media ventures is the typical three-fold effort I outlined in my book Profitable Marketing for Busy Business Owners (which I learned from someone I admire as far as the offline marketing (affliate link I hope that's okay) OfflineBiz.com)

    1. Attract New Customers
    2. Increase return visits/decrease time between visits
    3. Increase the average profit per sale

    I disagree that you need something timely and updated like the snow reports. Your products (at least some of them) are timeless. For these general informational articles that can be easily outsources to writers who know how to research and return good copy are all you need. This will pay off handsomely over time, though there is some initial investment in each article, each will pay off for years to come with search engine optimization power and genuine good information for your clients and prospects. It's a one time cost with residual and potentially ripple effect. Of course, you can write them yourself...but that takes time and you are already busy enough. It really ought to be enough to know that it ought to be done and find the right people to make it happen. And in a group as you build the site over time, it will become a recommended source amongst your target market...it just requires good easily shareable information that your target market is looking for.

    Your other products are seasonal and whimsical in nature...and for still others you offer commercial products like the shelving. Only the seasonal products would be expected (by your target market) to have any sort of value in instant update status. Just letting your customers know that you have 40 boxes that just arrived or learn to take pics with a phone and send them to your website. You honestly won't believe how easy it is...It will take you about 30 minutes to learn at the most and 15 seconds of your time when you are out and about. You will make your target market feel like your personal friend and shopping companion when you do that. Now who is going to step out on a good friend with great taste who lets you know about the hottest looks and trends in home decor and who also knows value and has an eye for classic things that will stand the test of time that will look classy long after the warranty has expired??

    It will take time to create a schedule of posts to be added to the blog, website, social media etc. but it can be planned far in advance and the steps can be dove tailed into things you already do for the most part...but it has to be planned to achieve that level of mostly automated and the rest effortless stuff that you can do to keep things hopping without adding to your workload.

    You are right not to send them to competitors...but you certainly can recommend other things that they are statistically/demographicly speaking inclined to like...for example, classical music (if that applies...this is just a rough guess based on what I have observed on the forum over the past couple of years) or perhaps gourmet recipes that can be served up in antique table settings? I don't know...I am not one that would likely shop in your store because that is not my lifestyle or interest niche...but you DO know your customers...and you have at least 800 on FB and however many your blog is attracting and your twitter if you do that and your youtube if you do that...and you can always ask for their opinions, ideas and suggestions. Some of their ideas will be whack...but others might inspire you to create the environment that your target market likes best. That's where testing and measurement and planning and all that come in.

    And that is just the surface of the internet end of things...all of this can (and in my opininon should) be tied in to your yellow pages advertising (if you still do that), your newspaper advertising, your direct mail, your radio and your television. But it's not going to be possible overnight if you are doing it all by yourself. The books and resources on how to tie these things all together and then the time it takes to plan and then to apply them take time to go through, read and assimilate...and none of it will apply 100 percent to your business. Because your business is unique (every business is...) and your customers, location, place in time and history and everything...it's all unique so that's why all the testing and measurement is so important...so you can kind of have an idea/projection...but keeping in mind that life and business are full of curveballs.

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    thanks patrysha.... very interesting!!! they do love the offlline experience....being at the store....thats why i put so many pictures on....it just really tempts them..especially on facebook where all their friends will see the pictures too...something is sure happening there....857 right now....
    i like how you describe the intertwining....i think they start at facebook and go to the website for more info....before making the trip....i have had all our web places on everything for years...thats the way to go...
    if we are seen as expert in anything its probably rehabbing furniture and all that ...so i could work on that more...thats where the ebook idea is fitting in...also we are seen as having a huge pile of interesting stuff....and that is like drawing bees to the honey....i have a camera but not on my phone...i m thinking about getting an ipod ..with the front facing camera...but might wait till they get their little problem fixed...but i might get a better camera too...the pictures are really important tous...
    .
    its odd but my blog is a lot of far away people and the facebook is way more local....
    your nice fat post is very thought provoking!!! making me think about different structure for the website.... maybe a nice january project with my webmistress...
    im not sure my customers would bother with articles.... .they are more about the pictures...
    and whats in now....i dont see what the framework would be that would present the articles...
    im so tired today i cant think straight...we had 3 big buyers in at the same time at the end of the day.... all buying and needing loaded at once....we really had a good day...
    Last edited by greenoak; 09-06-2010 at 07:54 PM.
    ann at greenoak www.greenoakantiques.com

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    Quote Originally Posted by greenoak View Post
    im not sure my customers would bother with articles.... .they are more about the pictures...
    and whats in now....i dont see what the framework would be that would present the articles...
    Well I do see potential in some articles, because you don't have to think in terms of traditional articles when you think of content. It CAN be video with a transcript or pictures with explanatory blurbs...it doesn't have to be a thesis paper on the evolution of design or anything. It shouldn't take long to do a brainstorm session with a good writer to come up with a nice batch of content or you can start with the simple but effective answering the FAQ's style...take questions that you get daily or at least regularly in the store :-) and answer them with a photo essay/blog :-)

    Quote Originally Posted by greenoak View Post
    im so tired today i cant think straight...we had 3 big buyers in at the same time at the end of the day.... all buying and needing loaded at once....we really had a good day...
    I can relate to the tired...lol. I went into work at my part time job three hours early on Saturday because there was a scheduling mishap and no one had shown up to cook! (Score! I got a raise :-))

    And I had company coming to town and a local concert event that I wanted to attend and network at (Score! I got video interviews with the mayor and the two MC co-hosts and got an invitation to contact one of the local bands about potential publicity and promotions work because I turned to him when he stopped to talk with a friend on the blanket beside me and my son and asked him "So how come you don't update your Twitter feed anymore?")

    Pretty much on the go from 5am Saturday till midnight Sunday with a few hours of sleep between...spent today lazing around as I worked on fine tuning my presentation for the provincial electrolysis association's general meeting on the 18th of this month...

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