Posted on: July 5th, 2009 by admin No Comments

The downturn over the past year has resulted in all of us suffering from a cash flow problem. The leaner bank account means that we all have to pass on things we had taken for granted – like spending several days at market. Low traffic at the winter Trade Shows spoke volumes. Even NY City  retailers chose not to attend the NY Gift Show!  Why? Becuase they had no open to buy money.

The Gift Shows in Atlanta and New York are the places I get to see all my customers. I love seeing everyone year after year. I love talking to the other vendors and seeing all the customers. It was very disappointing not seeing everyone in January. Let’s not even talk about the lack of orders written!  So, the spring months were spent calling customers to say hello. Many I called were friendly and chatty eager to spend a few minutes discussing the challenges we are facing. These calls were great as it was a moment of sharing information and ideas.  

We are all looking for efficient and effective ways of getting our information out to the customer. We need to show our new designs, special prices, or just to keep our company name on the minds of the customer.  The internet is proving to be a very effective tool. Not too long ago, many retailers relied on the phone or the fax for conducting business. Now, most businesses have a web presence and email addresses. Instead of mailing catalogs, email marketing will draw customers to our websites. Twitter and Facebook are becoming increasingly important.  The internet moves so fast! You have to jump on and learn it quickly and not get left behind.

I am trying to keep up with all this. There doesn’t seem to be enought time in the day sometimes! I will start with Constant Contact to send my “postcards” to customers and potential customers. The cost savings is tremendous.

I am collecting email addresses and looking at all the web sites of my customers and potential customers. it is fun looking at all the web sites; it is like window shopping. The web styles obviously reflect the character of the business. Some are elaborate, some are simple – but they all serve an excellent purpose of providing information about their business.

The one thing that I find most fascnating about some of these sites is that so many neglect to include the owners name!  The “about” page will talk about the reason “we” opened the store, the life journey that brought them to owning this business. There might even be a photo. But there is no name! You would never have a business card without your name on it, so why have a web site without your name? There are many supplier web sites that forget to include a name too. Maybe the owner wants to stay hidden?  Usually, the small business is all about the owner – so why keep the name well hidden?  It is a very curious thing.

Leave a Reply