We travel every year to the Tucson Gem & Jewelry Shows to purchase inventory for the coming year and to meet with various vendors about their new lines. There are actually more than 50 shows here with hundreds of vendors selling virtually the same items at similar prices. It's kind of like shopping on-line, but you have to drive to various marketplaces and then choose your items, then select the right vendor. Why should you choose one vendor over another when they all sell the same stuff? Sound familiar to any of you?
For us, the answer is simple, we tend to buy from the same 20 vendors or so because we have long time relationships with the businesses, their owners, and their employees. We trust them, we have established prices, and we know they will provide good advise to us.
They travel from India and China to these shows, yet I know how many children many of them have, they ask about my family, and I consider many of them friends, not just vendors.
I realized how important those relationships are the first day we walked into one of the shows this year. Most vendors are in the same place every year, yet as we arrived at the booth for one of our preferred vendors, we looked in the booth and the name of the company was different. The products were the same, the booth was even the same, but we did not recognize anyone at all. The normally consistently busy booth was completely empty. We just skipped the visit and did other things.
We found out from another vendor that the owners had sold the business. The new owners never bothered to send out a postcard, an email, or any type of notice that there was a change in ownership. That was sort of a flag to me that they must not really value their customers business. As a result, we just bought the items we would have purchased from them from other vendors.
I probably walked by that booth another 15 times this week. Not one time did I see a customer in the booth. Not even looking at the beads and pendants in the booth. The employees/owners were just standing around looking at the chaos around the. Across the isle from them, it was standing room only.
Why Does This Matter for eCommerce Busineses?
Because relationships and transparency matter, even online. It's important to have more than just a slick website design and good navigation. You also need to ensure that visitors can trust you, know where to find you, and have a sense of your business ethics. It helps further to share some of your businesses culture and personality.
Would you rather buy from a business that discloses absolutely nothing about themselves, sometimes not even providing a phone number or location, or from one that describes their history, has an active Facebook community or a blog that provides insights into their business? In my case, if I can't read an about us that says more than "we are the premier reseller of XXX", or if they don't post a phone number and a physical location, then I move along - no matter the prices.
I think social media has really opened up the potential for eCommerce businesses to share a bit about themselves that their customers can connect with. We posted pictures this week from our show travels. In the past, we've posted vacation pictures and received great feedback from customers about sharing with them.
We work hard to be transparent in our descriptions about products and provide detailed information in our stores. Most of our items are unique with no UPC codes, so we've always written original descriptive content. All eCommerce sites should do the same - both because Google wants you too and because customers will see you in a different light than those who simply provide the manufacturers cookie cutter content.
In the example at the beginning of this post, if the new owners had bothered to send an email or a postcard out explaining they were new and would love to meet us in Tucson - we would have visited them and tried to work with them. Instead - we ignored them and based on what we saw, so did most other customers. Eventually, they may find new prospects, but they also lost a steady customer who has spent thousands and thousands of dollars with them in the past.
Poke fun at yourself - admit mistakes. Talk about change. Be human. We all are! It may lead to more sales in the future!
I think it depends on morality, even if somebody is unknown and his morality is good, he will not lie...
We have heard the name of Global village, now social media will bring us more closer, what name can we call it