Business > Merchant Voice

You Gotta Have Something to Sell

Happy Halloween! Before the ghosts & goblins and droves of trick-or-treaters descend upon our neighborhood, I’ve managed to find some quiet time to write.

I recently returned from the 2010 iHobby Expo in Chicago, which is the largest trade show in the radio control and model hobby category in the United States. With so much to keep up on regarding SEO, PPC, site redesigns, social media and affiliate programs (all of which we’re working on now), it still comes down to product. If you don’t have the right products to sell at the right price, then you won’t have much of a chance in online or offline retailing.

So while much of the traditional toy world has such an unbelievably huge spike in December with those merchants continually chasing the hottest toy of the year, our focus at this show was on new product releases as well as strengthening relationships with our key suppliers. We spoke with Estes Rockets about their 2011 releases and how we can better promote them. While we were there, we also updated our recently launched Facebook Fan Page with pictures from the event. It was a great way to connect with our fans and to also give them a preview of what they will see next year. While we have not done alot to promote our Facebook page yet, we are believers in the power of social media and the immediate impact that it can have. We had a great conversation with Revell Models about how we can get more kids into model building by pushing beginner model kits into schools and after school programs. Revell also makes a licensed version of the Pinewood Derby racers which is huge for Cub Scouts in the spring.

We had a lively discussion with Quest Rockets about how we can better market to budding young scientists through the use of offline methods of advertising and by reaching students and their families through the classroom. Next we visited our friends at Traxxas where we saw some brand new releases in RC trucks. We ended our tour of the show by visiting Team Losi RC and E-Flite RC, which makes RC helicopters and RC airplanes.

Since I am always trying to squeeze more efficiency out of my days, I spent the next 4 hours on my flight home making a priority list of followups from the show. How are all of these projects going to fit in within the scope of the initiatives currently being implemented? Are Facebook, Twitter and You Tube going to be important enough to us to bump some of the offline initiatives we discussed in Chicago? In the end, it comes down to a matter of what will make the biggest impact in the next 60 days. The site, the cart, design and customer experience all have to be right in order to convert the sale but remember that you gotta have something to sell to make it all work.

Ken Kikkawa
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