Monday, March 30, 2009

Partner With Technology And Increase Your Fabric Sales


Where do quilt shop customers come from? If you own one and you’re not asking yourself that question on a regular basis, you might be missing out.

The internet has changed the way business and customers play the retail game. Once upon a time, it might have been enough to have a shop newsletter printed up once month or quarter. Your customers would sign up for your mailing list or maybe just pick it up when they came in to buy fabric.

The shop newsletter was a good way, and still is, to communicate with your customer. Today, though, many of your customers spend hours online. Are they spending some of that time with you?

Let’s look at a few of the key tools successful shops are using:

Websites
Many people have abandoned their phone books in lieu of the internet. If they need a service, they use their favorite search engine to find it. Will they find you? No longer is your customers’ first impression always when they walk through the door. It might be online!

Kona Bay Fabrics has worked hard to build a useful site for our customers and quilters around the globe.

Ecommerce Quilters today are busy with families, jobs, activities and the home. More and more, they’re turning to internet stores to save time. If you have a brick and mortar store, you’re halfways there. If you’re not selling your goods online, it’s a good time to start. Kona Bay, aware of how busy shop owners are, was the first to offer online ordering for our wholesale customers.

Blogs Some folks still think of the early personal journals that made up many of the blogs found online. Today, businesses are using the blog format to communicate with their customers and build an interactive community. A blog allows you a way to stay in touch with your customers on a regular basis using a very cost effective format. The Kona Bay blog you’re reading prompts a lot of feedback.

Twitter This hot, relatively new, social networking and micro-blogging tool is taking the web by storm. Each 140 character post reaches out to your followers. This fun new tool can be a quick and easy way to promote your store and it’s specials. Follow me on Twitter and let me show you the way grasshopper!

Email
Exceptional customer service has always been our goal at Kona Bay Fabrics. Making sure you can be reached via email is a simple step in the right direction. Some people are simply more comfortable with email than phone calls. Make it easy for them by providing easy access to a frequently checked email. A little secret…It’ll save you time, too! You can always reach Kona Bay by email and expect a quick response—konabay@konabay.com.

The flipside of this is to make sure you are always building your email list. There is no easier way to communicate with your customer. Send out your newsletter (there are many easy to use templates and services to help) or notifications of upcoming classes. Maybe you have a big sale coming up—remind them, I guarantee your customers want to know about it!

There are more online tools! But master these and you’ll be well on your way to selling fabric with technology on your side. Let me know some of the tools you’re company is using. I always love hearing from you—douglas@konabay.com!

3 comments:

  1. I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.

    Sarah

    http://www.craigslistpostingtools.info

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  2. Educating the Employer to educate the Consumer is a key to on-line purchasing. To have a product that no one else carries is the ideal. Within a 50 mile radius of where I live, each store has its specialty. One store carries Thimbleberries and Debbie Mumm, another store carries predominately Civil War, another carries Kaffe Fassett etc. We are all individuals. Each store purchases what they feel the consumer will buy. If we don't like their selection . . . then we go on-line. This is rapidly becoming the "norm". It is worth the cost of shipping to be able to acquire what we are looking for and willing to buy. I would like to carry Kona and Seattle Bay cottons, (our selection of Asian prints are minimal) but my business is not at a point where I am financially able to do so.
    Thank you for your Blog and the inspiration you put forth.

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  3. Nice post. I have applied on my online business most of the things that you have said. :D Thanks for sharing. This is very helpful to those who are planning their online career.
    To those who are interested on having a Customer Service career path, please visit New Customer Service Jobs for the latest job of the day review.

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