Wednesday, June 26, 2013
What was your name again?
I recently read a blog entry from an online seller justifying her merchandising position in which she emphasized the tremendous expense of maintaining her website. So far as I know, there isn't rent on a website (yes, a fee for monthly appearance--nominal, I might add. Nothing like rent for a store-front.). Nor does she have to pay for insurance on her website (like flood insurance, hurricane insurance, liability insurance, etc., etc.). And I am assuming she doesn't place a yellow pages ad. No air conditioning or electricity or pest control or--by now you should be getting the idea. Almost no overhead such as what is faced by brick-and-mortar stores. Sure, I could sell things from the 3rd bedroom in my home and at very little cost, but is that really a store? And who are my customers?
Twenty or thirty years ago, needlepoint customers were truly loyal. When Needle Nicely had a shop in Blowing Rock, NC, during the summer, we would have people come in and look around. They would leave without purchasing with the remark that "if Louise (in Hickory, NC) doesn't have such and such an item, I'll be back to purchase it from you." That's customer loyalty, and I can appreciate and admire it. I cannot admire the attitude encouraged by the current internet mentality. Wherever it is cheaper, buy it. No personal relationship, no communication, no personality. I like when I answer the phone and I recognize the voice. And my customers appreciate that I recognize them. What a great relationship! And it is even more wonderful to have someone come into the shop, introduce themselves, and I can call up in my memory their mother or grandmother who was a customer.
Recently I saw a program on 60 minutes where a woman had no visual memory so she couldn't recognize the faces of her own children. How horrible. Think about it--not knowing your husband when you saw him. I have a marvelous visual and audio memory so that I recognize many previous customers both visually and over the telephone. Until that television program I didn't realize how fortunate I am.