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Mobile phone rising out of magic hat.

Changing Mobile Phone Habits

Technology has a habit of changing family traditions. For example, televisions changed dinnertime for many families. Popular TV shows would be scheduled to air during dinnertime, so how did we adapt? TV dinners! When people started getting electricity in their homes, we started staying up later. The telephone even helped change migration patterns because family members could move further away from each other but still communicate quickly. Waiting 3 months for a reply to a letter you sent is hard to imagine. Some of the habits people formed around new technologies can make those without not want to get involved, or as little as possible to get by. Any habit in excess can make a person annoying, ridiculous or even dangerous. Setting too close to the TV can hurt your eyes. Constant talking on the phone makes it hard for other family members to use the phone, and promotes gossip. Reading all night makes it hard to concentrate the next day. So it stands to reason why this Mobilegeddon craze can be something you might want to ease into. People…

Static vs. Dynamic Websites Explained

If you’re thinking of starting a website for your store, it’s easy to get lost among all the technical jargon. You may recognize some common words that you know the meanings of. Beware if you are talking about websites, because many of these common words are used to describe features on the web. “Bells and Whistles” has been replaced with words like “features” and “attributes”. “Attributes” and “properties” used to be words I only used in science and math class! “Tag” was a piece of paper with a string on it, and “string” was for hanging or tying things together. Lets say you have decided you want a website for your store. The VERY FIRST question you should ask yourself is “What do I want this website to do?” Think of the basics. A website is a good way for you to tell people information about your store so they don’t have to call, or when you are closed. So here is a basic list to start with: Address, store hours and phone #’s. What products do you sell and…

Why you shouldn’t buy an email list

I didn’t know what to expect when I went to my first Email Community Meet Up last Monday. Everyone in the room had some form of email marketing experience, and yes, some opinions were tossed around. Surprisingly, the meeting started off with a basic topic, and the whole group shared the same opinion. Buying an Email List Is A Bad Idea. I was surprised at how many hands flew up when asked, “How many of us are asked if we can buy an email list”? I was even more surprised to see the person next to me mouth the words EVERY DAY while raising her hand because… I work with her! So on my drive home I try to put myself in one of our partner’s shoes. Maybe we get this question so much because it’s fairly common to buy an address list for Direct Mail? Sure, growing an email list isn’t easy, but that is why it is considered the best way to communicate with your customers. You can gauge your customer’s trust in your store by how many…

Common Words with Multiple Meanings

A guy sends a text message to his architect friend, “I need an update”. The guy never gets a response back, so he forgets about the text he sent. Six months later, the guy gets a HUGE invoice for a new modern house built on a cliff in Norway, looking out over the sea. The guy calls his architect friend and asks, “What is this invoice for?” “Your new home update”, the architect friend replies. “Why? Don’t you like it?” The guy clenches his teeth and responds, “I wanted to get an update on how your family is doing!”   Lately, I’ve noticed how common words that formerly had one meaning are now being used in technology with a variety of different meanings. An older example is the word “excel”, which I remember being a word used more commonly as a verb. To excel was to gain speed, like on your bike or in a car. Then “excel” became a business catchword for how to quickly make money. Suddenly, many were naming their businesses and programs “Excel”. Microsoft even named…

What’s in a Name?

I started getting interested in web design and genealogy at about the same time in my life. One thing that connects them both is that a name is important. A business’s name can be like a person’s name. Some people use a shortened version of their name. For example, Robert can also be Bob. Businesses must consider whether consumers refer to the store by their full name, or just a shortened version of it. Is Bob’s Supermarket just referred to as Bob’s? Where am I going with these random questions about naming conventions? These scenarios are all worthy of consideration when deciding what your domain name should be. The question to ask is “What do customers commonly call the store? If there are multiple locations, how will they respond if asked “Which one”? When a business decides to make a website, one very important step (it doesn’t have to be the first step) is coming up with a domain name. There are many hurdles, and some of these might ring a bell: common domain names like bobssupermarket.com might be taken,…

What do your customers see when they look at your website?

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text] You see it every time you walk into a grocery store, people roaming the aisles while holding their phones. What do they see when they look at your store’s website? If you haven’t updated your site to be responsive, about 20 seconds of pinching and zooming in and out will happen before they give up and leave your site. What is a responsive website? A responsive website changes to fit the shopper’s device of choice, whether it is a laptop, tablet or smart phone. The site can detect what kind of device is being used, then changes the layout so the site doesn’t get cropped and text is big enough to read. Photos get re-sized, text gets re-sized, and multiple column layouts get stacked into one column. This happens so the site is easier to navigate by just using one hand and your thumb. Pinching the screen to zoom in and out takes two hands, so how’s a customer supposed to push the cart too? The “hamburger” icon For easier navigation, the ‘hamburger’ icon is used a lot. This…

Graphic of Web Traffic painted on road that turns into an arrow pointing up in the horizon.

Customers won’t go if they don’t know about it.

Do you have a website? If so, how many of your customers know your domain name? You have lots of opportunities to let your customers know about your website, some not as typical as you would think. Many stores will put a websites domain name on a weekly ad then expect the customers curiosity to make them go look. Customers EXPECT stores to have websites; the question is why should they look? Do you post your ads on Tuesday afternoon even though the prices take effect on Wednesday? Let your customers know they can get a sneak peak of your ad before your competition, ON YOUR AD. Does your website have coupons, recipes, shopping lists or cooking tutorials? Tell them ON YOUR AD. Maybe even add a graphic of a computer screen with your domain name on the screen to get some visual attention. Ask us to make a QR code for your ad. If anything customers will ask “what’s that?” Examples: You say you don’t have an ad or share one with an ad group? We have ways to…

Your Store's Brand graphic.

Your Store’s Branding

Birds do it. Bee’s do it. But what the heck does marketing have to do with it? Insects, birds, wind and even water are all vehicles for pollen, and they make cross-pollination possible. In nature, cross-pollination can produce stronger and more vigorous plants than those produced by self-pollinated plants. For example: butterflies need pollen for food and plants need butterflies to spread pollen, so each species has developed traits to aid in these goals. Plants that attract butterflies have developed very bright colors while butterflies have developed a strong sense of sight to see the colors. Without cross-pollination, this symbiotic relationship couldn’t be possible. Now think of your marketing strategy. What vehicles are you using to spread you marketing message to your customers? Website? Weekly print ads? Bag stuffers, text messages, email, Facebook or Twitter? When you try a new vehicle do you put it to the test with help from other vehicles or do you have a “sink or swim” philosophy? Our department has witnessed many times a key to a successful campaign is one that uses a cross-channel strategy to…

Which browser should I use on my desktop computer?

Last month I went to a 2 day class to learn about some new coding tips for our websites (HTML5 and CSS3). I know this is a topic where I would normally lose the attention of most retailers, but hold on. Have you ever called our IT dept looking for something online and they tell you to “click the green button” or “do you see the text that reads _______?” and it simply isn’t there? “No”, you reply, rubbing your eyes, looking all over your screen. Then you know what’s coming next “what browser are you using?” Not all browsers are created equal for different tasks, like showing data, making text a color that isn’t the same as your background, important stuff. Our instructor gave us a link to a chart that shows 14 tasks that can or can not be done on certain browsers/versions. Here is the link: http://www.quirksmode.org/html5/inputs.html However, I can give you the short version of this chart. This could shed some light on which browser and version to use that could lead to less time spent on…