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Ask not what your customers can do for you…
Ask what you can do for your customers.
For the past two years, in January, I’ve sent out a customer survey to my email list asking what they like about the site, what they want changing and what products they’d like to see that I’m not giving them. If only I’d done that with my first business maybe I never would’ve gone bust.
It’s allowed me to add products they want to buy rather than the products I think they’ll want to buy, slowly, as and when I can afford to hold the extra stock.
And social media is really helping me expand my product range with the input of my happy band of super users. And they’re certainly not backwards in coming forwards.
A few weeks ago I spent the day running around a large pet trade show like a kid in a sweet shop looking at new products. In the January survey they’d asked for more dog beds, a bigger range of shampoo, pet wipes (yes, they do exist) and more treats. With the help of my iPhone, Facebook page and the real time input from my lovely Facebookers I honed the wish list down to half a dozen new products which are now on the site and doing well.
Because I ordered them at the show I could take advantage of the show discounts so if they bombed, I was out by less cash than I could’ve been.
Top hits were the Feelwells Liver Training Treats which I’ve managed to put online at half price as a trial. They became my best seller by unit total in just three days, and the O’Tom Tick Twister, which is doing brisk business as it’s already been a busy year for ticks.
By networking and stopping to chat with the companies I deal with directly I was also able to discuss upcoming articles and promotions they might want to get involved with, and say hello to suppliers I’d never met before.
Sales are slowly rising. Let’s hope they keep going in that direction!