market
blogging

When Marketing Gets It Wrong

Do you read Product Reviews before buying a product?

The content of product reviews are increasingly influential for the public, when it comes to future purchasing choices. The opinion of the majority, or, the ‘herd,‘ also known as ‘Group think,’ is seen as paramount, as we discussed in a previous post .

Marketing techniques that target this type of thought and purchasing pattern, could be seen as lazy and fundamentally flawed.

Post-Purchase Screening of Customers

Consumers are more often than not, badgered by, not one, but several automated, emails asking them to give up their free time to:

“Tell us about your purchase,” and follow up if you do not reply to the email with a friendly:

“It’s not too late to tell us your thoughts.

Sometimes it is a text message asking,

How did we do?” in serving you and requesting your idea of a numeric rating.

All this in the name of improving customer service.

Do you like this level of attention after you have purchased a product?

Can you imagined if I badgered my readers like that?

Do you like my blog?

How often do you read the posts?

Do you want a daily update?

Are you sure?

It is not too late to subscribe!

Receiving a 5 star rating in a review might boost product sales more than any media advertisement and costs the company nothing. In short, shoppers are doing the marketing work for the company.

Canvassing Customers can be Risky Business

A product review can cut both ways. Badger a customer for a response and you might get a response, but not the the company likes.

A poor review might damage reputations, especially if it remains published. The veracity of the review itself is always at the mercy of customer competency and subjective biases.

Marketing Fail # 1

For example:

Recently I purchased a kitchen appliance for my new house that intermittently stopped working.

Frustrated, I wrote an online product review with a poor rating, whilst the ‘Moth’, (a.k.a. Man of the House), took it back to the store, asking for a replacement.

The product tested perfectly well in-store, but with an explanation that it was an intermittent fault, as we thought, the store replaced it without hassle.

Back home, the replacement product malfunctioned again!

So. Hmm.

Maybe, just maybe it wasn’t the product, after all, but a faulty power source? After all, ours was a new home, with newly installed power points.

To our horror, the appliance worked without fault in a different power point.

With a guilty feeling in our gut, we had to admit the appliance wasn’t faulty at all. Yet what damage had I done to that product’s reputation with my poor review, in the meantime?

Marketing /Product Review Fail # 2

I purchased a bra online through a popular department store and the automated email follow up I received after store pick up, is seen below.

I was asked to add photos, a video and location information!

In a young lady who purchased intimate apparel, this might be considered intrusive, but can you imagine photos, or video footage, of a 50 something lady, modelling a bra?

Probably not the content the store was after for their site. Aside from the fact they would surely filter out such content, it begs the question what else would, or could, they filter out?

As for the question of location – I can see the rationale to that question, but in the context of a bra purchase, it felt voyeuristic and slightly creepy.

Generic email and privacy filter arguments aside, this exemplifies how this style of marketing fails miserably and just serves to defeat its intended purpose!

Imagine if I had purchased underwear, or God forbid, a sex toy!

shopping centre with consumers
Australia

Post LockDown Possibilities for Retail Centres

Worst-case Scenario

I think we all are aware that brands and stores may not survive the financial hiatus resulting from the pandemic. Together with the shift in the popularity of online shopping, the enforced elimination of in-person appointments and alternative home delivery methods, what if shopping malls could become a relic of the past?

Already anchor shopping centre retailers, like Kmart and Myer are closing stores and looking at ways they can down-size their in-store presence.

Shopping malls might become ghost towns, abandoned places left to rack and ruin, post-Covid.

Might it be possible that abandoned locations such as those could undergo a phoenix-like transformation should the worst happen in a post-pandemic environment?

A Silver Lining

With a little alteration, abandoned malls could become emergency shelters or accommodation for the homeless or disadvantaged folks. The infrastructure exists – services such as lighting, electricity and plumbing etc could be re-connected.

Small stores might easily be converted to residential rooms and larger stores to dormitory or dining areas. The homeless or troublesome graffiti artistis will infiltrate abandoned places anyway!

There could be retraining and shelter facilities, hardware stores could become areas for learning trades or sheltered workshops.

Photo credit: Tweed News

Is it pessimistic to think that this might unfortunately come to pass, or that a rejuvenation in a humanitarian form even possible?

All is Not Lost

There are reports and discussions occurring about opening up society again and how our Government could gradually do it.

The process has started, with parks and playgrounds re-opening, as our Covid new case rate is relatively low, compared to some other countries. Travel between Australia and New Zealand might even be allowed in the coming months.

Mortgages in abeyance will still have to paid. If the employment is there, can they play catch up when income has been severely restricted or absent for several months? If not, then more emergency shelter accommodation will be needed.

Time will tell.

Where am I

Hopefully, your shopping mall an small business will survive and rise to the challenges of online business.

Sunday Saying

Things are never so bad that they are not good for something.

Aldri så gale er godt for noko

Swedish Proverb

We look for the silver lining.

Australia, blogging, Food, Mental Health, Philosophy

Hollow Online Experiences

When the internet came along, it was suggested that everything would be done online, from shopping to employment and communications. Individuals would not need to leave home to live their consumer lives.

The public however, has shown that we are primarily social creatures and are reluctant to embrace a completely virtual lifestyle. Whilst online shopping has undoubtedly increased, it wasn’t the tidal wave envisaged by the tech industry, until Covid 19 came along.

Our lives have become more virtual, whether we liked it, or not.

Getting takeout or takeaway doesn’t seem to give us the same experience as dining in at a restaurant or cafe. Neither does the online shopping experience feel quite as satisfying as the benefits of browsing in person at a store, feeling the fabric in a garment, physically trying on clothing, or chatting to another shopper, seeing what is around.

Because it is not just the objective alone, that is important.

It’s the whole consumer experience.

The atmosphere at the cafes and shops is attractive to us through our senses: the watching of people; the smells, sights and sounds; (overwhelming for some), or the conversation with friends you meet whilst shopping; the interaction with Cafe staff and fellow diners; the inspirational decor on the walls, or from the books on the shelves in a bookstore; even the art on the walls.

All of this, together, gives us a pleasurable sensory experience that is clearly important to us, as a comment on my second blog alluded.

“We human beings are social beings. We come into the world as the result of others’ actions. We survive here in dependence on others. Whether we like it or not, there is hardly a moment of our lives when we do not benefit from others’ activities. For this reason, it is hardly surprising that most of our happiness arises in the context of our relationships with others.”

Dalai Lama

Benefits of Covid and Virtual Lifestyle

During the Covid lockdown, skies, streets and air appears cleaner and we have more time on our hands. None of that horrid sitting stuck in traffic on the way home from work, or rushing to catch a crowded train with a million other commuters at 5pm.

Other people discover there is time to get to know their kids, becoming involved, by choice or necessity, in their education, or generally engaging with them more because there is little ecternal events to absorb their time. (Albeit for some, this could be far more stressful and family life might suffer from a lack of outside exposure, stimulation or influence).

All wonderful benefits of an enforced, semi-virtual life.

scenic cafe window- pensive

Yet, it seems even introverts or socially phobic individuals have struggled with being cooped up during the Covid pandemic.

We, as humans, seem to value social interaction above any virtual experience.

Cafe Society Lifestyle

Prior to the appearance of Covid, the Cafe society was a popular lifestyle choice in Australia. When cafes closed down in lock-down, no one knew what would happen. Aussie Cafes/Diners and Restaurants were legally allowed to operate only on a takeaway, (takeout), basis.

Many chose to close, temporarily, or permanently and the alfresco cafe dining experience came to an abrupt end.

al fresco dining restaurant

The Beach Esplanade, near my home, is lined with popular cafes and restaurants of all persuasions and cuisines. Being smaller businesses, most have closed completely, but some remain open. Last night, I placed a phone order for a ‘Quarantine Pack’, at one of the restaurants. Being a Friday night, I wondered what I’d find when I arrived for the meal.

At the Italian restaurant itself, a makeshift pick-up counter was laid out with social distancing markers in the formerly packed out al fresco dining area. Customers awaited their order in silence, or hushed in conversations with their partner, spaced well apart from each other. This was a very different picture to the regular Friday night.

On the opposite side of the road, overlooking the sea, couples and small family groups sat on benches or rugs, at the required social distance, eating their takeaway meals and watching the moonlight filtering over the waves, lapping the shore.

It was another life, but it was okay. Not ideal, but it had a beauty all of its own, even a little nostalgic or romantic perhaps.

It begs the question as to how much of a virtual lifestyle we can lead?

Is it possible for human beings to live like this, at all?

stpa logo
Community

Buy one thing

Come on Aussie, come on.

Support our smaller shops doing it tough.

Buy just one thing from our smaller gift shops to keep them going through this crisis, or when it is over, we won’t have those beautiful shops to browse through.

Your purchase doesn’t have to cost much.

Australians are renowned for their community spirit and helping one another. If we all join in, we can help each other get through this crisis.

The following link takes you to a small kitchenware shop in Buderim Queensland who has the most wonderful gifts.

Kitchen Mojo Shop at Buderim on Instagram

Unique Kitchen products include a trolley cover for shopping trolleys. They are made locally and make a wonderful gift for an elderly neighbour or relative.

They prevent germs from touching the handles of the trolley while doing your shopping.


When will you order yours?

Community, Environment

All Sorts of Crap and the PKR

It was a Saturday morning, 2012 and my phone rang impatiently. When I picked it up, an unfamiliar voice asked,

“Is that Amanda?”

“That is me,” I answered.

“Yeh?” [pause]

” It’s Susie. I’ ve got your crap here.”

“Sorry,” I said, about to hang up, thinking that this was a prank call.

But then I was a little curious, so I tentatively asked, “What kind of crap have you got?”

[Believe it or not, this is the second time in my life, I have had to ask a stranger this exact question. This time I was not in Denmark, but that’s another story.]

The Caller continued.

“Well, I dunno. There’s a box here, with your name on it and it says that it’s umm, filled with crap.” It had your phone number too, so I rang you, ‘cos, you know, I don’t want it!” Susie exclaimed.

The penny dropped.

“Oh, okay. I know what it is. It’s my toilet paper,” I said with sudden clarity.

[Frustrated with too frequently needing to change the toilet roll and attempting to shop more ethically for environmentally friendly products, I’d purchased a regular delivery of toilet paper from a profit for purpose, online store, Who Gives a Crap and hadn’t received a notification that delivery was imminent.]

“They’ve delivered it to the wrong street address,” I squirmed inwardly, realizing how ridiculous it must have sounded to Susie, to have toilet paper home delivered, in the days before online shopping really became mainstream.

What? Susie asks, sounding confused.

“I bought some environmentally friendly toilet paper online – it is recycled, you see.”

“Recycled? Toilet paper? What?” She asked, seeminly incredulous at my wild suggestion. [Apparently, the hole I was digging, was getting deeper]

“It’s a little crazy but it is a genuine product, from a company called Who Gives A Crap, and they are, you know, all for sustainability and helping the environment, you see. Their sales speel is really corny Dad jokes and puns about toilet humour which they print on their wrappers.”

Susie was not convinced, but eventually agreed to a suitable time to pick up my box of “crap.”

On collection, she cheezily remarked, “You’re finally here to pick up the crap, are ya?” The toilet humour was wearing a little thin, by then. I wanted my loo paper and to get out of there. So, I thanked her for her honesty in calling me and offered her a roll to try out for herself.

“No, I don’t use it,” she said.

Now it was my turn to be confused. How could anyone in this day and age, get away without using toilet paper? I pondered.

I had to know more.

Let me say that Susie was only too willing to share the finer details of her medical condition which required her to use soft wipes instead.

Before we delved into the realms of TMI, I decided to take my environmentally friendly crap and trot off.

2020

Can you imagine if the same incident happened today?

There’d be some kind of snatch and grab feast in the burbs. Not only is Who Gives a Crap now a widely known brand, but a free box of 48 rolls of EXTRA LONG Toilet paper, would be akin to finding the golden ticket to Willy Wonka.

Who Gives A Crap?

Let’s face it anyone brave enough to call their company, Who Gives A Crap, is worth a look. Plus 50 % of profits get put back into Water Aid and projects that improve sanitation in the Third World. I love that. And according to its founder, it has a low PTR!

What is PTR? you may ask. It is a Poke-Through-Rate because no one wants crap on their hands: as Simon explains in this promotional video.

To test the poke through rate yourself, you’ll have to wait a little, as the current runs, (no pun intended), on toilet paper has Who gives a Crap stocks completely SOLD OUT, in Australia.

Roll on.

This story was promptly by Barb at Barb’s blog, discussing the Corona pandemic.

Community, Photography, Travel

Takeshita Day Trip

Living in the wide open spaces of Australia, taking a “day trip” is something so commonplace, it is almost obligatory, but rather than showcase my own backyard, I have chosen a recent day trip in Japan, for this week’s Friendly Friday Photo Challenge: Day trip.

Making our way to Yoyogi Park via the highly efficient Tokyo Subway system, we orientated ourselves at the entrance to Tokyo’s Harajuku station. The Station building has a rather old world feel about it, dating, I believe, from the 1930’s.

japan travel
Starting the day at Harajuku station

It is clearly a busy station, but one must remember this is Japan, a country of over 125 million people, so perhaps this was actually a quiet day.

Directly opposite the station, we found Takeshita Street!

The Mecca for youth and Japanese craziness and shopping.

Think sideshow alley on steroids with an Asian twist and you have Takeshita Street.

It is noisy, crazy and colourful. Be prepared for sensory overload.

Some of the delights to be found

In Takeshita Street, the crowds are so thick you can easily get up close and personal with the Japanese population and a whole variety of tourists.

The average Japanese citizen is around my height, so for once I felt quite comfortable and not amongst the shortest in the crowd perusing the shops. Miss Teen, now Adult, however towered over the heads of the shoppers like a Blonde German Supermodel.

What a beautiful girl from the beautiful sky,” was what one shopper regarded her as we strolled past.

Kind of made the Day Trip.

Something to Ponder About

Friendly Friday Photo challenge