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Posts Tagged ‘Online Business’

SmallBiz Interview with Margaret Chan of Cherry's Brandname Gallery

Friday, April 30th, 2010

We here at KikScore came across Margaret Chan and Cherry’s Brandname Gallery on Twitter a few months back.  In 2008, Margaret launched an online shopping boutique for luxury goods, high-end skin care products and sleek fashion accessories.  She has a great small business story and some great thoughts for the community on selling online.

1. Tell us about Cherry’s Brandname Gallery and who you focuses on serving?

Cherry’s Brandname Gallery is a specialty store, offering an assortment of designer brands, such as Bottega Veneta, Christian Dior, Bvlgari, Juicy Couture, La Prairie and Tiffany, to our customers around the world. Throughout its stores in various URLs, Cherry’s Brandname Gallery presents its unique edit of the best in Jewelery, Cosmetics, Skin Care, Shoes & Accessories, and Home & Lifestyle from around the world. Founded in 2008, we now have stores strategically placed in various web locations operated by some of the most popular online commerce providers, including Bonanzle, eCrater, Atomic Mall, HighWire, Blujay, CQOut (UK) & Bidorbuy (South Africa).

Cherry’s Brandname Gallery is in the business of anticipating its customer needs and providing them with merchandise they cannot get elsewhere as well as the hottest products that are always sold out elsewhere. While most of the merchandise are brand new, a smaller portion of them is gently used because we found that around 20% of our customers are looking for this type of products due to the fact that the price is, to a greater extent, much lower and more affordable.

2. How did you get your started selling online?

With some successful selling experience at eBay around three years ago, I was encouraged to set up my own online stores, selling only authenticated designer products at the most competitive price I can offer. When I was selling at eBay, I found that a lot of people visited eBay because they wanted to find the best deals – the lowest-priced designer merchandise, for instance, Apple iPod, Gucci handbags and Tiffany jewelry – that they would love to buy. Although some of those products were really low in price, more and more buyers these days complained to eBay that they doubted some particular products they received were not authentic as described by the sellers. With this knowledge in mind, I believed that opening an online store selling authenticated designer products should be a good idea.

3. Where will Cherry’s Brandname Gallery
focus most of its energy in 2010?

In 2010, our main focus is on promoting our Jewelery section, particularly on Juicy Couture jewelry, in the hope that our customers discover a few of the many limited edition and hard-to-find collectibles we have scoured the Earth to find for them. From the limited edition charms and the latest designed necklaces, to the pre-release jewelry items and the retired bracelets, we hope all our customers find the year of 2010 as inspiring as we do. In order to make sure our marketing campaign is successful, we will make good use of various online advertising channels, such as Google Adwords, Yahoo Advertising and Twitter, to help us achieve our goal.

4. If you had 2 lessons learned from your business that you could pass on to others about selling online, what are those?

First of all, it is easy to start your online selling business, but to keep it running with optimal performance at all time is another matter. Similar to running your business with a physical store, good sales and marketing strategies are key to success.

Apart from that, customer’s satisfaction is also of utmost importance to online business. Exceptional customer service results in greater customer retention, which in turn results in higher profitability. We therefore strongly believe that customer loyalty is one of the most crucial and major contributors to sustainable profit growth. Over 60% of our profits are from customers who came back and made their purchases more than once within the 3-month period.

5. What do you see as 2 new trends in your business this year?

As the cost of running business with a physical store or office is comparatively high due to the monthly rental fee as well as the consumption of electricity and the hiring of manpower, more and more businesses like us tend to create their presence on the Internet. Some of them even stopped running their physical stores in order to focus mainly on their online selling business. Without a significant competitive advantage, a retailer will be forced to raise a white flag in this cruel and heartless battlefield.

To face this challenge, an increasing number of retailers have to offer discounts to attract their customers. In other words, buyers can find their best deals online much more easier because they are able to compare prices with other stores selling the same products on the Internet. However, I can see that the price of high-profile designer merchandise will not fluctuate too much as usual.

As we hold true to the ethos – quality, innovation and integrity, we try to make ourselves more competitive in the market by sourcing merchandise that is not commonly offered by our competitors instead. Most of our products are only available in 1-2 pieces per style because the supply of these pre-release and hard-to-find, retired items from our sources is very limited, to beginning with. Besides, we will ensure all the products sold to our customers are of the best quality. Last but not least, all products will be securely wrapped and packed so that they can arrive at our customers’ hands without damage after the long delivery process.

6. If your business/store could be any movie or movie character, what movie/movie character would it be and why?

I think Barbie is one of the best choices because she is a character who is very much aware of how she looks. In other words, she is a very fashion-conscious doll and cartoon character. Her wardrobe is full of all kinds of clothing, handbags and shoes. Her jewelry box contains a full range of luxurious jewelry. People just can’t imagine Barbie could afford wearing something with bad taste.

7. If Cherry’s Brandname Gallery could have a dream spokesperson for your company who would it be and why?

For Cherry’s Brandname Gallery it would have to be Anne Hathaway because I believe she fits for the position very well. Many movie directors love to choose her to play the roles which require her to wear a lot of designer clothing and/or costumes of the most elegant styles. For instance, in her most recent role in the movie “Alice in Wonderland” in which she is the White Queen, we can see how lovely she appears to be in those gorgeous gowns and jewelry.

8. How do the folks at Cherry’s Brandname Gallery let loose after a busy day working?

All of us love fashion so going out for a drink and having a dinner together in order to share the hottest fashion tidbits we have ever known with each other are what we always do after a busy day working.

9. Do you have any parting thoughts for our readers and the small business community?


Small business community should consider making good use of the Internet to promote and run their business because the operating cost online is low when compared to the traditional business model. Besides, traffic flow on the Internet is definitely higher. Your business can reach thousands of millions of people who have Internet connection from around the world. If you know how to utilize those search engine optimization tools to promote your business, it will undoubtedly help you save a lot of money required to be spent on online advertisement.

We would like to thank Margaret for sitting down with KikScore.  If you have questions for Margaret, please leave them in the comments below.

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Posts Tagged ‘Online Business’

How the NFL Draft Can Help You With Online Trust

Friday, April 23rd, 2010


This is one of my favorite times of the year for sports.  The time of hope, promise and turnaround.  That means it is time for the NFL Draft!  My team, the Cleveland Browns, always enters this part of the year and the draft with hopes of getting the amazing college football prospect that will revitalize the team, give us a winning season for once and hopefully (yeah right) a trip to the Super Bowl.  The issue is that you never know if a player your team picks in the draft is going to turn out like you hoped and will deliver on all of the expectations you have built up for them or turn out to be a bust.  Or worse yet, that player ends up breaking the law and not only is he a bust, but he then becomes a shame to the team and the city.  In many ways this is similar to the issue of figuring out who you can trust online for doing business and for online shopping.

In the NFL Draft process, the teams that do the best job are the ones that do the most diligence on the college football prospects.  These are just some of the things that NFL teams and scouts do in the diligence and research process before selecting a player in the draft:

1) Conduct extensive background checks;

2) Put players through multiple interviews and give them tests;

3) Review, analyze and dissect a player’s past performances in college games and;

4) Talk to their coaches, teachers and other experts.

That is all done before draft day and before a player is selected.  And its all done on hundreds of players.  The interesting thing is what NFL teams are looking for in college players is very  similar to what shoppers look for before buying online: 1) a track record of success; 2) good character; 3) reliability and trustworthiness; 4) the ability to deliver and meet expectations and 5) someone you can depend on and that can be your “go to” person.

All of these traits are exactly what people look for for in businesses that operate online as indications of whether you can trust that business.  The commonality between the NFL teams that put players through these tests and online shoppers is: Information!  Information is king.  It is not only having access to that information but it is also having the right information about trustworthiness and reliability to make an informed decision about buying from an online store or selecting a contractor or consultant online that you have come across online.

So next time you are out looking to buy online or select a contractor, be like an NFL scout and look for these types of information. That will help you stay safe when you are shopping online.  Also businesses that have a KikScore seal certainly help shoppers get much of this trust and reliability information.  But just make sure you end up selecting the next Tom Brady and not Ryan Leaf when you decide to do business online!

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Posts Tagged ‘Online Business’

Business Lessons from the NFL Draft

Thursday, April 22nd, 2010

First off, let me admit.  This isn’t going to be a highly researched blog post.  Not a shocker, as I love to write about whatever I’m watching on TV.  And what I’m watching is the NFL draft.  Specifically, I”m watching my Minnesota Vikings passing up on selecting Jimmy Clausen in the first round — trading their position in the draft to the Detroit Lions.  This leads to no pick in the first round.  About an hour ago, I was climbing the walls, as the Vikings need a quarterback, and Jimmy Clausen (though he’s from Notre Dame) is a good player. 

An hour has passed and I’m no longer doubting the wisdom of my team, as the first round is over and Jimmy Clausen hasn’t been picked and when the second round starts up tomorrow, the Vikings get to pick the second player of the day.  The Vikings showed patience and they’ll pick up the player they need (hopefully) and also gain picks from Detroit.  So, in watching the first round of the draft, I’ve taken away a few business lessons for KikScore:

1.  Patience generally pays off — ok, I’m being a bit influenced on Michael Lewis’ Moneyball on this — generally reputations are overrated, and role players are interchangeable.  Let others’ impatience work to your advantage and squeeze your competitors as hard as possible when they don’t realize the actual market value of an asset.

2.  Quantity beats Quality — at least in terms of talent selection.  Put another way, would you rather have one A student or three B+ students.  I’ll take the several B students — as there are too many D students out there that you may wind up with.

3.  Position is Key — If you really need a project manager, coming across a great salesperson doesn’t really help you. Draft for you business based on need.

I think that’s the best I can do for business lessons from the draft.  If you haven any suggestions, shoot them on over.

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Posts Tagged ‘Online Business’

Contemporary Furniture Expert, SmallBiz Owner & Blogger, Rebecca Malik, Talks to KikScore

Tuesday, April 13th, 2010

Today’s small business interview is with the President of DC-based, 17thandRiggs.com’s Rebecca Malik.  Rebecca holds a dear place in KikScore’s hearts for a number of reasons besides the fact that she is just a very cool person, but she is also one of KikScore’s very first customers late last year when we launched.  Lucky for us she is very happy with KikScore.  Well, enough about us…..Rebecca comes from a family of a long line of entrepreneurs.  She has recently been tapping into that entrepreneurial lineage by working on a line of shoes, getting 17thandRiggs.com designed, developed and launched and blogging for two woman’s based small business and lifestyle community websites.  From these experiences and especially from her work that she has put in at building an ecommerce site from the ground up, she has some excellent guidance for our small business readers.

1. Tell us about 17thandRiggs.com and who you focus on serving?

17thandRiggs.com features contemporary furniture, lighting and home décor.  We focus on carrying pieces that have sleek, simple lines and evoke a sense of space.  The pieces are also chosen because they work well in many types of décor – they are not hyper-modern or too formal.  I feel that our customers are people who love a sophisticated, modern look, and focus on the overall picture.  They realize that an accent piece is as important as a focal point.  Also, I may be biased, but I think our careful selection of furnishings ensures that prestigious interior designers turn to us for their furniture and lighting needs.

2. How did you get your started selling online?

I’ve shopped online almost exclusively for years and know how hard I would look for items that fit my aesthetic and that I knew were of high quality at a good price.  This site is truly a way for me to pick and choose items that I love and make them accessible to others.  Beyond that, my father actually started selling handmade fireplace mantels online years ago.  His ability to reach customers across the country from his small shop in Florida was eye-opening.  After I left my last job at an interior design firm, I decided to take my interest and passion for design, contemporary furniture, lighting and decor and launch an online store.  That is the way 17thandRiggs.com was born.

3. Where will 17thandRiggs focus most of its energy in 2010?

We will be honing our product lines to ensure we carry our favorite designs.  These are furniture and décor pieces that are high-quality, beautiful and a great value.  We will also be steering our efforts to create an even more specialized lighting category.  Our lamps and pendants are consistently some of our biggest sellers and with their broad spectrum of designs they are always such fun items to handle.

I will also be continually reviewing my business and my marketing plan.  I feel like that is something that every business needs to do on a regular basis.  Otherwise you run the risk of not being focused and not having an underlying theme to everything that you are doing as a business.

4. If you had 2 lessons learned from your business that you could pass on to others about selling online, what are those?

I would say to start out simply – don’t try to offer everything but pick items that make the most sense from an inventory/availability perspective and that are cohesive with your vision for your site.  That and SEO is key.  Integrate your keywords as you go along.  Small businesses like mine can spend forever trying to keep the product information on your site up to date let alone trying to update SEO information so my suggestion would be to do it well the first time around. Here is a post I wrote on the subject titled: How To: An Entrepreneur Improves SEO For Her Ecommerce Site.

5.  What are 2 new trends in your business this year?

Of course, anything eco-friendly is as popular as ever.  As far as new trends, I see people getting more and more adventurous with their lighting choices.  Fun pendants and table lamps are great ways to push the envelope in your décor without making a huge purchase.

For an overall business trend, I would say that outsourcing from a small business perspective.  But it would not be outsourcing as the “four letter” word we know it as.  This would be focusing your small business on your core skills.  Then getting experts, freelancers, consultants, and virtual assistants to fill out the rest of your business and support you as you grow your business.  I now source resources and support for website design, virtual assistants and marketing support from places like Craigslist and Elance.  But you have to be careful and rigorously interview these folks before they are hiredbecause they will never care about your business and your customers like you do.

6. How have you used social media tools like Twitter, Facebook and your blog to help 17thandRiggs?

For me, Twitter has been a great way to learn about other organizations and companies out there with similar or complementary businesses.  It has also been a great place to get leads and also converse with other small businesses. My blog  (http://blog.17thandRiggs.com) has been a unique way for me to process things and continually think big picture regarding my business and the 17thandRiggs.com brand.  Sometimes having to hone into choosing a topic for an article forces you to think about the direction you are heading in and evaluating whether it fits your overall vision of my website, the business and my brand.  That can be very beneficial, especially when your business is at a crossroads.

I have also had the honor of being a guest contributor at the woman’s entrepreneur, startup and small business community site called  Women Grow Business that has been run by the super awesome Jill Foster and Shonali Burke (though I have been on a short hiatus lately since my lovely daughter, Asha, was born at the end of December!)  I recently started contributing to LVC Mag, a woman’s lifestyle community. Guest blogging has been a great experience for me and a nice way to connect and network with other entrepreneurs.  I recommend it for small businesses, especially those that are just starting out.

7. Do you have any parting thoughts?

As this is an interview for KikScore, it makes sense to touch upon my thoughts on the KikScore seal here.  I appreciate that it is a centralized way for customers to share thoughts about my business.  I also think the information they compile provides a fair and verified representation of my business to visitors of 17thandRiggs.com.  As a regular online shopper, I feel that combining financial and management information, website history and polices coupled with interactive customers’ reviews is a genius way to prove that you are a reputable company to deal with and give shoppers a good idea of what they can expect from the experience.  I also think the level of transparency it provides is invaluable in instilling confidence in visitors to our site and helping us convert them into customers.



We want to thank Rebecca for this interview. If you have any specific questions for Rebecca, please leave a comment and we will make sure we get them answered.  Also just for full disclosure, Rebecca somehow married one of my partner’s in KikScore, Raj.  My wife and I wonder every time we see Raj & Rebecca, what was Rebecca thinking!!!

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Posts Tagged ‘Online Business’

How you respond to customer issues is important… anyone can be reading!

Wednesday, March 31st, 2010

While researching a couple of issues from a recent KikScore customer signup,  the importance of a quick and informative response to current and would be customers became critically evident.  As a small business, you need to educate your customers so they have confidence in the product you are providing, and also share information in layman’s terms to alleviate confusion and not tech-speak your customers into oblivion.

I struggle with this balance while straddling the technical and marketing role at KikScore (and in my day job too).   Your customer base doesn’t share the in-depth knowledge that your team has on the inner-workings of your system, and thus you need to take a step back when responding to a customer inquiry/issue and put yourself in the customer’s shoes.   This entails not only empathizing with the issue at hand, but also providing deeper context surrounding the potential resolution/fix to the customer’s concern and conveying that back to them in a timely and informative manner.

In the world of social media today, any response you share with customers (and prospects) can (and most likely will) be posted or passed along the internet waves and will have an impact on not only the legitimacy of your business/product but also on its future branding potential.

SocialSmallBiz is doing a series on customer support and social media and the intertwining of each.  A fantastic quote to live by, for ANY small business owner “It Takes Months to Find a Customer… seconds to lose one”

How do you handle your customer inquiries and responses?  Please share your best practices and lessons learned with us.

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KikScore Interviews Name.com – Local Denver Domain Registration Company

Monday, March 22nd, 2010

I stumbled upon Name.com about a month ago while researching local small businesses.  They are a close knit team that is very active in the Denver community and show a strong passion for small business and teamwork.  Lesley Yarbrough, the Community Manager of Name.com shares with us their exciting story.

1. Tell us about Name.com and who you focus on serving?

Name.com was founded in 2003 by Bill Mushkin, who previously founded Mushkin Enhanced. Our office is located in gorgeous Denver, CO in an old building that was part of Lowry Air Force Base.   Name.comis comprised of an awesome  and diverse group of people working hard to create innovative tools and provide our customers with the best service possible.

Really we focus on serving three different groups:

  • Retail customers
  • Small to medium sized business and startups
  • Domain investors or “domainers”

2. There are a lot of domain sites out there.  How does Name.com differentiate from the competition?

We try to provide the best search tools we can to help our customers find the right name for their needs. For instance, our Domain Suggestion tool  is very unique in that it not only provides our keyword suggestions, but also Internationalized Domain Name (IDN) translations and Google Keyword suggestions. We also offer over 50 extensions for registration and awesome, personal support for all of our customers.

3. Where will Name.com focus most of its energy in 2010?

A lot of our energy in 2010 is going to be focused on reaching out to our community and establishing more of a local/regional presence here in Colorado. We’ve recently hired a Community Manager to help us with this effort. We also want to focus on improving our search capabilities and providing more value-added products to our customers.

4. If you had 2 lessons learned from your business that you could pass on to others about having an online business, what are those?

Try new ideas and act on them quickly, because if you don’t someone will beat you to the punch. Also we’re working to create more strategic partnerships and “acting quickly” can be applied to that as well.

5. As 2010 begins, what do you see as 2 new trends in your business this year?

IDNs are pretty popular in the investor community and we see those becoming more mainstream this year. We think we’ll also start to see a higher adoption rate of alternative extensions (.TV, .MOBI, .IM, .TEL, etc.) as fewer .COM and .NET domains are available.

6. If your business/store could be any movie or movie character, what movie/movie character would it be and why?

Honestly, the first thing that came to mind was The Big Lebowski .  We’re genuine, laid back, and we can get the job done. The Dude abides.

7. If Name.com could have a dream spokesperson for your company who would it be and why?

Why Gary Vaynerchuk of course! We’re huge fans of Gary in our office, we love his passion, his hard work, and his honesty.  We take what he has to say to heart and try to crush it every day. He actually did a personalized video for us recently when we ordered a bunch of his books for a promotion.

8. How do the folks at Name.com let loose after a busy day working?

We’re a diverse bunch, so we let loose a few different ways. Being located in Colorado we have access to great biking, hiking, skiing, and all that fun stuff. We have a ping pong table in our office and sometimes we’ll have tournaments, so there’s a bit of friendly competition going on. We also do a weekly web show called Beer Fridays.

9. Do you have any parting thoughts for our readers and the small business community?

Work hard, show your customers you care, and keep on rockin’!

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Kikscore Interviews World of Toy Car's Mike Miller on Selling Online

Monday, March 15th, 2010

I came across Mike Miller from the World of Toy Cars on Twitter a few months ago. The World of Toys Cars (WOTC) is an online store that focuses on diecast vehicles and vintage toys.  Its a car and toy collector’s paradise and Mike has some really amazing models including NASCAR, motorcyclesHot Wheels and aircraft just to name a few.  In this post,  KikScore sits down with Mike so that he can tell our community his small business story and more about his very cool website.

1. Tell us about WOTC and who you focuses on serving?

World of Toy Cars was created in such a fashion that collectors can easily find specific toy cars. Most collectors are always looking for specific models, either Volkswagons, Corvettes, trucks or maybe just Police Cars…but each collector is defined by something they like. There are always collectors that just collect Matchbox,..or just Hot Wheels,..but again, the ones they cant find in stores, they have to revert to the second market like eBay or sites such World of Toy Cars.

2. How did you get your started selling online?

I started selling online back in 1998, when eBay was just getting started. I was listing items with no pictures, and selling usually all the time. The client base was new and wanting items. I soon learned the art of pictures, uploading, taught myself HTLM, and created eye catching auctions which drastically improved my results.

3. Where will WOTC focus most of its energy in 2010?

WOTC will continue bringing new and exciting models to the online community. The task of documenting each item, photographing, and creating each listing individually is exhausting. Its also something that can only be done by myself, as condition of the card or package, the item itself, are there variations, year, where it was made, and the rarity (value) of the complete item is Critical.

4. If you had 2 lessons learned from your business that you could pass on to others about selling online, what are those?

Two very simple things that MUST be done if you want to sell online. You must spell correctly! And you must have perfect pictures. Both those things tell everything about a seller, and yet the buyer has hardly seen your stuff. Once a buyer detects bad spelling, or blurry pictures, they are GONE.

5. As 2010 starts, what do you see as 2 new trends in your business this year?

The ever changing search engine optimization. This is critical again in the online world, and Google who basically controls the strings here, is always updating…so you as a seller must update also. The second is not really a trend, but its opening up, is worldwide shipping. People must get onboard with shipping globally if they want to be successful. More and more information is available now about different countries and their guidelines. People must educate themselves and grab those open markets.

6. If WOTC could have a dream spokesperson for your company who would it be and why?

It would have to be someone with a sense of humor, people relate and remember when they are made to laugh!

7. How do the folks at WOTC let loose after a busy day working?

Usually a good meal, and then out to check stores to find new and fun toys!!

8. Do you have any parting thoughts for our readers and the small business community?

If you want to succeed on the WWW, you must learn to ship worldwide. You have the whole world at your doorstep, looking at your items, and your telling most of them to go away because you dont like where they live. Imagine if stores or restaurants did that!! I have been shipping all over the world for 12 years now, I communicate to everybody in their own language with Google translate, and international sales account fo over 50% of my business.

The other thing I have noticed is many sellers have tons of rules to deter business. I have had people refuse to sell to me simply because they dont want to go to the USPS, or the forms are too lengthy to fill out, so they cancel my purchase. Why are you even selling things? That baffles me…you want to sell…make it easy to buy…it happens, it works…so do it!

KikScore would like to thank Mike for this interview. If you have questions for Mike, leave them in the comments section below and we will make sure they get answered.

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Small Business Interview with History In Action Toy's Sterling Ashby

Monday, March 8th, 2010

We met Sterling Ashby at the KikScore sponsored Social Commerce Camp DC and he has a very intriguing story that any small business would be interested in hearing.  Sterling is a lawyer by trade (like a couple of us at KikScore), but his real passion is his business that sells children’s toys that are based on real-life American heroes. Using real heroes from history, Sterling has created a series of action figures for children that are fun, can be positive role models, and whose real-life stories awaken both a child’s imagination and appeal to the kid within us all. History in Action Toys was born from this.  He now sells these highly popular action figures online at www.hiatoys.com. I can tell you when my two month old gets a little bigger, I am buying some action figures from Sterling’s site!

In this 5 minute small business video interview of Sterling, we cover a wide range of issues including:

1) the challenges of having a business online;

2) crowdsourcing  marketing and ideas;

3) building buzz on Twitter, Facebook and other social media channels for your  online store and business;

4) a few of the tips that Sterling learned from Social Commerce Camp; and

5) a few examples of real life heroes that Sterling now offers as action figures at HIA Toys that the community should check out.

Please tell us your thoughts on this interview in the comments section below.

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Social Commerce Camp DC Wrap-Up, Summary and Presentation Slides

Friday, February 26th, 2010

Social Media Assassins at KikScore's Social Commerce Camp DCSwami Shashi B taking pictures and chatting at a packed house at Social Commerce Camp DC sponsored by KikScore and Network Solutions

Shashi B talking social media at KikScore's and Network Solutions sold out Social Commerce Camp DC

Shashi B talking social media at KikScore's and Network Solutions Social Commerce Camp DC

Social Commerce Camp DC speakers and Sponsors Network Solutions, KikScore and MyBusinessAssistant

Social Commerce Camp DC speakers and Sponsors Network Solutions, KikScore and MyBusinessAssistant

Last Saturday morning, KikScore, Network Solutions, and MyBusinessAssistant.com put on the first ever Social Commerce Camp DC at the downtown offices of Mayer Brown.  The event actually sold out after receiving considerable coverage in a number of places like  Techcocktail the Washington ExaminerWomenGrowBusinessand GrowSmartBusiness. More than 70 small businesses, social media enthusiasts and online sellers showed up for networking and learning.  The event featured three sessions from social media experts that included practical tips for using various social media tools, a real case study of social commerce success and great PR tips for small business. Pictures of the event, including the post-SCCDC Chipolte run, can be found here.

The morning got kicked off with some early networking, a great breakfast provided by the sponsors and everyone’s excitement about being in the absolutely gorgeous town hall conference room overlooking 19th Street.  After some introductory remarks, Network Solutions’ Shashi B got Social Commerce Camp DC going with his rousing, often funny and super useful Social Media 101 for Small Business. Check out Shashi’s slides below that cover a range of subjects on social media including the basics of a small business social media plan which are: 1) Set up Google Alerts about your business, industry and your own name; 2) Start participating in conversations; 3) Become a content publisher via Twitter, LinkedIn, blogs, podcasts, Facebook etc 4) Claim you business on Yelp; 5) Encourage customers to review you and 6) Start using videos.

After a quick networking break, Steve Fisher and Mike Doughtery began the second session with an energetic and highly informative case study presentation on Creating a Killer Social Commerce Website Experience.  It featured the very interesting discussion of their launch and promotion of the movie Browncoats: Redemption. Steve and Mike got the audience engaged as they walked through the basic components of building a successful social commerce experience which are: 1) Social Shopping; 2) Ratings & Reviews; 3) Recommendations & Referrals; 4) Forums & Communities; 5) Social Media; and 6) Social advertising.

After setting the baseline for the audience of the basics of the social commerce experience, Mike highlighted how the Browncoats: Redemption experience used a 6 step strategy to create awareness and buzz around the movie.  The 6 steps were: 1)   Establish your goals; 2) Build the community; 3) Give them good content; 4) Get them involved; 5) Get them investing and 6) Share the success.  Check out their slides and the embedded video clips in them for more on the highly anticipated movie, their case study and these 6 steps:

The final session of the day featured the very highly regarded PR and social media specialist, Shonali Burke, who gave the attendees a great hands-on tutorial on PR Best Practices for Small Business. Shonali stressed that so much of PR today for small business is about relationships, presenting yourself in a consistent and presentable manner through your various online and offline channels.  The audience got great tips on tools to use to get to know their customers better with survey tools like Survey Monkey along with good press release tools like Pitch Engine.  Here are Shonali’s highly informative slides:

Some quick final thoughts.  We think it was a great first event and thank all of the participants and speakers.   Check out the hastag #sccdc on Twitter for the stream and conversation about the Social Commerce DC.  Lastly, look out as the next Social Commerce Camp will be in Denver later this spring.  In the meantime, we encourage all participants to keep up the good vibes and connect with each other! Also please check out the KikScore (SCCDC’s sponsor!) website out. We would love comments/feedback/thoughts on our new look and feel.  We encourage you to sign up for our service if you have a business online. Its completely free.  Try us out.

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Posts Tagged ‘Online Business’

Has the Bad Economy Driven Social Media Growth By Small Businesses?

Thursday, February 25th, 2010

As you all know, we at KikScore are passionate about small business.  We take every opportunity to hype small business as much as we can.  Well a very interesting study was released last week about the state of American small businesses.   The very informative  Small Business Success Index (SBSI), sponsored by Network Solutions and the Center for Excellence in Service at the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business had some interesting findings  (The SBSI can be found at www.growsmartbusiness.com).  In particular, there are some very informative findings in the study about the growth of social media use and adoption by small businesses over the last year and especially during the time of our rough economy.  Here are just a few of the key findings in that area:

  • Social media adoption by small businesses has doubled from 12% to 24% in the last year.
  • 75% surveyed have a company page on a social networking site
  • 61% use social media for identifying and attracting new customers
  • 57% have built a network through a site like LinkedIn
  • 45% expect social media to be profitable in the next twelve months

What may this mean?  One theory is that as we went through the rough economic times over the last 18 months, small business may have decided to slow down traditional spending on marketing and focused on devoting more time and resources on using free marketing tools like Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and LinkedIn.  While we know that these are not really “free”, because there is a precious value that is associated with the time that small businesses spent using these tools, nevertheless the low cost marketing alternatives that these tools offer may have really proved to be great options during leaner times.  And that is could very well be why we are seeing this growth in small business social media adoption.

I can tell you this, at KikScore as we have described in some previous posts social media has really been the core driving force of our marketing efforts and it will continue to be in the future. As an example, everyone of the links to the tools mentioned above actually goes to a KikScore social media property.  In fact, just yesterday we set up a Flickr page.  We have used each of these tools instead of spending our precious cash on traditional marketing efforts.  The SBSI findings seem to indicate that we are part of a growing group of businesses that are doing just that.

I do wonder whether these trends will continue as the economy hopefully starts to pick up.  What do you think is the reasons behind this growth in social media that was found in the study?

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