Friday, January 31, 2014

Top 4 Retail Trends For 2014

Will these be the top trends in grocery sales for 2014?

The kiosk idea is interesting. How might your products be sampled? 

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Retail Sales In Australia NAB Update Nov 2013

line Retail Sales Index monthly update – for
 the year to November 2013.

You can find out more here 

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Interesting Technology Stories This Week

Some interesting tech stories out this week. Take a peek.

These Tiny Keyboards Could Reinvent The Smartwatch Interface

"Minuum simplifies the traditional QWERTY layout by smashing it down to about the third the size a typical soft keyboard requires. Doing this on a smartwatch, for example, leaves more room for other on-screen elements." 
 Read the full story on this here

Google Glass Gets A Fresh Design

Isabelle Olsson makes the face computer into a thing of beauty.  She talks here with Fast Company about the inspiration behind the fashion-forward redesign that lets you blend in with the crowd.

Read the full story here 

How 7 People Test 400 Million Pounds Of Starbucks Coffee A Year

"After filling hundreds of juice glasses with carefully measured grounds and almost-boiling water, tasters form a line with spoons in-hand, smelling each cup, then slurping, swishing, and spitting a spoonful of coffee for each with mechanized efficiency. They’re confirming whether the beans will end their life as house blend, espresso, or even a Starbucks reserve. For the most part, these decisions have been predetermined by global operations and earlier tastings in Switzerland. But in this room, on this day, the team is the last line of defense."

Read the full story here 

Monday, January 20, 2014

The Bombay Bicycle Club Adelaide Feeling The Heat From Customers

One thing I don't recommend on your social media platforms, is whingeing about business issues that are yours to worry about, not for your customers to have to witness.

Here's the story on one restaurant whose owners thought complaining about penalty rates to customers, via social media would be clever as reported by business website Smartcompany Adelaide restaurant firebombed on social media after posting about penalty rates.

Seriously, that's never going to win  you any friends. Customers don't need to know about your business management issues.  Besides which, promoting the highly expensive renovations you just undertook, then complaining about the occasional extra money that the employees who have some relationship with your customers make is really poor manners.

Your customers might be working in hospitality at some other place when they are not paying your wages.

Here are some comments posted on their Facebook wall, that are indicative.

Is all publicity good publicity? Maybe not. These things have a way of taking on a life of their own.

And if you think your business is "safe" by not being active online, guess again. People can be reviewing your business like this whether you are active online or not. If you're smart ... you'll make sure you are monitoring your reputation and online presence. 

Sunday, January 19, 2014

David Jones & Myer Online Update

Back in June I posted about a blog that Emma Alberici wrote on The Drum. You can find it here. 

So we have just finished the Christmas sale season and so what's happened in the past half a year on the department store front?

Not much. Yay!! DJ's has an online store. Myer has an online store. It has mostly not worked but from a company - two companies that didn't bother making convenience a priority for customers and had no  shopping available on their website for the previous ten years I guess that's progress of a sort. Myer CEO you might remember gained much attention from the press and on social media when he made comments about the disabled - you can find his golden moment on that regaled here.

But how is that working in practice? Thanks to a headsup from Paul Wallbank, here's a good rundown on that side of the experience, from Tim Burrowes at Mumbrella with the catchy title that pretty much sums it up Australia’s ongoing online retail fiasco

 The good side in all of this is that if you have a business on Main Street, you can do a better job than the large stores.  You can compete - and you must. Eventually, these large companies will get a clue about how to do stuff online. Or the American stores that are setting up in Australia will.

Now is the time to get your business working this space effectively to grow sales for your business and grow your profits.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Consumer Protection And Social Media

Social media is a great way for business to be where customers are spending time. But there are some rules that you need to know to stay on the right side of the law.

Here's what the ACCC has to say about it

"Social media gives large and small businesses a direct way to interact with existing and potential customers, and promote their products and services. Businesses using social media channels like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube have a responsibility to ensure content on their pages is accurate, irrespective of who put it there."
While it looks like "anything goes" - it doesn't. You have an obligation to act honestly and within the guidelines that protect consumers, just as you do in your business normally. 
Note that this honesty of information also includes anything that OTHERS may write on your profile - your obligation is to monitor what others might be saying on your social media properties and ensuring that misleading information is dealt with in the appropriate manner. 

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Business Beyond Social Media

The importance of social media and being online for business is clear. But it doesn't replace other aspects of business that need to be carried out. Other functions in the business need to work well to support the efforts being made online to promote the business.

Perhaps that starts with setting good goals for the business owner as well as the business itself. Because we are complex multi-dimensional people and not just all business.

Here are some business articles from my Actionbites blog. For businesses in the Newcastle and Hunter regions it can be tough to break out of the walls around us. Many businesses don't give us credit for being able to provide as good as they might buy from Sydney, but the reality we have some excellent people in Newcastle and the Hunter doing remarkable work and much more easily accessible.

Perhaps you can use that thought to open up more potential to expand the reach of your business as you read these articles.

Why 'Actionbites'? On this blog I want people to take action from the articles I write. The 'bites' are things that can be used as a catalyst to take action, and the article should give some direction on the 'How' to do so.

Technology, the internet and social media - these are productivity tools
Social Media Marketing - The Dirty Secret
It Comes Down To Communication
You Have Unconscious Strategies You Use Now ... And This Is How They Work

Related articles on Goals


Monday, January 13, 2014

Get Content Written For Your Web Needs

Every business now needs to be publishing regular content online that showcases the business, is interesting for readers and can grab the attention.

This is just one of those 'doing business' activities that is now mainstream and undeniable. 

But not everyone has the capacity to do this in-house. 

If you don't have a marketing department or you don't have employees that have been trained to understand the online world and social media marketing and inbound marketing, then you can get help with this aspect of your business marketing. 

I have some limited places for businesses that need help in producing quality content for the website, Facebook, Twitter or Linkedin, blogs, or for printing. 

  • Graphic banners 
  • Tailored quotation images
  • Copy writing for the internet: 
  • Blog posts 
  • Articles 
  • Downloadable publications. 

Your message needs to be visually appealing and consistent. 

If you would like assistance with this you can contact me on 0403 365 855 or find me on @lindyasimus 

Get your story out there working for you. 

Lindy Asimus 

Related posts:
Many hands make lighter work of social media for local businesses
Here's how to save time and get good content for your business online
Inbound marketing the new old fashioned way to do business
Financial planners: Social Marketing the key to keeping business on the books
Business writing not just on the social media wall
What every business should know about social media

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Forget The Techy Jargon Get Good At What You Do

The digital age. What is it? We read so much blather about digital this, digital that . For many business owners, 'digital' meant either your fingers or that clock radio. So what does it really mean?

Does "The Digital Age" mean anything useful?
Once upon a time someone developed a way to show different locations electronically as 'pages' and share information over distance. This was great and opened up a whole lot of useful and some silly things we could do with computers that we were not able to do before.

Then came Web 2.0 Of course nobody talks about that now it would be a sure sign that you are living in the past. So now we have The Digital Age. Well what is it really? It's really just how things are now. Let's stop talking about the Digital Age and start talking about what you're doing now to get the message out about your business.

That's new. That's old.
Different fleas. Same old dog.

So What Do We Do?
It's not "optional" to know how all this works now. or perhaps more correctly, not optional to know how to use it effectively. Getting across this learning is a simple cost of doing business in 2012 and beyond.  And by the way,  anyone can learn this, with the right help. Yes even you.

It's as basic a skill as learning to make a telephone call once was.

And it is time for businesses to get cracking and learning how to get the best results they can for the least amount of effort, cost and aggravation, using new tools to  save money, get far better product exposure and really show off the stuff of which they are made.

We hear about e-business. What's that? Well hello, e-business is just any - or every - business now.  It is a capability you acquire.  Want to run a nail and beauty centre? Well you can't do that online. But you can use online tools to draw customers, showcase new ways to get creative, new designs, new ways to book in, new ways to generate referrals.

You have a bricks and mortar business? Great. Sell from there, and see what else you can sell not from there. This idea that we are stuck in a location waiting for some customer to wander past our door during those hours we are open is over. Just as customers go looking for information about products at any time of the day or night, we have the ability to be there where they looking, with all the answers they need and the steps to let them buy when it is convenient, and assure them that we know our stuff when it comes to our core business. Pretty much like we used to do - but without the locality restrictions, and without having to keep staff on the clock 24/7.

The more that new products come into the digital space the more there is to learn. For business that's not new. Dynamic businesses have been weathering change forever. This is a new one, just like the old ones were. Those who are flexible and open to learning will do well. Those who don't will fall by the wayside. Just like always.

Change ... is Gonna Come
We see a lot about 'digital literacy' well that's not enough either. We need our businesses to be digitally competent and learning centres. Testing to see what works and being willing to adapt as the market changes.

Perhaps the biggest change - the only change that matters is developing an attitude that embraces change and commits to learning how to make new technology improve what we do and make it easier to do better with fewer resources. This is what The Digital Age is all about. And just as in the past, skills building and training is required.

You don't need to know the ins and outs of every terabyte of information around the technical aspects. You do need to learn how to ask the right questions of those who do know that stuff. And how to determine if they know what they are talking about.

You do need to know why your business needs a blog.
You do need to build a great customer database full of useful information.
You do need to know how to use an email program.
You do  need to know that sending newsletters as a pdf is pointless - or worse.

You do need to know how to get all those great photographs off your camera and onto your blog, your website and your social media platforms.

You do need to know how to create content that you can share that tells the story about your business and that will interest existing customers and bring them back to you for new business and attract new customers.

There are many things you need to know.
And quite a few you don't really need to know.
Especially important is for local business to stop looking for excuses and start taking positive action to be relevant.

What Do I Need To Do?
But mostly, as a business, you need to know your basic business numbers, really know your customers and what they want  (no, not just guess), and encourage and empower your employees to get behind your vision and help customers feel wanted again.

The Digital Age?
For small business that's The Customer Age.

That's a bit old fashioned isn't it.

You still need to sell more things to more people, and have them come back and buy again more often. Digital tools are just resources you can help you do exactly that.

Local business needs to be cool - tech savvy - with a bit of Retro thrown in.
Customers love that.

Related posts:
Many hands make lighter work of social media for local businesses
Here's how to save time and get good content for your business online
Inbound marketing the new old fashioned way to do business
Financial planners: Social Marketing the key to keeping business on the books
Business writing not just on the social media wall
What every business should know about social media

Lindy Asimus
0403 365 855

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