Will this “online thing” really work, and will it stick!?
I probably should not be writing this, but, what the hell. The fear of a little heat and/or of getting into hot water has not stopped me yet!
The title of this post will pretty much sum up much of what is still said by many people in retail, and by many in the retail vendor community, even today! Believe it or not!!
They are just not sure if this “online thing”, you know, the“internet” and this “social media thing” is really going to stick; and there are real concerns that there is no way to measure this new stuff like we could the old stuff! The old marketing vehicles and mediums were not broke, why did anyone try and fix them?!
For those that are “online” as much as myself, or for those actually making a real go with this “online thing” – you know – eBay, Amazon.com, Groupon, facebook, twitter, etc…. (it was a little tough for me to think of only five – ha ha), this may seem crazy or just plain ridiculous.
However, I assure you, this is the case for many, even in early 2011.
There are discussions and debates that go on everyday in the offices and in the lobbies of all retail that talk about newspaper advertising, magazine advertising, radio advertising and the traditional advertising of flyers etc… The talk is how vendors still want to and need to, throw copious amounts of money into the older, and still somewhat effective, mediums; and all at the expense of the “newer”, “less proven” and “less effective” mediums of today; whether that be twitter, facebook, any online coupon houses, or whatever.
There is a huge reluctance to engage, enroll and invest in these newer mediums.
I think it is like anything; fear of the unknown and fear of the new. Many of the vendors, and many of the retailers, may participate to varying levels as corporations; but how many of the actual individuals that work for these corporations, are participating on their own?
I am still getting the same old, same old; from soooo many individuals internally and externally; ”Who cares about facebook? It is full of privacy issues and so intrusive. And that stupid “twitter”; you know that place where all people do is tell others when they are going or have gone to the washroom.”
The other classic is; “There is no time to do any of this online stuff.” Not going to waste evenings “doing it” (mind out of gutter!) and not allowed to do it at work. There is just no time and really just no point! Heaven forbid we give up on some of that mind nourishing reality TV!
Thank God, London Drugs is not one of those retailers.
Our Executive Team and Online Marketing Guru (I’ll give @WayneRacine his props now) have tried, and in my opinion succeeded, in getting LD into the online arena and really pushing our vendors and many of our staff to move with the times also.
This was one of the main reasons for me starting the blog that I write now. Much of http://KensKool.com was a result of trying to get the vendors that I dealt with, more social media savvy, and to show them that this was not some way out there, far fetched scheme. they did get readership even on my little person blog!
and my tumblr account all accessible at my desktop – all of the time! I can actually show our staff and other vendors the power of the online world and I can show them real life examples of how it is working – real time!
If I am inspired by a product line or an idea, I can write about it at work immediately. LD gets it!
As a result, you are seeing many of my vendors now participating with London Drugs on the “official” London Drugs blog – All you need to know…
Now, I was not writing this tonight to plug the London Drugs online ventures, nor was I wanting to fuel my ego any more than it needs to be fueled by trying to take credit for many of my vendors now wanting to participate more online. Not just with LD, but in general. (Actually, this is a lie, I am always trying to fuel my ego and take credit for whatever I can!)
I can say, we have pushed many of our skeptical and old school vendors into “the game” as it were. We have also really partnered with some of the more internet capable and interested vendors.
We have some developing blog posts and QR Codes for our Vitamins and Supplements (@webbernaturals). We are using the QR Codes on our online flyers as well as our traditional print flyers (you see, I am not always trying to get rid of the old!)
We have many of our Vendors actively participating with @LondonDrugs on twitter.com. Telling the followers of me, our vendors and LD; about the great savings at LD.
We had an awesome weekend event with @EthicalBean and a feature price that I really wanted to get out to our customers. I did not tell Ethical Bean what I was doing, but I did tweet the news to my followers and in turn, @WTGreenDeal, @groceryalerts, @LondonDrugs, @EthicalBean and @kootenayborn tweeted and retweeted the news. May sound impressive to folks who are not on twitter.com, but the 9500’ish followers of the 5 of us sure appreciated the heads up! I have not had a chance to talk to Ethical Bean yet, but needless to say, we will be having a great talk tomorrow!!!
We even have one of our vendors (Brother @RoMarley knows I love him man) @MarleyCoffee even using us (London Drugs) as their “exclusive” online partner for all Canadian shipments of Marley Coffee!! Can you imagine that, just a small Western Canadian retailer!!. Check out Marley Coffees facebook page. Blessed Love!
We have others, like Mrs. Smith – Extreme Shopper, actively and regularly promoting London Drugs via her blog and her facebook page – and Mrs. Smith has been great in getting people into London Drugs stores and I will say the relationship has been 100% fueled by online usage by her, me and LD. A relationship that eHarmony would love to have as a testimonial!! Check out the London Drugs facebook page and look at the feedback we got on January 31st from followers of Mrs. Smith!
It seems funny (to me anyway and probably to a lot of you reading) that in 2011, we are still having to justify and really sell the online world to many people. It kills me to see that this is still the case in retail. I just don’t get it. I sometimes wonder what it will take for folks to realize that the world has changed, online is not going anywhere! You would think that the fact facebook is 600 million strong and that twitter is 250 million strong, that would be enough…..
Anyway, I guess, like anything, it just takes time….
How much more time is what I wonder about!
Ciao for now @kootenayborn