“How do you find the time to manage all of this social media stuff?” That’s one of the most common questions I’m asked whenever I present. And sometimes, I get the sense that people are hoping that it’s so complicated and time-consuming that they’ll have a great excuse NOT to do it. Not to learn [...]
Shopping for Women Made Easy for Men
Briefly tell us about your business and how you got started.
Presents For Her is an online gift shop that targets males who are looking to buy gifts for females. Annette's background in the study of human behavior and the psychology of female behavior has helped her educate buyers to the level at which the shopping experience becomes easy.
What have been your major achievements?
Being Australia's largest online gift shop for women’s gifts, with a choice of over 2200 gifts. We offer 396 physical gifts and over 1900 gifts are for an experience. For example you can go hot air ballooning or a buy a day spa voucher and much more.
What have been your major challenges?
Human behavioural studies show that most men find shopping an inconvenience and they like to make their shopping trip as quick and painless as possible. They like to go in, get what they need and then leave. However, when it comes to purchasing for the opposite sex, most men struggle with ideas and find gift shopping extremely challenging. Our major challenge has been converting enquiries to sales. Converting online enquiries to sales is challenging, because we have no way of communicating with the customer, unless they select the online help feature which directs the call to us.
Who has been your greatest inspiration?
My husband, Petar Lackovic has been my inspirational mentor; without him the idea would never have come up. He definitely has no clue when it comes to shopping for his mum and sisters-in-law. Also John Grey and Allen Pease who added to my education, Chris Howard for his personal development educational courses, Anthony Robbins and Brian Tracey for their contributions in the field of personal development.
How do you stand out from your competitors?
- Most website businesses do not create interpersonal relationships. If communication is required it is produced through a generic and direct email service. We have a phone contact as well.
- Everything comes gift wrapped for free! Even if a female is buying herself a nice piece of lingerie or perfume,
it still comes gift wrapped as we want everyone to feel spoilt and have the feeling of luxury.
- Our prices are 10% to 70% cheaper then retail.
How do you get clients 'through your door'? Do you have a sales team, use telemarketers, or advertise?
Being an online business you have no foot traffic, so it's all about driving people to our website. The most cost-effective way to do that is advertising on the Internet, as the consumer is already online.
In your Industry and in your opinion what has been the most successful 'sales' thing you have done to date and why do you think it has been so successful?
Our direct ecommerce newsletters are the most powerful and successful tool as they have the highest sales conversion rate based on a ratio of contact:sale.
This is because:
- Most of the customers on our mailing list are already highly qualified consumers - they have signed up to be a member, have previously purchased from our website or they were referred by a trusted friend or partner.
- The newsletters always have a strong 'call to action' campaign, which creates urgency. They also show the huge savings on promotional items advertised.
- Many consumers regularly need to buy gifts; especially in peak seasons like Christmas, Valentine's Day, Mother's Day and then there are family members' and friends' birthdays as well. So it makes it super simple in these peak times as the consumer doesn't have to fight for car parks in busy shopping centres and wait in check-out queues.
- The newsletter targets the customer whilst they are already online and takes them immediately to our online shop.
What are the do's and dont's in your mind when it comes to selling your product and service?
DO treat every customer as if they are your first and only customer.
DO build rapport with the customer by asking for and sharing information.
DO telephone customers instead of emailing - people build relationships better than an email.
DO create names for everything e.g. packages, clothing, services, etc. It is easier for customers to remember and it creates more of an emotional attachment to the item.
DO implement a follow-up call to ensure customer's satisfaction after purchase. It helps build trust and creates relationship with the brand. It also puts a voice to the website, as people and services build relationships, not the website.
DO everything in your power to keep a customer happy and always show sincerity in your apology even if you are not to blame. e.g. the courier company delivers an order late. This is out of your control, but the customer pays the consequences. So help them make it easier the next time and ensure they will come back by giving them some type of discount card or gift voucher for their next purchase.
DON'T ever say to a customer: "I can't", "We don't", "I won't" or "unfortunately". A customer only cares what you can do not what you can't do. Negative words are like fuel for fire when spoken to a customer.
DON'T over-promise and under-deliver. Customers always remember the last experience and impression. Always make the last impression a great one!
DON'T assume your customer's budget. Continually show and add products when you get an agreement that they like them. Those who judge a book by its cover will miss out on some of the best stories.
If you could do anything (regardless of budget and resource) to maximise your sales what would you do and how would you go about doing it?
The best way to target a customer in advertising is to get as many senses involved as possible (sight, taste, hearing, smell, touch) and to increase the frequency of this.
I would run campaigns that coincide with three types of media:
- TV to stimulate the two senses, hearing and sight, and can help create feelings of excitement and emotion. I would be targeting highly qualified viewers. 70% of Presents for Her's customers are men (as found through our customer surveys), so a strong focus would be on sports shows, news programs and peak time shows.
- Radio to stimulate only the sense of hearing, but we could sponsor a competition for a week, to increase the feeling of excitement.
- Billboards to attract the many people driving on motorways and listen to the radio while negotiating peak hour traffic. Billboards can be used to add visual appeal to the messages that potential customers/clients have already heard on the radio. This also means that customers can see the branding which helps to increase memory recall.
Each form of media above will have a 'call to action' to create urgency and insist on immediate purchase. This will, in turn, increase sales and the client database for future direct marketing purposes.
Where would you like to see your business in five years from now?
- Australia's most popular gift shop for women
- Man's new best friend
- 11 stores in major shopping destinations, mall and shopping centres
- $3.3Million profit per state/per annum
What are your Top Five Strategies for Success?
1.I have a Success Journal
- I write down at least one thing I did that day that gets me closer to my goals.
- I write down three things I enjoyed about the day and three things I'm looking forward to tomorrow.
- Finally I write all my goals, that way I keep them clear in my head, so I stay focused and it's the last thing I think about before I go to sleep.
2. Keep developing your education within your product/industry.
3. Keep growing your personal/spiritual development, as this helps you to remain positive.
4. Have empathy when relating or communicating with your customers. I have used this skill in so many conversations in the past between staff and customers that could have turned ugly if I didn’t.
5. Never settle for mediocre and I always believe you can do better, which will continually make you strive for more.