I`m so glad I could reach you at this forum. I tried calling your number earlier on in the year but I left a voicemail instead. Apparently, I needed to conduct a telephone interview with you concerning ShopSublime as I did a term paper on your business model.
I will round up my MSc course (Entrepreneurship & Innovation, University of Essex) in September and will be submitting a less traditional dissertation, called a comprehensive business plan and it will involve assessing your business model and setting it up in Lagos, Nigeria. Recently, I carried out some research to verify the profitable nature of your business model and it`s my belief that it`s a very good business model.
The marketing aspect which you made reference to in one of your posts can be tackled in several ways. May I suggest these:
- As a niche business model, word of mouth is certainly your best bet and may I suggest using discounted gift vouchers to be given to your current customers to give thier friends. E.g if your customer, Mrs Potter gets a discount voucher, upon presentation by her friend Miss Bloom, this entitles the friend to say, a 5%-10% discount. This also entitles Mrs Potter to say, points which when added up after a whlie she can use to collect some goods. You can use this method to build your clientele base while exploring new markets.
- Personally, for a niche product like we both share a passion for, I do not support the idea of fliers as its target market rarely grab a hold of it. Other ways will be to place adverts with your boutique`s website and a catchy phrase, in say, Cosmo, or any well read female magazines in Arizona. The important thing is to target your market effectively without overstretching your ad budget.
- Do you make use of feedback forms with your customers? I think you should develop a means of capturing the information of your present customers and then keep updating them about your newest offering. You can use emails (which are soooooooo easy to forward), or you can get some nicely made video and post on YouTube for next to nothing. The link for this video can then be placed in your emails and then sent off to your existing customers. Encourage them to share the link with friends and family.
- The last method is usually effective for creating awareness, but its success is dependent on how well executed it is. It is the ability to create a viral message such that people do the spreading for you. With your brand, what should matter most is your ability to shorten the decision making process for your customers when they decide to purchase from Shop Sublime. This viral messages contribute to this decision shortening process and can be as simple as funny emails to videos, which get people to argue about simple things like g-strings or momma pants, which is better?
These are some suggestions which I also intend to make use of as I write my business plan to be implemented, hopefully, by early 2009. I`ll be really glad to hear from you and hope my suggestions can be implemented for the success of your business.