Social Media opens up a brand new marketing frontier for small businesses of all types. Given the propensity for motorcyclists to join clubs, gather at rallies, and organize charity runs, building a community of like minded bikers that offers entertainment, communication, and collaboration gives the leather merchant an opportunity to build lasting relationships with potential customers world wide.
A Web 2.0 biker leather e-tail store might take the form of a blog, with static pages being the basis for navigation, while the product pages are added over time as chronological posts. Each page and post is interactive, in that the visitor is invited to post comments on the content at the end of the page.
The consumer is now able to ask questions, comment about a product, give a testimonial, or note where there’s room for improvement, right there on the product page for all to see!
Customers are invited to collaborate by offering product reviews, stories of their own experiences, even suggesting things they would like to see on the site. For the merchant, the sense of community the people feel translates into a sense of trust, establishing the company and the customer as one on a level playing field.
A potential customer can subscribe to comments and to newly added posts via RSS feeds, or have the content delivered directly to their Inbox. A great way to stay informed about newly added products, what people are saying about a particular subject, or to keep up with an item they might be interested in as it comes back into stock.
Web 2.0 sites are all about building community, and as such you will find many leather shops expanding into more general fields of entertainment, adding articles, video, and news feeds on topics of interest not just to lovers of leather, but to the biker community in general.
Look for these sites to utilize all the other social media web sites as well. Staking out a presence on Facebook and Twitter, joining and creating social networking groups, posting Video and Photos on YouTube and Flickr, and tweeting about things of interest to motorcycle enthusiasts all over the world are what broaden the audience of a Web 2.0 business.
These merchants of the Web 2.0 world may not want to post an address on their site simply because they do not want to be seen as local. After all, the entire world is their stage.
With all the forms and forums of communication available in the Web 2.0 format, some sites may not want to post a phone number. The concept of Web 2.0 dictates that questions and answers, comments and queries be posted for all to see, and are indeed themselves the seeds of discussion and conversation.
As a business person, the leather merchant must be able to differentiate between the general community and the potential customer. Most e-tailers also understand that many potential customers want to hear a voice behind the product. In the interest of building trust, no reputable merchant would deny them that.
If you do not see a phone number on the site, use the contact form to ask for a private conversation, going in to as much detail as you can so the representative can do the research. Ask to exchange phone numbers, and they should reply with there own toll-free number.
The social media frontier calls for a new relationship between business and the consumer. As the community grows, comments and replies by members take on a life of their own, generating threads of informative and entertaining conversations relevant to both product and lifestyle alike.
The role of the merchant morphs from salesman to moderator, as sales become generated by peers of the community itself.
The Biker Leather Shop Web 2.0 style: If You Build the Community, the Sales Will Come!
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