1. Look before you click. Always hover over a link before you click it so you can see where it is going. It the URL does not match where you think you should be going, or looks weird, suspicious, or kinda funky, don’t click on it. Only click links you know are safe and go to reputable websites.
2. Don’t open email attachments until you have verified they are safe. Never open any email attachment that is *.exe, *.zip, *.pdf, *.doc or any other *.* that you were not expecting. If you are unsure if someone is sending you a file, email or call them to confirm that you need to take a look at that file. You don’t have a relative in Nigeria that left you money!
3. Watch for spoof emails. Do not be fooled by look-a-like emails. Always make sure you know where the email came from and who sent it before you do anything more than preview it. Be especially wary of emails that say they are from the IRS, banks, or other large agencies. Most times these agencies will send you snail mail if there are any pressing issues.
4. Look out for phishermen! Phishing scams are one of the most popular portals to viruses and hacking. Always look at the URL bar to make sure you are on the actual companies website. If you aren’t sure, google the company and navigate to their corporate website through google. Remember, watch the URLs carefully.
5. Your password is yours. Keep your password to yourself. Memorize it. Don’t give it to others, make it a series of random letters and numbers, no dictionary words. Make it hard so a hacker cant guess it. DON’T USE 12345! DON’T TAPE IT TO YOUR COMPUTER!
6. Don’t surf and go to non-work related websites.
If you follow the above, you will likely not get a virus. Viruses halt your work and waste a huge amount of company time and money to clean up. Pass this on to your friends and employees as well.
Thank you for stopping by the Outdoor Business Network SHOT Show booth and requesting more information from our company. The show was a huge success for us, and we are looking forward to another great year serving the shooting sports industry. Hopefully you had a chance to speak with one of our representatives or partners to get a taste of what Outdoor Business Network can do for you and your company.
We will be following up with each and every person we met at the show, however please understand this will take some time. We have a low pressure sales approach, so we won’t be bugging you with lots of follow up phone calls. If you are ready to go and want to get started on your e-commerce website or marketing right away, don’t hesitate to drop us an email or phone call.
We look forward to serving you in the future. Please stay tuned as we will be updating you with more information regarding our products and services shortly.
We here at OBN are proud to welcome our newest supplier to our system. We have completed the integration with their ERP and warehouse management system, so retailers using our eCommerce platform now have the ability to get updated product information, inventory status, order status, as well as utilize our One-Click-to-Ship feature.
Moteng is familiar with online fulfillment and drop shipping. They even have a program dedicated to it. If you are a current Moteng customer, or an outdoor retailer looking to expand its offerings, it is worth a look. Moteng’s product section includes knives & tools, public safety equipment, lights, apparel, outdoor equipment, kitchen cutlery, and more. To find out more about our new integration, give us a call at 1-800-699-0820 ext. 1, one of our team members would be glad to answer your questions.
More about Moteng:
Moteng was founded in 1980 in Los Angeles as a supplier of knives and imported African artifacts. Fine wall hangings hand woven by the Moteng Mountain tribesman in the Kingdom of Lesotho gave the company its name.
Moteng has continually enhanced both its products and services. Our website has been rated as having the most information and easiest to use by our customers.
In 1987 the company relocated to San Diego, California. In 2011 the company moved it’s warehouse into it’s present location in Phoenix, Arizona. In 2011, Black Orchid Equity, LLC, a private equity firm, purchased Moteng NA, LLC and gave the company capital to operate and grow in the space for another 30 years.
Thanks to the incredible support of our very loyal customers and vendors, Moteng has grown to become one of the leading wholesale distributors and drop-shippers in our industry. Moteng now offers over 100,000 items from over 250 best selling brands.
Look through our product range or contact us for a catalog. We look forward to doing business with you soon
The team at OBN has made a concerted effort to contact each of our clients individually. Much like ourselves, we find our customers are busy running the day to day tasks. The reason for these courtesy calls is just that. Our first goal is to be sure you have all of your questions answered and possible assist you with any tasks that you have been meaning to get to. The second and possibly larger reason for us calling on you all is that we very much want to be sure that you are all aware of our marketing capabilities. From some simple Online Marketing Campaign to full on marketing management, the power of a well structured can drastically change the livelihood of your business.
If you have read any of my past Blogs you will know that OBN believes in the power of marketing. We can custom tailor your marketing solution to meet your budget. The process is really quite painless and the rewards that can be reaped are well worth the effort. While we will continue to reach out to all of you I urge you to get in touch with us too. There is no task to small to help you with and the knowledge that we have to share with you can literally be the difference in making or breaking your business.
Every company needs an effective logo to represent their branding and provide consumers an easily recognizable graphic representation of the company and it’s core values. Logo’s can become the public face of a business and in examples of extremely effective logo design, can even replace the brand name as the most ubiquitous aspect of a company (see the Nike “Swoosh” or McDonald’s “Golden Arches”). Creating and implementing an effective logo is an essential step in the evolution of any successful retailer.
What is the purpose of a logo?
Logos are an aspect of a company’s branding, they’re used as the graphical representation of a company’s values and goals. Logos are used to identify a particular entity in a sea of competitors, and help to inspire loyalty, trust and admiration among consumers. An effective logo design will help to convey not only what a company does, but what it stands for. Although logos are not generally created to be a salable commodity, it’s not unheard for a great logo to become just that (again, see the Nike “Swoosh”).
What elements make up a good logo?
Generally it’s accepted that there are 5 basic principles that every logo should encompass:
Simple: Often logos need to communicate both effectively and quickly. Logos need to be as easily recognized by someone speeding by a billboard at 70mph, as they would be by someone watching a 30 second commercial on tv. The key to speedy recognition is simplicity of design; the fewer elements, the easier it is for the viewer to distinguish what he or she is looking at.
Memorable: Of equal importance to the logo being recognized, is the logo’s ability to leave a lasting impression on the viewer. The goal of an effective logo is to create a relationship between a symbol and what it symbolizes, to accomplish this task it must be easily remembered. An effective logo will be easily remembered so that the consumer can easily recognize the symbol of a company and what that company stands for.
Timelessness: In order for a logo to remain memorable it also must remain unchanged. Logos need to be created in such away that allows them to remain relevant even with changes in design aesthetics and popular preferences. Updates are appropriate from time to time, but the general feel of a logo should be created in such a way as to allow for changes in taste without compromising the logos integrity.
Versatile: Logos need to be able to function across a variety of different media and applications. For instance an ideal logo would look good on a website header, plastered on a billboard, or stitched into a company t-shirt. An effective logo should look as good in black and white as it does in color. Ideally logos should be created in vector graphics format. Vector graphics scale to any size and can be enlarged or shrunk to fit any application without a loss of quality.
Appropriate: The effective logo needs to take into account the audience it is hoping to capture and be appropriately designed with the intended viewers in mind. This isn’t to say that every logo for a gun store needs to have a firearm in the design, however if you’re intended audience is the recreational hunter you may want to include camouflage or a deer, where as a company going after tactical sales may want to include carbon fiber or soldier silhouette in the design.
What does good logo design cost?
The cost of logo design can vary greatly depending on the needs of client. How many logo concepts need to be presented? How many rounds of revisions are included in the design quote? What type of finished files are required, .pdf, .eps, .png, .jpg? Large companies have spent millions of dollars on logo design and implementation. OBN offers logo design packages starting at $499 that include multiple design concepts, one round of revisions, and final image outputs in several formats including scalable vector graphics.
Customer phone calls are important to any e-commerce or brick and mortar business. Want to learn some tips, tricks, and best practices to make your customer phone calls more effective? Let’s take a look at how to handle sales related phone calls in the first part of my two part series on customer service.
Part 1: Handling Sales Related Customer Calls
Seeing an Opportunity
This process is very similar to interacting with a customer in your brick and mortar retail store or even at a gun show. In the e-commerce world helping customers over the phone is not only necessary, but also a great opportunity to help and connect with customers. A person calling your phone line is probably looking to make a purchase, but before we begin, we need to lay down some ground rules for customer call.
Establish a Greeting
First greet each customer in a professional manner. A simple way to do this is to say, “Hello, (your business name), this is (your name), how can I help you?”
This will put the customer at ease, it ensures they have gotten to the right place and are talking with a real person. You now need to let the customer talk and tell you what they are looking for.
Asking the Right Questions
So let’s say for the sake of this post that, you own a gun store and a customer has called you. You greet politely them as usual and the customer then asks you, “What gauge shotgun do your recommend for skeet shooting?” This isn’t a waste of your day, it’s a buying signal.
Once they have said what they are looking for repeat it back to them and ask another probing question. This shows that you are listening and trying to help them. Try to ask questions that will give you insight into the customer’s needs. Avoid questions that make the customer unsure or intimidated. If you ask the right questions you should be able to get a very clear sense of your customer’s wants and needs.
Establishing a Budget
Next, you need a budget. Ask them, “How much are you looking to spend?”
Be prepared for two types of answers. You are either going to hear a number or they are going to ask you to make a recommendation.
• A number is easy. From there you would talk about products that are at or around their target range. Don’t be afraid to recommend something that isn’t exactly at their number. If they don’t need to spend as much or if they may need to spend a little more to accomplish their goal, tell them, and make your honest recommendation. They will be much happier with something costing 10-20% more or less than the number they mentioned if it is the right product for them.
• Recommending a price range is more difficult, but it’s nothing to be intimidated by. Simply think about it this way; recommend a specific product that you would want to purchase given two conditions:
• You are looking to get a high quality item that will last a long time
• You are looking to invest a decent amount of time and energy using the product you buy. If possible recommend something that you have had some personal experience with.
Benefits are Key to Any Sale
Once you have established a budget and recommended a product you need to start listing benefits and explain why you are making that recommendation. A benefit is the positive effect on your customer of a certain feature. For example a feature of a rifle may be a picatinny rail. The benefit to a picatinny rail is that they can easily attach any accessory that they may want often without using tools, so they won’t need to get a screwdriver out to add a tactical light on to their gun.
Keep talking about benefits and be sure to put the product where the customer can see it. An effective way to do this is to direct the customer to the product on your e-commerce website or to email them a link.
When you have both chosen a product and outlined some benefits it is now time to listen to the customer’s concerns and talk with them about their objections. Be sure to answer all of their questions as professionally as possible and find them the right information if you have to. It is important to re-establish that this is the right product for the customer when dealing with objections. Then keep talking about benefits.
What if The Customer Doesn’t Like What You Recommend?
If the customer doesn’t like what you have picked out for them don’t argue. The response to that is, “Ok, no problem let’s find you something else.”
Then move on. The important part here is to make a sale NOT make your point or try to change the customer’s mentality.
Closing the Sale
Once the customer is seeing the benefits and how they can work for them ask for the sale by inquiring, “Is this something I can ship out to you today?” or in the case of firearms, “what FFL will I be sending this gun to?” If the customer really likes the product it is worth trying an assumptive add-on close. In this case, a good way to do this would be to say, “how about some extra choke tubes to go with your new shotgun?”
Odds are these questions will lead your customer in the right direction without being forceful. Once you do make the sale reinforce that the customer has made a good decision and that they will be happy with their new product.
If you do have to end the call before the sale is made remember to follow up with the customer. Ask for permission to send him some information about the products he is looking for. You can easily email the customer links to products on your site with a personal note recommending certain items.
The National Shooting Sports Foundation has created a great video talking about in person customer interactions. A lot of it applies over the phone and it is worth spending time to watch. Taking these steps on the phone and in person will leave your customers happier and put more money in your pocket.
By 2014 every business should have at least a website capable of informing customers what you have to offer, the time your store is open for business, and some contact information in case they needed to call. For retail stores, not having a fully functioning eCommerce website could be limiting the amount potential growth your company has. Think about it, in today’s world, when someone is looking for a retailer they go online and search for it. Unfortunately, the yellow pages are now considered to be practically stone aged but there is something you can do as a retailer to keep up with the times. Let us go through 10 reasons why your company needs to be on the web by 2014!
1. Promoting the Presence of your Brick-n-Mortar Store
Finding your store isn’t always the easiest thing to do, and can become quite frustrating. Having an online store you’re able to publish a virtual map on your website which can show directions and easy identifiable landmarks for customers to print out.
In case you’re business grows too large for your current store front, you may move to a large facility. Doing this you will be waiting on the phone company to come out and set up your connection, since a website is flexible you will be able to inform customers where you’re new shop.
2. Expanding the Market
The internet has allowed companies to offer their products to people all over the world, virtually in any country as long as they have internet service. This is huge for companies, being able to expand their businesses reach. On a smaller scale level, this helps small businesses become more competitive, you may not get that customer 1000 miles away, but you have the potential to grab that customer that may think it’s just a little far to drive to your store front.
This is great for businesses, never having to close down ever again, make employees work endless hours! Ha! No, having a fully functioning website will allow you to step away from the shop on holidays and special occasions knowing that customers can still buy your product online. Having a website means your company will be able to stay open every hour of every day.
4. Advertising Goes Further
The internet is vastly different from print and media advertising. Print and media advertising can become quite costly not to mention frustrating, while having an online store companies can advertise online to customers for less while achieving more! With the technology today you are able to track each ads performance on a day to day basis.
5. Growth Opportunity
Having a website is a great place to refer potential investors and customers to, showing them what your company is about, what is stands for while having proof of what it has achieved and the potential is has to achieve in the future!
6. Standardize the Sales
Having the ability to study your website and looking at what sales approached worked and which have not. Studying this and taking notes will allow you to create the sale proof pitch using it on every customer to increase the amount of sales.
7. Adding Value and Satisfaction to the Customer
Your company website can add an invisible value to help your customers and visitors remember you better by adding general knowledge, advice, and featuring some tips. All of these things can not only improve the chance of your customers returning to your website but also help them remember what they’ve seen and read.
A website provides the opportunity to inform potential customers what your company is and why they can trust you and your products. Many people use the internet to reference ratings and reviews on products prior to purchasing a product. This also allows a free marketing tool, where no longer do you have to spread the positive word but your customers do some of the marketing for you by showing off where and how they got their newest product.
9. Two-way Communicative Marketing
When a customer needs quick feedback on a product, they can easily refer to a website to find what they are looking for. Having a website that provides the feedback of prior customers can ensure the newer customers that they are receiving what they are paying for. They can also give your company the feedback on your products and the marketing approach you may have took on that page.
10. Cheap Research
Having a website provides your business with the opportunity to show features, and new products. But can also provide some market research to determine just how well your business sizes up to the next by adding visitor polls, online surveys, and using your web statistics.
This isn’t the Stone Age, store to store business may not be enough anymore. Make sure your business doesn’t suffer from the lack of knowledge available at hand. Take advantage of everything the web has to offer. Analyze the data and monitor your progress, to ensure the survival of your business. Don’t get left behind!
Tip of the Post
“Not having a functioning website only limits your company’s success” – Korey P.
Generally speaking any main online business objective is to sell more products to new and returning customers alike. When potential customers shop online they are always looking for the best deal around, whether it be free shipping, a percentage discount, or even a simple graphic that entices them to click. It’s difficult for businesses to try to win every online price war; but what if your potential customers know that every day or every week you have a different item on special or on sale? In this short blog, we’re going to cover 3 small incentives your business can do right now to generate and increase sales.
Specials – One of the most important tools that online business owners tend to forget is having some sort of special on one or more of their products. A special on a product could be something small but entices the potential buyer to follow through and purchase the product. A quality place to put a specials is anywhere on the home page that directs the potential customers’ eyes towards it.
Shipping – Online buyers search multiple websites before they find the product they’ve been searching for at the amount they were looking to spend, but when they get to the end shipping costs could be the only difference between a customer buying a product from your and a competitor. Offering customers different shipping costs depending on the size of their shopping cart could entice customers to not only buy their product from you but also spend more money on your website to get the better shipping costs.
Time and time again I’ve shopped online looking for good deals for the products I want to buy. After finding multiple options around the same price I often look to see what incentives or free items I may get with the purchase. For instance, if I’m deciding between two companies; If “Company A” offers me a free small item like a key-chain, where “Company B” doesn’t offer me anything, you better believe that “Company A” is going to get my business. Even if I know I’m not going to use the key-chain, the thought of receiving something for free always is more enticing. So in theory sometimes offering customers a small item that doesn’t cost much more than a few pennies could result in more business for your company.
Tip of the Post
“lower prices don’t always mean higher sales” – Korey Pavlika
Since 2006, Outdoor Business Network has worked effortlessly to bring their retailers industry leading distributors and we are proud to announce the addition of Green Supply. Green Supply offers wholesale hunting, outdoors and sporting goods products with over 35 thousand products ranging from over 260 manufacturers. The partnership will allow Green Supply products to be distributed through the e-Commerce platform provided by Outdoor Business Network. The OBN team is excited to work with Green Supply and help build the image of the Outdoor industry.
While operating a business in the outdoor industry it is crucial to understand the demographic of your current and potential customers. A demographic is the way companies understand what “type” of customers they can expect to sell their products or services to. To a marketer, demographics can be found by these 5 factors: Age, Gender, Income Level, Race and Ethnicity. These are the factors that a business owner has to take into account when marketing their business so they aren’t wasting their money on groups of people that typically wouldn’t be interested in their products or services.
Now in the outdoor industry, businesses instantly think their only demographic are the Robin Hood or Wild West sort of people. Companies have to realize that there are other demographic they can appeal themselves to. This takes time and is not as easy as just throwing marketing efforts towards something just because it sounds good! You have to do your research and take notes to ensure your efforts aren’t going to waste.
Recently, we launched a website for a company called “Grasmeyer Guns“. The first word you notice in the store’s name is the word “gun”. Most people would think of the usual gun enthusiast stereotypes, like Wild West gun slingers or tactical gun stockpilers, but, you may be surprised to find out that their target demographic was families. The owner of Grasmeyer Guns successfully created a family environment where the average customer can feel comfortable, and know you’re going to get an honest opinion on their products. The website has an inclusive feel, that gun ownership is for everyone and families can feel comfortable and save around firearms.
Doing this opening up an entirely new demographic of people to visit their business. Not every business is going to have the same demographic, there are outside factors to look at as well such as location, and competition. Standing out in your community can benefit the business in a number of ways. Consistent efforts towards multiple demographics help keep your business name and reputation stay fresh inside the minds.
No two companies are the exact same, while they may have similar standard demographics including a new demographic groups can expand the reach of your business. For instance, in the outdoor industry, firearms and archery are main topics to discuss. While most are held by men, businesses that offer opportunities and appeal to women and children have the upper hand when selling their products or services. In the last few years the sector for selling women firearms has grown exponentially while children have become more in tune with archery. As a business owner you must take advantage of these opportunities where 1 sale could become a lifelong customer.
Building an inclusive atmosphere for your customers is a key aspect of business because creating a good experience for the customer the first time potentially means more products/services to be sold to not only that customer but his friends and family in the future. Creating good experiences take time and effort to become an expert at. Companies want to create a unique experience that the customer can only get at their store.
If companies can combine expanding their demographic to reach a higher audience while creating a unique experience, you can expect to see a higher percent in sales and returning customers. Yet it is important to understand what your demographic is and the potential demographic so your efforts are not a waste of time and money. In other words, tap into the resources that make the most sense, do your research, and execute to the best of your ability.
Tip of the Post
“Expand your business by creating unique experiences through multiple demographic channels” – Korey Pavlika