Email or browser? The killer app for the first decade of e-commerce – in all its forms – was email. Whether we were trying to capture consumers’ attention or close a deal with a valued business partner, email was our most valuable internet tool. I personally have unsubscribed from most of the email newsletters I received – certainly those that allow me to subscribe to their feed. I still have an unhealthy relationship with email. But today, the first thing I’ll open is a browser. How about you?
I blogged about the Superbowl ads last month. And Fred Wilson points out that some folks are blogging the Acadamy Awards tonight. But this time, I can’t be bothered. I’m watching the Oscars. It’s fun to watch people squirm when an announcer or award recipient goes off script. Otherwise, it’s a waste of time. Neither the ceremony nor the ads – and let’s face it, the ceremony itself is one long ad for Hollywood entertainment – has any relevance to me. I suspect the same is true for many folks. If you take a look at recent advertising efforts, agencies seem to understand the irrelevance of so-called major TV events. They just don’t know what to do about it. In fact, ad agencies don’t know how to provide much value at all anymore.
First, you had the silliness a few weeks back with Cartoon Network. You remember, the whole bomb scare nightmare. Tremendous publicity. Not all good, you might have heard. The outcome of the advertising stunt gone wrong: Adult Swim’s ratings didn’t improve. Now, there’s a new brouhaha related to a Dr. Pepper promotion. Apparently the agency thought grave digging was an appropriate way to build buzz. In a historic U.S. cemetery containing the remains of John Hancock, Paul Revere and Samuel Adams, no less. As the Bass Ale ad suggests: Brilliant!
Maybe the point is to focus less on advertising or publicity. Maybe companies should actually make products consumers care about. Or at least have the guts to stand up and admit when they don’t.
Do you wear shoes often? I do. Try as I might, I’ve yet to find a satisfying and well-paying gig that allows me to go barefoot all day. One reason I prefer bare feet is the difficulty I have locating comfortable and good-looking shoes. I have wide feet and most stores I visit regularly offer no more than one or two pairs in my size – usually the ugliest shoes in creation.
Having said all this, I’m probably the last person in creation to discover Zappo’s. Here’s why it’s my new favorite online store:
- Inventory – if the Long Tail.
teaches anything, it’s that you can’t sell what you don’t have. Zappo’s has terrific selection
- Customer service – a 365-day return policy, free shipping, ease of use. Very nice.
Can your online store walk a mile in those shoes?