Busy Day? Just Shop on the Subway

April 20, 2012

Earlier this year, I wrote a post about QR Codes and how they’re an overhyped marketing tool that consumers aren’t catching on to. A few months later, I learned about Tesco’s virtual grocery store and reconsidered a bit. Sometimes things get overhyped because they’re truly awesome, we just don’t have a very good way to use them yet.

The virtual grocery store was a strategy Tesco used to increase sales without building new stores. The plan was to bring the grocery store to the people. By doing that, they placed a type of wallpaper inside the subway that showed pictures of grocery items. Under each item was a QR code that people could scan to place the item in his or her shopping cart. Once complete, a Tesco company, called Homeplus, sent deliveries to the shopper’s doors when they arrived home from work.

Now, if you’re from New York, your first thought was “that’s nice, there’s no phone service in the subway,” which is why it was initially launched in South Korean stations. In fact, South Korea is one of the most progressive countries in terms of smartphone usage, so it was easy to see why it would catch on there before anywhere else. Also to note, some stores were placed at bus stops where service is available everywhere.

Tesco achieved immediate success and is now one of the top online grocers. Since then, a United States company, Peapod has launched similar “shops” in Chicago and Philadelphia, proving that people around the world hate grocery shopping as much as South Koreans.

Virtual grocery shopping is an idea that will only spread further from here and I invite you to  be the first to bring this to New York. To learn more about Tesco’s store, watch the video below.

Tips and Techniques for Company Blogging

February 6, 2012

If there’s one thing that’s become more important to companies on the Internet since the Google Penguin update, it’s blogging. Since the update, unique, interesting content has become the focus for sites all over the web. As mentioned in my last post, it’s important to write with keywords in mind, but the keywords should naturally flow into the writing, not vice-versa. I’ve created a list using examples from some small time company blogs to give you a better idea of what you can do for your own company.

1. Find the right subject

Learning what to blog about is one of the biggest battles when starting out a blog. The most important factor in figuring this out is to identify your audience. It’s obvious that you’ll want to write content that people coming to your website will want to read. A lot of ecommerce blogs will feature tips or informative articles about a product category. For example, The Natural sells products such as vitamins, herbs, holistic foods and natural household products. In its blog, it writes articles about the body that range from facts about the digestive system to virus protection. These are the right articles to make visitors aware of the benefits of natural food and product choices.

2. Create a schedule

Think Crafts!, a blog by Create For Less, writes “Free Stuff Friday” posts in which they allow readers to enter into a giveaway to win featured products from Create for Less. They ask a question and then pick the best answer for the winner.  This is great for any ecommerce site with room to giveaway some extra stock items and it keeps the blog on track. Creating a schedule like this helps readers to keep up with your content. Maybe you only want to feature tips on Wednesday and how-to’s on Monday? You’ll be surprised how much easier a schedule will be for you too.

3. Link to your products

Linking is an important part of an ecommerce blog. In Zooplus.co.uk’s “Zooblog,” the company writes articles about pet care such as “How to Wash Your Dog” or “5 Signs Your Cat May Be Sick.” Each article is informative and offers links to products that would be helpful to treat the subject at hand. In a world of many choices, a recommendation is much appreciated.

4. Act natural

Don’t be afraid to be yourself so long as you’re not brash, offensive and bringing the company down. Stiff language only goes so far, which is another thing I like about Think Crafts!. The blog also invites guest bloggers, which is probably the most natural of all considering we all have friends. If you know someone who you believe would write an insightful or entertaining post, ask them to guest blog.