This week I have spent some time putting out blog posts and getting more connected to the social media world. To my surprise there are quite a few chat platforms and forums to which people will post questions and connect with specific vendors and suppliers. I can really start to understand now why social media has become such a strong platform to move into. We all hear about the importance of the digital world, and unless you really need it most people only scratch the surface when it comes to learning about the impact the digital world has/or can have.
I had been tagged in a post the other day from a colleague referring me to a woman looking for a place her fiancé could buy a suit. To my amazement another woman who I haven't talked to in a good twelve years had also commented on the feed. She gave an outstanding referral to come see me.
This really got me thinking... How much chatter actually happens when I am not around?
Sure I spend time posting to the major social media platforms when I blog. LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr all get updates weekly and I certainly see a spike in website traffic for several days afterword’s, but when does that convert into sales and what is the factor that pushes a consumer to reach out?
I am finding though this process that consumers would rather use a form of messenger instead of email or phone calls, so I guess the bigger question is, how formal do you have to be when you respond to a possible client? I find the language and responses very informal when reading through the interactions and responses. As a business owner, where is that line drawn? There have been many successful business owners who make a habit of friending their clients to keep them coming back. Is this a smart business tactic to take? Do you still gain respect with your customers on that friendly basis? The lines are really grey these days as we move into a world that is heavily dependent on technology and digital communications.
As a traditionalist I was really opposed to the digital world when I first started this process. I was hesitant mainly because... WHERE DO YOU START? But I find it is like cleaning... or the way that I clean. Start in a small corner and then at some point you black out and by the time you come to again your whole place has been turned upside down and the only way to get though it is by tacking small piles at time :). I thought at the beginning that it would probable be easier to take the approach that Brooks Brothers did for decades with their company, working off of word of mouth and referrals. Along the way you learn... or I learned at least that so much business is lost when you have no social presence. Much like the manufacturing industry in eastern Canada, something I mentioned in a previous post. How much business is lost by not having an Internet presence?
Many online platforms branch off of the wedding world. You always need a suit for a wedding, or at the very least trouser and a vest. With the booming bridal world and its many niche specialization many companies such as indochino, suit supply, EPH, and Maxwell’s are all profiting off of their internet platforms, having the customer measure themselves to have a suit produced. As an added incentive they also offer a 75$ voucher for alterations afterword’s. One company even has the guarantee that they are 20% more accurate than a seasoned tailor..... lol
As a tailor it is very frustrating to hear and see all the claims companies make to bring in customers. It takes a good five to ten years apprenticing with a master tailor to understand the trade and to be able to measure and cut a suit for any given person, and companies are telling the public that if you measure yourself you will get a suit that is more fitted and tailored than what a actual qualified tailor can produce for the low low price of 300$... Mmm Humm.
I recently had to alter a suit (well many suits) from one of these companies’ for a groom and his wedding party. Although he thought it fit ok, just looking at the suit he looked sad. If i am completely honest a better suit could have been purchased at The Bay. It is not like I can speak my mind because a. The guy spent a chunk of money and time on the suit and b. His budget may not have been as flexible to be able to afford a decent suit. It comes to a point where silence is the best approach, all you can really do is nod your head and smile because his whole wedding party and many of the party guests all bought as a wedding package. ALL I may add needed extensive alterations and they all seemed contempt throwing that money away on a half decent suit.... This is certainly a situation where complacency is not acceptable. At what point do we start caring about the amount money we are happy throwing away on mediocrity?
You almost want to slap them across the face and shake their shoulders while yelling "GET A HOLD OF YOURSELF", but I'm not that dramatic.... yet.
So that has been the recent weeks for me. If there were one thing I take from this whole five-year adventure it would be the "patience of a saint". Although I will probably need a good therapist after the whole thing is finished. Perhaps I will spend a month at one of the yoga retreats in Oregon, USA, where goats are trained to walk across your back as part of the calming experience..... Who knows?