WOMEN the world over have been keeping a fashionable secret for so long now. Well itâs not really so much a secret that only a few people know about it. The fact is, thousands of women have been quietly buying online a self-adhesive backless and strapless brassiere called NuBra. It is made of silicone and with adhesive, sticks to skin well so itâs not a problem to wear clothes that are backless or are more revealing up front. Hollywood celebrities have been patronizing NuBra, and even Oprah Winfrey endorsed it. While there are a few resellers of NuBra online, one reseller particularly stands out. Digital Web Group, Inc., which runs three e-commerce stores exclusively selling Nubra (www.nubra.net, www.nu-bra.com, and www.siliconeworks.com), sells the most and is topmost in search engines. According to Fil-Am Diana Limjoco, one of GoNegosyoâs most inspiring entrepreneurs and one of the founders of Digital Web Group, âRevenue from the NuBra alone is about $500K annually. We do not advertise and sales come only from search engine placement and word of mouth. Also occasionally, a magazine, newspaper and TV show will feature the bra.â The group started selling one style of NuBra in 2002. Now there are three styles being sold on their websites. âWe use a professional e-commerce cart (www.searchfit.com), which allows one to use just one control panel for many stores), and accept all credits cards as well as PayPal, Google Checkout, checks and money order,â says Limjoco. Customers can view photos of the product online, click âBuy now,â and by putting in the country code and address, the cart will automatically estimate the shipping fees. They ship globally. Online selling is highly competitive, so what is the secret to their success? Limjoco says, âOur placement ranks high in search engines and NuBra is a unique one of a kind patented product. Although many knock-offs have come and gone, no one has been able to duplicate the special self-healing adhesive. We have good customer support and itâs easy for people to buy from our store with most major credit cards, PayPal and Google Checkout. We answer e-mail from customers in a timely fashion. Also, we ship as soon as we get the order and if itâs a shipper cut off, we ship the next day.â Limjoco offers eight tips for those seeking success in online sales: 1. Do your market research. âWe did research before we sold NuBra and found only one other store selling online. Since we had no competition to speak of, we went for it,â says Limjoco. 2. Have your online store named as close as possible to what you are selling. Aside from NuBra, Digital Web Group also sells motorcycle speakers online at www.motorcyclespeakers.net. 3. Make sure your store is on the first page of Google or Yahoo search for the item you are selling. 4. Buy the .com and .net address of your store to keep competition from buying the name and competing with you. 5. Make it easy for customers to buy. Provide customer support. Answer e-mail queries within hours if possible. âWe have made many sales by having an agent e-mail back within minutes!â adds Limjoco. 6. Get a good credit card processor, professional shopping cart, and PayPal, which now accepts payments from customers in the Philippines. 7. Put prices and cost of shipping next to the product. Limjoco tried buying at Multiply sites, but found that most sellers do not put prices and cost of shipping on their websites. âThis means I have to write to someone to get the cost and shipping. As an avid online shopper myself, I will not usually bother to do this. I will just move on to someone else where I can pay online and shipping costs are estimated online as well,â says Limjoco. 8. Ship goods in a timely fashion once you get an order.
June 2009 Archives
A TOTAL of three—that was the number of enrollees R. A. Gapuz Review Center (RAGRC) had back in 1994 when they opened, offering review classes for those taking government board exams. But this did not deter founder Ray Gapuz from persevering in his then newly established business. Nowadays, their number of enrollees are in the thousands, so much so, that review and coaching sessions have to be scheduled in hotel ballrooms, mall cinemas and even big events places such as the Philippine International Convention Center and Araneta Coliseum. And get this—review classes are also beamed via satellite to other venues in the country. Of course, online review courses are also offered. Today RAGRC is the market leader among nursing review centers, getting the lion's share of 40 percent of the market among 55 documented review centers, according to its website. Just how did RAGRC succeed? Josiah Go, marketing guru and chairman of Mansmith and Fielders, Inc., points to market-driving strategies applied by the company. “Market-driving strategies define how a firm will embrace innovative changes in the industry logic and business system to grow its profit and industry’s demand from marginal and non-customers,” says Go. To do this, innovations may be implemented in the value proposition (what the company may offer customers), the business system, or both. Here are steps RAGRC took to succeed: 1. Give a new value proposition by: - Offering an intensive 10-day review course at 8 hours a day aside from the traditional 6-month review course at 3 times a week. The shorter review course allows nursing graduates to find work while providing RAGRC faster turnaround. - Holding review classes in hotels and malls instead of cramped classrooms. - Presenting the curriculum according to diseases regardless of age to remove any duplication encountered when doing it by specialization. This is well appreciated by the reviewees. 2. Innovate the business system by: - Going high tech and livening up review classes by holding it game show style and offering stimulating card games as reinforcement. This prevents boredom from setting in. Market-driving strategies are all about changing the rules of the game in order to attract new demand. They may just be what your company needs to be profitable and stay profitable. Josiah Go is conducting a seminar dubbed "Market-Driving Strategies: Executive Workout" on June 25-26 in Makati City and on July 14-15 in Cebu City. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
BY this time, most of my friends have already made their pick among the Selecta Gold flavors: Berry Strawberry, Chocolate Truffles, or Hazelnut Brownie. Which one is the best? We each had our own favorites. The three flavors are concocted by renowned Filipino chefs: J Gamboa of Cirkulo for Berry Strawberry, Rolando Laudico of Bistro Filipino for Chocolate Truffles and Sau del Rosario of Chelsea for Hazelnut Brownie. To find out which one is best, my brother-in-law bought all three. I bought a couple of pints too, when I’m not really a regular ice cream buyer (and if I do buy, it’s not Selecta). The thought, though, of having gourmet ice cream done by chefs was irresistible. Red Ribbon did the same thing, but with fashion designers. Rajo Laurel and Frederick Peralta designed beautiful tiered wedding cakes for brides-to-be to choose. Imagine saying, “My cake designer is Rajo Laurel.” Cool. HP also came out with a Vivienne Tam HP mini notebook that looks like a sleek designer clutch bag (in chic red!). Bring this to Starbucks and check your e-mail and you’ll be the envy of many. Tapping well-known designers and experts (like chefs) to collaborate on making your product may be more effective than getting a celebrity endorser. The expert, by working with you, gives the message that your brand is worth having an alliance with. You get to see how the expert can play with your product and improve it. And the customer gets the feeling that this is a limited edition of your product and so he has to get it. Result: product image gets a boost and sales may increase. Nice move.
ONE of my close friends is a very simple person. An engineer and head of her own trading company, she is most at home in jeans and casual shirts, and can live without makeup or flashy jewelry. She was just telling me a few days ago how some business establishments could be so judgmental. Recently, she went to a high-end department store because she needed to buy a whole new set of makeup to replace her whole kit. She went to the counter of a well-known international brand. Another customer, a woman who was dressed well, was there too and asked about lipsticks. The counter personnel kept on attending to the woman, showing her all the different colors of lipstick they have and encouraging her to try them on. My friend would ask for some items, which they would give her, but they did not really attend to her in the same way or offered to put on makeup on her. In the end, my friend bought a whole set of cosmetics from that brand while the woman left with just one lipstick purchase. “I told them they should have attended to me with the same level of attention they gave the other woman. It turned out I bought more than she did,” my friend said. “I could relate to Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman when she was discriminated on in a Beverly Hills store because of how she looked.” In another incident, my friend and her husband used the valet service at the five-star hotel they go to regularly for the buffet. Now her husband is the more “maporma” between them and would always be the one to hand over the car keys to the valet and claim the car. One time, her husband had to talk to someone, and so my friend gave the claim stub to the valet counter. Other wealthy-looking people also came to claim their cars after her. My friend did not say anything but noticed that the other people were serviced first. After what seemed like thirty minutes later, she was still waiting for their car when her husband came out and wondered why it is taking so long. When the valet, who knew my friend’s husband by this time, saw him, he greeted my friend’s husband, “O boss, kayo pala. Yung claim stub niyo po?” My friend’s husband told him that his wife has been there a long time waiting for their car. The valet said they should have been informed that it is for him so they would get their car first. My friend could not let this pass and asked the valet if this is how they service customers – favoritism for the wealthier-looking ones? And so she told them that from then on, they should not expect a tip from them. They have been back to that hotel a number of times but my friend still refuses to give the valets a tip. Another friend of mine who used to work in the administration office of a bargain center in Divisoria told me how interesting it is to see people in plain shirts and tsinelas coming in and paying their leases in cash by the bayong. “They are the unassuming rich. It’s true—you should never judge a book by its cover,” she said.