Small business invades the Ukraine

Despite the fact that you can obtain the same thing anywhere in the world, a client of mine does a fine job of selling their high-end, custom version of this product in many countries.

We were talking yesterday during a telephone coaching session about return policies for online sales.

One thing led to another, and it came up that an order problem occurred with a client in the Ukraine, forcing them to issue their first refund.

The product shipment was refused entry to the Ukraine.

While the refund still needs to be issued, I suggested that this episode, while not a big deal, should be blown up into something as big as they can manage.

  • Call the State Department to lodge a complaint.
  • Write your Senator and Representative.
  • Write your state’s international trade board requesting help.
  • Write your national industry’s representation demanding a resolution.
  • Go on YouTube to talk about the injustice of it all.
  • Issue a press release to the local media about the refusal to let your products enter the Ukraine. If they just happen to stick you on the TV news, or even the morning show, so be it.
  • Send a press release to PRWeb or a similar service and see if the national morning shows or NPR pick it up.
  • Send a package with that item in it to the Ukraine Embassy in Washington and ask them to forward it to the buyer’s address in the Ukraine. Include a few samples for the embassy staff, you know, just in case they want a bribe:)

One of their comments during this discussion was, half-seriously, “What if we cause an international incident?”

My reply was something along the lines of: “Yeah, wouldn’t that be great!” – And I was dead serious.

You just can’t beat the story line: “Small U.S. retailer stopped at the Ukraine border, invasion fails”

But that isn’t all.

  • Why not stick a map of the Ukraine on the wall of your store? Or a global map showing where the products do ship in the world, and make a big deal out of fencing off the Ukraine.
  • Follow the Ukraine in the Olympics and celebrate either their failures or successes, or both.
  • Create an Exiled product line to make a little fun of the situation.
  • A whole line of “Banned in the Ukraine” promotions, PR blitzes and product offers are possible.
  • Have a “Save the Ukraine Day” at the store, serve native foods, have native dress and so on.
  • Invite all local people with roots in the Ukraine to come by the store and let them experience what their countrymen cannot.

Or, just give the money back and forget the whole thing.

You couldn’t possibly use this event to have a little fun, much less for marketing and publicity purposes, could you?