Competition Corporate America Marketing Small Business

Can video stores compete with a robot?

Yesterday, I received an email from someone whose clients are video stores. Because they subscribe to my print newsletter, I asked them to put me on their email list.

Part of today’s email to their video store clients included this comment:

I had a customer ask us how to compete with RedBox (emphasis mine). I’ve been doing some thinking and asking questions about this. I’ve watched people in our Albertsons store waiting in line to get a $1.00 movie from a machine. I kept thinking how impersonal it was.

So xxx went down and rented at Redbox to see how it worked. He rented a movie. Then when he got home, he got a receipt for the movie in his email. When he returned the movie, he got a receipt again in his email. Later on he got some offers for a free movie and information about new releases soon to be available.

I *love* that they noted right off the bat that this kind of rental was impersonal and created a line – but also noted the smart things RedBox does as well.

Warp speed - Revolve around a center photo credit: fabbio

2 strikes against RedBox, right off the bat. Impersonal. Lines. Every store has lines now and then, but will people stand in line to wait for a machine? Maybe an ATM, but a video dispenser? Time will tell.

If 10 people are in the video store, think about how 10 of them would mill around a RedBox machine (it’s about the size of a Coke machine).

I’m sure you can think of some things to pick on regarding Netflix – while noting that you (you being the video store owner) can clearly see their primary advantage (no late fees).

What’s easy to overlook is the primary advantage to Netflix: No matter how many videos you watch, they get their monthly fee, month-in, month-out. As I’ve noted in the past, you should be looking for ways to implement this model in some part of your business.

Our goal is to give you the tools to compete with RedBox, Netflix, Blockbuster, and anyone else. But, there is one thing you have to do… use the tools!

No doubt. Kinda like all the things we talk about here.

Implement them. Otherwise your time here is largely wasted, don’t you think?

I was listening to Gary Vaynerchuk on Donny Deutsch’s The Big Idea last night and he repeated what Dan Kennedy says regularly: “Money loves speed.”

He means speed of implementation. Do it today. Not next month or next quarter, or “someday”.

P.S. I’m testing Windows Live writer to write posts for the next few days (it works on WordPress blogs too) so if you see anything funny (other than that photo of me up on the right), please let me know.

Automation Corporate America Customer service Direct Mail ECommerce Email marketing Marketing Small Business Software Technology

Does your small business send personal emails?

Back in January, Denny Hatch was discussing some emails he received: some personalized, some not.

I wanna hold your hand
photo credit: batega

Would you rather receive this (his example):

Date: 14 Jan 2008 03:58:31- 0800
From: â??Ticketmasterâ?
To: xxxxx
Subject: Event Reminder: Young Frankenstein

Ticketmaster Event Reminder
Hello Denison Hatch. Your event is happening soon!
Young Frankenstein.

Friday, January18, 2008

Hilton Theater
213 West 42nd Street
New York, NY 10036

Or this:

Dear Valued Customer,

On behalf of the hundreds of Delta Global Sales professionals dedicated to serving you and your travelers worldwide, â??Thank You!â? for choosing Delta as your preferred airline

To Delta’s credit, they no longer send me “Dear Valued Customer” emails, they got a clue sometime after I posted that and started using my name. I don’t know if the blog post had anything to do with it or not. I mean, sure, I know that automated systems sent the email, but someone, somewhere at Delta had to write the template. A real person. Presumably, that person was charged with writing a personal note to a client whose business they appreciate.

However, there are dozens of other businesses that continue to send me “Dear Valued Customer” emails.

Credit card companies. Utility companies. Car dealerships. Clothing and outdoor gear vendors.

The fact that Ticketmaster was smart enough to send a reminder email was pretty cool. People are busy. We need reminders, even if we have a Day-Timer, a PDA, a smart phone, a spouse, Outlook reminders and a personal assistant.

The fact that Ticketmaster made the email timely and personalized made it seem real, as if a person typed it.

Would Denny be as impressed if he received the email after the show? Or if it said “Dear Valued Ticketmaster Customer” or similar?

This doesn’t just extend to emails. Same goes for letters, postcards, phone calls, packaging, shipping info, and so on.

How many contacts in your business touch your customers personally? How many are annoying, impersonal Dear Valued Customer grams?

What would you rather receive from the businesses you frequent?