Friday, February 20, 2009

Online Business Tip #3: Focus on the merchandise

Usually, the advice about doing business is The Customer is King. And that's true. But if you don't provide good things to buy, the King will go elsewhere. Before providing stellar customer service, focus on what you're selling. If you're creating a marketplace rather than selling your own products, focus on the sellers.

That's the advice I received from Emily Olson, one of the three twenty-something founders of Foodzie, a marketplace for gourmet and specialty foods. I'm writing about them for an upcoming column on AuctionBytes.

"We want to create a place where sellers can be really successful," says Olson. Like other businesses I've profiled recently, she isn't throwing money at advertising, either through banners or Google. Rather, the three co-founders are building word of mouth by attending cook classes and other events and getting to know their sellers well. By focusing on telling the stories of the specialty cooks they promote, they believe they'll attract customers. Look for the article on AuctionBytes in the next week or two.

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