Welcome to the new normal, where everything you thought you had worked out with face-to-face markets carries little value in the digital space.
In this post, we will talk about our process of transitioning from the real world into the digital realm with physical products.
This is a work in progress, and as with many things, every change that one makes effects other things; so it is a dynamic process.
These are challenging times, and to wrap ones head around the issues first is a good start. With Pickers Ridge, over any given month for the past 3 years, we would attend 6-7 physical markets where we would sell our products. This gave us several things.
- Customer interaction.
- Product design feedback.
- Industry contacts.
- Potential for collaboration.
When the world went into lockdown we had no inputs to work with. We quickly realized the strengths and weaknesses of our business model, and set about reformatting the pathways to reach our customers. As weeks passed we discovered that there were many challenges that needed to be overcome or worked around for our business to once again thrive and grow.
The first challenge we faced was “where are our customers?”. They used to come to us, now they can’t find us, or don’t even know we exist. An even bigger question related to the above was “who is our typical customer?” This was and still is a major item that we continue to work on.
The second challenge we faced was the learning curve of the digital space. This includes social media, and website creation and management.
The next challenge was learning how to build ideas on the digital side, and executing these in a productive way.
Probably the biggest hurdle we face (as will anyone who moves across as we have) is how to build trust with a distant visitor through digital inputs ;ie images-blogs-instagram posts and facebook pages. We believe this is where the real challenges are, because our business runs on trust. How do you build that? Quality content is the answer.
We design and make bespoke hardwood products that actually sell themselves when people can hold them and ask us questions about them. The customer can feel and see the attention to detail that we put into each and every product.
This physical interaction is difficult to replicate in the digital world.
We are sure to add to the list of challenges as we go forward, so keep an eye out for updates.
The above is nowhere near an exhaustive list. It is simply the start. You could be forgiven if the process above seems daunting…it is….but it is also the way of doing business that will be a large part of our collective future, so we best get after it and get good at it.
Looking at the info above, it might be best to break this subject down with a series of posts and deal with each challenge separately.
More to come.