Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Week 5: Part 2

In order to outline my target market, first I thought about who I would like to target. I am in a fairly saturated market, but I know that my uniqueness and attention to detail will boost my potential to flourish. I recently learned to knit, and with the help of my wife, an expert knitter, I am officially in the knitting business world. My target market at the moment is people who live in colder regions or places that can get cold.

Age range and gender for my target customers varies depending on the actual item. For example, a beanie with a huge fur pom pom would be great to target at women age 24-30. Beanies with satin lining would be perfect to market specifically to black women and women of African descent according to my research. My perfect customer would be women of any race/ethnicity between the ages of 26 and 34. The reason being because the price of my beanies begin at $52, because the material quality is much higher than most. Ages 26 to 34-year-olds are typically financially stable and responsible, so there is less concern to buy cheap things for fear of losing them like with younger people.

Demographically, my target market reaches worldwide. Anywhere that the internet and mail can reach. I have watched my wife ship similar things to countries in Asia, France, Europe and more. My online store has the capability to translate language and currencies. Income level will matter because I am not selling bargain or cheap items. The customer would have to be someone with enough disposable income to make a purchase for an item that is more of a want than a need.

Behavioristically, my target customer would be someone who usually looks for quality over quantity. Someone that chooses to support small businesses and up-and-coming designers rather than just large corporations. They would be looking for a more personal customer-to-company interaction. My target customer is someone that values good customer service.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Week 5: Part 1

I chose to look over the Econobum and the Just Cheap Diapers websites.

Econobum sells eco-friendly diapers and Just Cheap Diapers name is pretty self explanatory. The two companies could very well have crossover customers because I know that some parents that choose to cloth diaper, also like to have access to disposable ones. In the same way, some parents who mostly use disposable diapers like to have cloth diapers as an option. Econobum's target market would ultimately be soon to be parents and parents of young children that are interested in lessening their carbon footprint. Their target market may also have children with sensitive skin that can't use the mainstream diapers.

Econobum makes sure to explain their process and what makes their diapers superior quality. Their website is very professional, modern, and sleek. They only have a few items for viewing. In fact, unless you are planning to buy wholesale, this website is just informational for what they have and what stores carry the products. Because it is not an online shopping platform, there are no prices listed. I would assume that the prices can vary from store to store. The website reveals that their target market is initially retailers. Based on what I see, the overall tone is encouraging people with retail locations to offer their products on the shelves, or for people seeking diapers for their children to seek out an already established diaper retailer.

Just Cheap Diapers is a lot different than Econobum. This company appears to be aimed directly at parents that are looking for a good deal on diapers. The low prices are the main focus and although they claim to have high quality diapers, there is no explanation of what makes them high quality. The website is brightly colored but the images aren't the greatest. There is a section on the website for resellers. In order to purchase, you would either have to go in physically or contact them via one of the methods provided. The overall tone for this website is telling people they've got great prices for high quality diapers. Their main focus is skipping the middle man (retail stores) and providing a direct discount for consumers.



Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Week 4: Part 2


I visit the MyPay website pretty frequently. It’s a military website, so it’s understandably lacking in design qualities. It is effective because it provides military members with access to their financial information. The good design principal in this website is the fact that the main reason people come to this site is to log in with a Common Access Card (CAC) and check on their personal financial things. I come back because I always end up needing to print a check stub, or get tax forms or check on my upcoming check stubs. The home page could be improved by putting less information overall. Rather than just one long page, it would be better if there were tabs at the top to bring you to the different sections.

I’m on amazon’s website daily. I’m always coming back to either make purchases, compare prices, or window shopping. This website is effective because when a customer is logged in, items that are similar to what they’ve searched for will pop up. Also, there is a “Pick Up Where You Left Off” section which is very convenient. Amazon’s home page is customized so that each customer is seeing what they might want to see. If you are not logged in, the home page shows amazons deals and popular items, which is also convenient. Overall, the home page can be considered to be cluttered due to all of the items, but it actually works in this instance. I guess because I frequent the site so often, I can’t imagine it any other way.

I commented on the blogs of Michelle W, Jordan T, Iana J.

Week 4: Part 1

Two websites that could use some improvements are the Jami Lin and Gates n’ Fences websites. Starting with Jami Lin’s website, my first impression of the website was clutter. I didn’t really know where to look first. One potential problem for visitors would be the small text size, combined with the large amount of information packed in the front page. Another problem could be the fact that a video in the center of the home page begins playing automatically. If I was browsing in a quiet place and my volume was up, that would make for an awkward situation. Lastly, unless you were given specific directions on where to click, it would not be easy to locate specific information. There are a lot of links and drop-down menus on the top of the page. It is really overwhelming.

In order to improve this website, information would need to be narrowed down and organized in a more layered way. The row of third party links should be more uniform in appearance. The page’s banner image is really distracting and it isn’t I’m honestly not even sure exactly what is being promoted on the site. There is no unifying theme for the page. There were so many colors used, many of which should not be used for text, in my opinion they are hard to read. I understand a love of color, but it could be expressed in a colorful page border or frame border, rather than throughout the text. Also, the page could probably be broken up into several different websites with their own main subject and sub-pages for easier navigation.

As for the Gates n’ Fences website, I had a similar first reaction to the opening page. the only difference is, because of the name, I know what they’re selling. Starting at the top of the page, there is some really fine print with pretty important information in it. I believe that upon opening this web page, the information from the fine print, along with the company name should be front and center; and much larger so that it’s easy to read. There are a few pictures on the front page, but they are small and hard to see detail. It would be much better to have an automatic slideshow gallery with professional quality images in a uniform size. There is a lot of text on the front page, more than there should be. Our text mentions that having a website and an online presence can give a business credibility. However, with this website’s setup, lack of theme, and unprofessional feel, they are taking away from their credibility as a legitimate business. The colors chosen along with the font sizes and layout makes this website hard to navigate.

I chose Head Hunter Styling’s website to highlight a website that’s done right. The first impression I got was that this is a very clean cut and modern website. The gallery had professional quality images and it showed not only what services they provide, but also an example of what it can look like when done. The web page is easy to navigate. Beginning with the gallery for this type of service is very smart. If you click the pictures, you get a caption in case you are unsure of what you are looking at. The simplicity is inviting.

Apple’s website is another one that’s done right. The layout is simple, and once again it is modern and sleek. I’m not saying that only modern and minimalist websites are good, but too much clutter rally takes away from the products or services being promoted. Apple’s easy-to-navigate website showcases what they are selling without overwhelming visitors with every single item they have to offer. There are layers to the website, and they are organized very well. I figured that Apple would have a good website because they are known to be a modern and high-end company. Usually nice web pages make people think the company is doing well.

Overall, design, aesthetics, and branding heavily impact the way I view a website and its company. A cluttered page can give off the impression that they didn’t put much effort into it. Personally, I think that it is unprofessional and it can drive people away. Because online presence is your proof of existence, it is important to make a good first impression for your visitors.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Week 3: Part 2

       I am creating a knit and crochet design label of my own currently, and it is self-titled. My wife already has an established business in the same area so I decided to focus on knit and crochet designers. I come across a lot of knitting and crocheting businesses when I am on social media sites, and they are all so different. They all really only have one thing in common, yarn. Some design an array of items, others stick to just a few select things. Each business is as unique as its owner. It is my goal to create a brand that reflects my individuality, and create a booming social media presence.
       Of the five businesses I’ve selected, four are knit and/or crochet designers, and one (Our Maker Life) is a hub for various knitting and crocheting activities, events, blogs, vlogs, and designers. Our Maker Life is active on just about every form of social media platform. In my opinion, they are using social media the way it’s meant to be used. They are very interactive with their fan base and they are consistent with their posts. Practically every single day they post pictures and status updates on various platforms. Based on what I see, they use Instagram the most. Our maker life reposts pictures that were posted by the designers and artists they partner with. The pictures, although they come from many different people, flow nicely to create a very inspiring gallery.
       The next business I would like to highlight is Repeat Crafter Me. Repeat Crafter Me (RCM) is owned by a crochet and knit pattern designer. This business is also very active on various social media platforms. I wasn’t able to access a few of the crafting social media sites without an account, but RCM has their hand in just about every inch of the online social world. RCM uses Instagram a lot, but also posts often on YouTube. RCM is responsive and easy to get in touch with. I would say that RCM is using social media very well. The pictures posted are of professional quality and RCM has a refreshing vibrant color scheme on Instagram.
       Lunar Knits by Lori is another great knitting and crochet business that I come across often when I am online. On the main website, there is a simple layout with links to Instagram, YouTube, the WordPress blog, and the Etsy shop associated with the business. I really like the simple and easy to navigate website. Although the other businesses were on various platforms, Lunar Knits by Lori was the only one with a website that displays all of the important links. This made it easy for me to explore the feeds and view the videos. Instagram is once again the main platform used by this business, and it is being used well. The Instagram feed is bright and simple, just like the rest of her social media presence.
       Noorvana is a cutting-edge crochet design business. The social media presence of Noorvana is subtle, but it suits the type of business. Because there is one designer, and she creates full pieces of clothing from scratch, I’m assuming she doesn’t have much time to spend online. Noorvana still manages to post pictures on Instagram and engage minimally with potential customers. The pictures she posts are usually either models or herself wearing the items. They all look like they’ve been clipped from a magazine. Noorvana does social media very differently, but it works for the type of business.
       Lastly, I found a business called DeBrosse NYC. They use Instagram more than any other site. Their items are sold on Etsy and there is a blog linked to the page but it isn’t directly related to the business. It is more of a lifestyle blog. The pictures on all the platforms related to DeBrosse are sleek and minimalistic. This company also has a subtle social media presence but because they post such great quality images they have a huge following and I can tell from the Etsy that sales are rolling in often. Etsy has a feature that shows how many sales a shop has made.
       From spending years on social media, I’ve come to learn that each site is very different. They each attract a different crowd, and they are all used differently. The last couple of years, I have been helping my wife with her business. She has inspired me to begin designing as well. My wife’s website is currently in restock mode, otherwise I would have used hers. Collectively, I discovered that social media is a great tool to get noticed, generate sales, and interact with customers. Some of these businesses will be my competition in the near future, but I believe that since every target customer group is different, I will fare well.

I’ve listed the information about each business below.

1. The business name: DeBrosse NYC
2. Their website url: http://debrosse.com ecommerce Etsy website, last updated Jan 2, 2018
3. The social media they are visibly using [links on their website]:
       a. Last post Feb 9, 2018 http://instagram.com/debrosse_nyc
       b. Not dated but has posts related to the new year https://char-co.com

1. The business name: Our Maker Life
2. Their website url: www.ourmakerlife.org
3. The social media they are visibly using [links on their website]:
       a. Last post Feb 12, 2018 www.instagram.com/ourmakerlife
       b. Last post Feb 12, 2018 www.facebook.com/ourmakerlife
       c. Last post Feb 12, 2018 www.twitter.com/ourmakerlife

1. The business name: Repeat Crafter Me
2. Their website url: www.repeatcrafterme.com
3. The social media they are visibly using [links on their website]:
       a. Last post Feb 12, 2018 www.instagram.com/repeatcrafterme
       b. Last post Feb 10, 2018 www.repeatcrafterme.com
       c. Last post Feb 12, 2018 www.Facebook.com/repeatcrafterme
       d. Last post Feb 9, 2018 www.youtube.com/repeatcrafterme
       e. Last post Feb 11, 2018 www.Pinterest.com/repeatcrafterme
       f. Last post Feb 12, 2018 www.twitter.com/repeatcrafterme

1. The business name: Noorvana
2. Their website url: www.noorvana.com
3. The social media they are visibly using [links on their website]:
       a. Last post Feb 11, 2018 www.instagram.com/n00rvana
       b. Last post Feb 12, 2018 www.twitter.com/n00rvana

1. The business name: Lunar Knits by Lori
2. Their website url: http://linktr.ee/lunarknitsbylori
3. The social media they are visibly using [links on their website]:
       a. Last post Feb 9, 2018 www.lunarknitsbylori.wordpress.com
       b. Last post Feb 8, 2018 www.youtube.com/lunarknitsbylori
       c. No dates other than the policies last updated on 10/24/2016 www.etsy.com/lunarknitsbylori
       d. Last post Feb 11, 2018 www.instagram.com/lunarknitsbylori

Week 3: Responses

I replied to Chad M, Blair P, and Michele W.

Week 3: Part 1

I have certainly experienced difficulty when communicating with a business. Automated phone systems, or auto-generated email responses are the first two that come to my mind. I prefer not to call companies, especially when I know I will have to jump through hoops to get a real person on the phone. I tend to resort to email communication or trying to resolve issues through online accounts when available. The only downsides I've experienced with email communication are the delays in response, and impersonal generic responses. Social media has helped improve the customer to business communication over the years. I have actually gone to sites like Facebook and Instagram and found the comments sections very helpful. At times, other customers have voiced their complaints or issues, and that provided me with resolve for my issue or prevented me from having to deal with the same thing. 

I have had a lot of positive experiences online when communicating with businesses. For example, I once ordered a shelving unit for my guest bathroom but when I put it together as per the instructions, it was not stable. I messaged the company thru their Facebook page and they replied within hours! They had me send a picture of my shelf and they noticed I was missing some parts. They sent out the missing parts and I received them a few days later. I'm not sure what happened, maybe I accidentally threw away some pieces, or maybe they were never in my box. Regardless, they were quick to resolve the issue and very nice about it. I can imagine that many other people have had similar experiences with companies through social media because you get to send photos and show rather than just trying to explain. 

Another positive experience I had with an online company was after making a purchase, I was contacted via email to make sure that the battery worked properly with my laptop. After I replied and left a good review, they were so thrilled that I left a review that they requested to send me a free mobile power bank. Not all companies will give out free stuff, and most can't, but I really appreciate a freebie that is something I can really benefit from. The thoughtfulness, attention to detail, and them ensuring customer satisfaction made my experience positive. 

Monday, February 5, 2018

Week 2: Responses

I commented on the blogs of Michele W, Blair P, and Chad M.

Week 2: Overview of Social Media

I believe that we live in a time that personal use and business use is intertwined in all of the social media platforms. I feel like Facebook began with being geared toward personal use. Now, with ads, the marketplace, and algorithms, I see how businesses can really benefit from the use of it. I would have to say that I think twitter is the most personal-use platform out there. Since the messages are short and the timelines are mostly people tweeting each other, it has a much more personal-use feel. Tumblr is another platform that I feel is geared toward personal use. I don't have much experience on the site, but I do know that there aren't any dates on the posts, and I haven't seen many ads on that site.

Depending on the type of business, one platform may be better for you than others. The target market is also a huge thing to consider. For example, if I run a bakery and I create photo-worthy sweets, I would benefit from using Instagram. Especially if my customer base is full of people that love to take pics of their food and post about it. My Instagram could be full of professional pictures of my pastries; and I could share customers' photos as well, with their permission. With the use of hashtags and location I could drive more customers to my business after they see what I have to offer. On the other hand, if I owned a law firm and I wanted to use social media, I don’t think Instagram would be much help for attracting potential clientele. I believe Facebook would be the best option because with paid ads, and being able to choose the demographics, I could get my ads directly in front of the right crowd.

Ultimately, the type of business and its target market will decide which platform is best. As far as personal use goes, the way you like to share will help decide which platform is best for you. If you like to share photos, Instagram is great. From what I see, people don’t pay attention to the captions there. It’s all about the pictures. If you like to post longer videos and vlogs, YouTube is the place to be. It is a good idea to be available on many different platforms if you have a business. Since they all work differently and attract different types of people, you will have a wider reach if you utilize multiple platforms.