Enda Flynn, who organised it, tells me they are livestreaming MIX 11 this Wednesday and it sounds like it could be at least as interesting and twice as much fun! If you are developing and are device agnostic I would totally recommend that you pop along to hear about the cool things that are being done with Microsoft devices and interfaces. Okay I’ll shut up now because I’m beginning to not know what I’m talking about. Over to Enda:
Microsoft, Developers, UX, Web, Pizza, Beer, Surface, Slates, Prizes.
MIX is a gathering of developers, designers, UX experts and business professionals creating the most innovative and profitable consumer sites on the web. The conference takes place in Las Vegas, but will be streamed live online http://live.visitmix.com. Join developer peers for Dublin’s MIX 11 live stream gathering, hosted in Microsoft’s Sandyford office.
Once the keynote concludes, you should have pizza and beer in your hands and you’ll be invited to put questions to the local development team, as well as getting up close and personal with some interesting touch devices – including a Microsoft Surface. [Me: this is sooooo cool!] Alternatively you can always network or play Kinect
There’ll be great prizes on offer for both in-person & virtual attendees. #MIX11IE is the hashtag to join Twitter conversation.
When: 4.30pm – 9pm, 12th April 2011
Location: Microsoft Atrium Building (Building 3) auditorium, Sandyford Industrial Estate, Carmanhall Road, Dublin 18.
This is a guest post by Derek Traynor of AllMoto.ie, an IIA Member Company, republished with his permission from his blog. In it he writes about a subject dear to our hearts in the IIA: online retail and the knock-on effects of reputable online business for the economy. If you would like to ramp up your own online retail business, don’t miss our upcoming conference, 8 More Ways to Sell Even More Stuff, designed especially for retailers, whatever stage of the online game you are at.
OK firstly let me explain – this isn’t a story about my personal ‘Bedroom Efforts’ (I’ve another blog for that 🙂 ), it’s my opinion, as an etailer (online retailer), on the damage that small, online, bedroom based efforts cause to industry in general.
What I mean by ‘Bedroom Efforts’ is someone sitting at home, on a laptop, listing products on ebay, Amazon and similar, and ordering in stock as it sells. However, let me clarify, my issue isn’t with the sleepy entrepreneurs but rather with the suppliers who decide to sell product through them.
I’ve been harping on about this pet-hate for years now and I’m “happy” to report that in just the last month I’ve had three suppliers contact me with concerns over it – way to get with the times guys – but at least they recognize the problem. These suppliers are eventually requesting minimun retail prices on their products. I’ve no idea where they stand legally if challenged about anti-competition legalities but…. well who cares about that for the moment.
I’m sure a few people are now thinking, “but sure you’re a online shop – who are you to talk?”, but this is where most people are missing the difference: I’m a reputable online retailer, adding value to a customers experience. I do this by providing:
- product knowledge. We’re experts on what we sell and use this knowledge to only sell product that is good.
- product support. If our customers have difficulty with a product we’re there to help by phone, email and often in person at events.
- product backup. Did a purchase break or fall short of what a customer expected? We always repair and/or replacement based on the circumstances.
- stock off the shelf. When a customer buys something it gets shipped within 24 hours (over 85% of the time in my shop).
- a unique user experience. The customer always subconsciously relate to their experience of the product.
- a physical store where people can drop into in person if they want to.
Bedroom Efforts generally damage a product having little or no technical knowledge, no repairs, no returns policy, no parts backup and NO stock. The customer ends up waiting longer, buying ill advised and losing all if an issue arises. What is not seen here is the damage to the brand that was sold. Note to suppliers – one way to lose repeat business is to allow a terrible customer experience in the initial purchase.
The hidden damage goes further though. These bedroom efforts often make almost no margin and that’s fine as they’ve almost no costs. But the damage arises in the lost sale the ‘real’ retailer has lost. Don’t be misled, reputable online etailers have almost as many costs as your local shop (Google ads, website development, online presence maintenance, customer support, STOCK, rent, taxes, to name a few).
What also makes me laugh is that these same suppliers then complain about having trouble getting paid by their retailer network. Maybe it hasn’t crossed their minds yet, but, support your network of retailers. Note to suppliers – IT’S EASY TO GET PAID FROM PEOPLE THAT ARE IN THE BUSINESS OF MAKING A PROFIT.
Imagine this outside Victorias Secrets: “knickers, knickers, two for a tenner”
Chanel and Gucci don’t supply someone so they can set up a market stall outside Brown Thomas (Ireland’s exclusive department store) on a busy Sunday afternoon. Why do suppliers continue to sell to people who just list on Ebay, Amazon, etc, and provide no backup on a Monday morning?
Chanel and Gucci understand the principals of brand image and most importantly – making profit.
Thanks to Derek for that heartfelt post! If you are a member of the IIA and would like to share a guest post about doing business online (any aspect: it doesn’t just have to be retail!) please read our guidelines and get in touch.
If you didn’t manage to make it to the event organised by the IIA User Experience Working Group on Tuesday never fear! Help is here!
After attending the event, Aoife Ní Chionnaith of Clickstream wrote a great post on their blog which basically pulls together what she considers the most important points that the speakers made on the day. She also includes plenty of links to where you can find more information.
Also you can access the presentations (or decks as I hear all the cool kids are calling them these days 🙂 ) in the IIA Resources section. These are currently openly available but will be available only to members next week.
If you also attended this event and blogged about it please let me know (leave a comment) or if you don’t have a blog but would like to write a post for this blog, please do – we LOVE guest bloggers 🙂
Last week we kicked off the Feedback Friday feature with Pressieport.ie. I don’t mind telling you that the post was the most popular on this blog in the last month and the feedback Fred Schelbaum received was second to none. Not long after the post went live I got an email from Fred with the subject line, “WOW!” so he was very happy too. So well done to all the commenters and Twitterers who helped out.
This week our featured site for Feedback Friday is Puddleducks. Aedan Ryan, director of Puddleducks, sent me the following to help you fabulous feedbackers:
PuddleDucks is an online retailer of outdoor clothing clothes for children and adults. Our best selling items are the waterproof dungarees, jackets and suits for younger children.
What I would like to achieve from Feedback Friday is to get feedback and make improvements to our Home Page so we can try to reduce the bounce rate from visitors to the site.
Therefore I’d appreciate feedback on some of the following:
- initial impression of our Home Page
- layout of the Home Page
- is it easy to know how to progress from the home page to start shopping on the site?
- are there any other design improvements we could make to the home page or the product pages?
- any other ideas on how to make shopping easier or encourage visitors to purchase
We’d also like to offer a 10% discount to all readers for any purchases until Sunday 8th Feb. Just use the discount coupon “iia12”. Please note that you need to be registered as a user on the site before you can redeem the coupon.
Thanks very much in advance for your feedback.
Again please keep the guidelines in mind when giving feedback and most of all, thanks very much!
So the first company in our brand new feature “Feedback Friday” is Pressieport.ie who are also one of the newest members of the IIA. The idea with Feedback Friday is to allow members of the IIA to seek feedback on their site and in fact Fred from Pressieport.ie describes what he hopes to get from it himself:
Pressieport.ie launched in November 2007 and then re-launched in June 2008 on a brand new platform (you live, you learn). We focus on trying to provide our customers with a different and original range of products/gifts than might generally be available on the High Street in Ireland and we pride ourselves on our Customer Service and the fact that we deliver to your door overnight anywhere in Ireland. In addition to this we provide a gift-wrapping service and personalised greeting card service. We are constantly looking for and working on improvements, but being in the thick of it means that sometimes it can be difficult to have objective or detached opinions about different aspects of the site. It is for this reason that we would really welcome feedback and suggestions from fellow IIA members and readers of this blog whether it is negative or positive.
The site can be viewed at www.pressieport.ie. You can leave comments below or pingback from your own blog. And, if you don’t mind, a few pointers in order to make this a pleasant and constructive experience for all:
- We are looking for feedback on the site: on its navigation, usability, accessibility, design, optimisation and any other nuts and bolts aspects that you in your own specialised expert field might notice.
- Tell us what you like about the site, not neccesarily the service or goods Pressieport are offering.
- Tell us what you don’t like about the site and please try to express exactly what it is that irks you. “I don’t like the photographs.” is not as helpful as “I think photographs that give a better idea of the recommended usage of the product would be better.” (A hypothetical example :))
- Make sure you let us know where you blogged your contribution to Feedback Friday.
- Have a look at this wiki from Wikihow.com which I think sums feedback up generally.
- If you can ‘t say anything nicely maybe you should go for elocution/ creative writing lessons 🙂
Joshue O’Connor, a member of the IIA User Experience Working Group from the National Council for the Blind in Ireland, outlines what delegates can expect from the IIA User Experience Conference next Tuesday 25 November in the Burlington Hotel Dublin.
In business there are many confounding variables that face you. Internal and external pressures at every corner. If you sell products then you must have people who must decide to buy and use your products, the same for any services that you provide. The web has opened up new horizons of possibility but how do you really get it right? Trying to understand what makes your users tick is a full time job in itself and not exactly an exact science.
Therefore coming to the IIA User Experience Working Group’s annual conference on the theme of “Brand building, profitability and customer loyalty through better User Experience” will really help you. Meet with some practitioners who spend their time trying to understand the user experience. There are many diverse and experienced speakers at this event who will endeavour to share what they have learned as practitioners. You will come away from this event with, at the very least, the realisation that there is a lot to be learned when you consider the complexity of the very people you are trying to reach, and hopefully a trick or two that may help you to improve the quality of the services that you offer.
Click here to check out the progamme, speakers and register for this event. Readers of this blog can get 10% off by using the code “UEBlog” when prompted during registering. At €145.00 for non-members and €75.00 for IIA members it’s a bargain even without the discount. As they say in Irish may you enjoy and gain benefit from it!