May 21, 2005, 7:10 AM
Post #8 of 14
Yes, we want people to come to our store, and they do, from *all* over. Over 90% find us on the internet. We are at the top of almost all searches for "beads" and "pittsburgh" and for geo-targeted searches on "beads".
Finding this forum, advertising and promotions
[In reply to]
But, our goal on-line, is simply to have the largest informative network of bead sites. It takes time to do that. Also, to have a "niche" for each of our products and/or services, as well as for shows, conventions, classes, workshops, etc.
We run our own servers, so setting up websites doesn't have an incremental cost, it actually has a DECREMENTAL cost, as each new site shares the overall overhead.
Maybe at some point we'll do mail order, and if we do, we'll be set up for it. But I can't see doing that until the kids are out of school and either join the business full time, or give us the space to hire some full timers.
Pittsburgh is a large enough market for us, and while I hate to jinx myself, there just isn't enough local competition to drive the market. There are over 3,000,000 people in the local draw, more, when you specifically consider how far people will drive for beads. My biggest trouble has been getting locals to actually open the phone book, or search for "beads." They've given up, and don't know we are here. Print and radio advertising hasn't worked, *except* for Beadwork Magazine, which continues to draw in people both locally and nationally.
Of the people who come in, most say "I was searching for something else, and I foundyour site! WOW! I didn't know there was a bead store in pittsburgh." (Well, most did, but they just quit shopping there.) What they meant was a _new_ or "Other" bead store in pittsburgh. And there are really two now. Another opened before last Christmas, and she's doing a good job with it.
There is an old "established" shop that has alienated a whole lot of people, and which opened a second location (technically moving a location to a new location). When people think "beads" in pittsburgh, unfortunately, they are still the only thing that comes to mind. Pittsburgh is a slow town to change. There is a small shop in the center of town which has been around awhile. There is a small shop that also sells yarns and fibers a few blocks away from us (they actually opened at the same time we did) (actually, they opened at the same time we opened to the public, we've been "open" for 13+ years), and then there is that new shop along the river. There is also the Appalachian Rock Shop in Harmony, and 1 or two other rock/mineral shops in town that have started to carry beads.
And yes, I do all the web work, as well as higher end database/website development consulting.
Not bad for a retired doctor.
PUGDOG's Rock & Bead Shop
Pittsburgh, PA 15217
(This post was edited by pugdog on May 21, 2005, 7:13 AM)