Archive for Apple

Should I Sell my Services on Facebook and Twitter?

A row of shopping carts.

Image via Wikipedia

Maybe you can help me out with a bit of a dilemma. I’m ready to sell some of my services online and add a shopping cart to my site. There is nothing very new about this. Plenty of bloggers sell through their sites, most through affiliate links. But, no, I’d be selling directly. I’ve seen that it can be done professionally and successfully (for a great example, visit Become a Blogging Maniac).

What stopped me in my tracks was a provocative post I just read entitled Facebook and Twitter Will Soon Replace All Websites. Wow, that headline was a grabber. The author, Steve Olenski, was admittedly trying to stir up commentary, and he did. He summarized the findings of a National Retail Federation study revealing that about one-third of online shoppers are bypassing company websites for Facebook and Twitter, where they shop for deals — and buy. A lot of people commented on the post including me.

Is This the Way to Go?

As I’ve written on this blog before, I don’t think a company should require a customer to visit Facebook or Twitter in order to buy something, especially if they’ve sent an email directly to the customer. Why make someone go through a social network when s/he can click on the link and go directly to the company’s site? Ironically, companies are pushing customers away and into the arms of third parties. True, Facebook has a community of 600 million potential customers, but why not build a community of customers on your own website?

Facebook, Twitter or Me?

Image via CrunchBase

More companies, though, are selling through social networks, so maybe one day you won’t be seeing Write Speak Sell anymore. But I don’t think this will happen soon. Sales at shopping malls are down because of the economy and because customers are buying online, direct from those stores in the mall, hopefully. No, I’d rather have my store on the main drag with a welcome sign.

Not every company is embracing social media as another sales funnel. I was shocked to see that Apple has turned it’s nose up at social media and its only presence on Facebook is a single paragraph from Wikipedia that has 743,545 fans! Well, you know those avid Apple customers.

So back to where I should sell my services. Where do you shop online — at a company’s website, through third-party vendors like Amazon, or on social networks?

AT&T Store Says IPhones Don’t Work

[tweetmeme]You just wonder how much of a beating the AT&T brand can take.  Once again, the company wasn’t up to the task of fielding orders for the new IPhone 4 and had to temporarily suspend sales because of all the errors buyers were encountering.  But, to be fair, so did Apple.

Like many IPhone users in New York – where reception and the dropped calls problem is getting so bad I’m thinking of buying a cell phone just for phone calls – I’m frustrated with the service.  AT&T has had three years to improve its service and hasn’t.  But this isn’t going to be story about AT&T, the company.

AT&T Franchise Knocks the IPhone

This is a report about how even AT&T’s franchises don’t believe in the IPhone.  I was walking on the street the other day and I passed an AT&T store.  Big letters on the sign over the door:  AT&T. Much signage inside the store:  AT&T.

IPhone

So far, so good.  I walked up to the counter and one of the salesman asked me with a smile, “How can I help you today?”  I told him about my problems with reception and asked him if he had any ideas about how I could make it better.  Maybe reception is stronger standing in the middle of Central Park or on top of a skyscraper.

His smile immediately turned sour.  “Oh, no, we don’t carry IPhones.  They don’t work.  You’ll have to go to an AT&T corporate store, if you want to buy one.”  What?

Hello, AT&T Corporate.  Have you sent any memos to your franchise stores telling them that it is unacceptable to knock the IPhone and that doing so will damage your brand?   And just why aren’t they required to sell IPhones?

I’m just an ordinary consumer.  So when I see an AT&T store I don’t distinguish between franchise and corporate.  The store advertises the AT&T brand.  And the sales clerks should be upholding the brand, otherwise tell them to go work for Verizon.