Me as the next Dragon? My money is on Pearson…

Posted by Zak on 26 Jan 2011 | Tagged as: PB.HQ mutterings

Thanks to a certain Mr Bailly (Matt, not Bill) I just stumpbled upon this piece of insightful investigative journalism.

In a nutshell it professes that I’m in the running for the new Dragons Den hot seat recently vacated by James Caan.

WOW!

I’m honoured to be considered, I really am, but I think I’m going to have to decline for a number of reasons:

1) I’m skint. Could be a bit of a stumbling block…

2) People might struggle to understand my accent I forgot about Bannatyne

3) I only own black socks. Jones would not be happy

4) I’m too shy! Cubs honour

5) Looking at the video my eyebrows are waaaayyyyyy too bushy! Man - I think I need a back, sack, crack and eyebrow!

So, after giving it a great deal of consideration, I’m going to remove myself from the running and step aside to let a true Internet Entrepreneur (and a thoroughly nice fella) Mr Mark Pearson become the next dragon.

Cheers,

TBW.

#PROSEO was AMAZING

Posted by Zak on 27 Oct 2010 | Tagged as: General Marketing

I’m back today from attending the Distilled/SEOmoz #PROSEO seminar down in London Town.

One word. WOW!!!

This was a pureplay SEO event, discussing everything from linkbuilding, on site optimisation, database journalism and even the LDA model (a wee bit over my head!).

I can only heap praise on the organisers, their staff and the attendees.

From the first registration, through to the final drinks in the Plough, everything was first rate! Professional, entertaining and thought inspiring whilst still maintaining a massive amount of “warmth”.

I’ll be writing up my copious amount of notes over the next couple of days, but if you didn’t attend, then YOU REALLY SHOULD NEXT YEAR as it could quite literally be the best £500 you’ve ever spent.

#PROSEO. You rock! Thanks guys

TBW

More Award nominations for Prezzybox.com

Posted by Zak on 12 Oct 2010 | Tagged as: Affiliate Marketing, PB.HQ mutterings

I’m excited to say that Prezzybox.com have been nominated for two categories for the prestigious Ecommerce Awards in association with the IMRG.

 

 

The categories we are up for are:

  • ISIS Small Retailer of the Year
  • Re-Design/Relaunch of the Year

I’m really proud of the team for this achievement and fingers crossed we’ll be coming back from the awards with a trophy or two.

Last years winners include ASOS, Sainsbury’s, Clarks, Game, Littlewoods and Ocado which just goes to show how well we’ve done being shortlisted and how prestigeous the awards actually are.

Go team!

Toodle pip.

Zak.

Leaving POR…

Posted by Zak on 22 Jul 2010 | Tagged as: Affiliate Marketing

 Today, Prezzybox have announced the decision to leave POR as a network and go exclusively with AWIN. To be honest this has been a really tough decision as we go back a long way with POR and we all get on really well. So, I’d like to just briefly let you know the reasons why we’ve decided to go exclusive with AWIN.

 

First things first. This is ABSOLUTELY NO REFLECTION ON POR or their performance. I am still a big advocate of them, their technology and their approach and I will happily act as a testimonial for you them going forwards – both on and off the record.

 

However, the primary reasons for use moving to 1 network are:

 

1)       AWIN have a big account management team - which benefits us massively. A number of our team speak to a number of their team every day. They simply have more resource.

 

2)       Basically - this means they can open a lot more doors to bigger affiliates. 

 

3)      Also Julianne has come on board as our Marketing Director and I’m letting her have free reign pretty much. We’ve not done as well as a company as I would have liked and this is maybe down to me running the marketing. So we’re having a change of direction - well - Julianne running it her way and seeing how we get on

 

So I would publicly like to thank POR for everything they have done for us over the past 8 years. They are a great network, have the right ethics and I genuinely believe they have both the affiliates and merchants best interests at heart. It’s purely a business decision at the end of the day and only time will tell whether it is the right one or not.

 

I wish Clarke, Graeme and the team every success for the future and hope that we can still enjoy a pint or two at future Affiliate events.  

Rant 2!

Posted by Zak on 19 Apr 2010 | Tagged as: General Marketing, No Category

I am officially turning into a grumpy old gyt!!! Ranting about business things which annoy me with alarming frequency. Imagine what I’ll be like when I reach my 30’s….

Today’s subject. Currys. Grrr

Basically I wanted to buy a TV as the one in my bedroom had conked out! Obviously I looked online and found this cheeky little offer giving 5% off all orders over £249. RESULT - the TV I wanted was £249.99.

I logged on to their website and placed the order. As it was Friday night I opted to collect the product on Saturday morning from my local store as there is a Currys about 10 miles away from where I live.

On arriving at the store I had the following debate…

Sales chappie “That’s £249.99 please”.

Me “Not so fast sunshine, I’ve got my 5% discount” I replied

“Sorry sir, that’s only for online orders” he countered

“But I did order it online - here’s my online reference number”

“No Sir, you can’t get the 5% discount because the online store has less costs than us” he claimed

“How? They offer free delivery on all orders, so surely that is going to cost more as they now will no longer have to pay the delivery fee” I responded getting slightly more annoyed….

“Sorry sir, we don’t have the facility to give discount“.

You get the picture!

Now obviously they’ve got different costs attributed to keeping a product in a store, rather than at a warehouse, but surely these costs would have been offset by the fact that they wouldn’t have had to pay the £5 - £10 delivery fee to cover their promise of free delivery.

In the words of Dizzee…. BONKERS! I don’t think I’ll be going there to get my Fathers Day Gift.

Toodle pip.

TBW.

The art of BAD Customer Services - a RANT!!!

Posted by Zak on 29 Mar 2010 | Tagged as: General Marketing

Prezzybox put a massive amount of stock and emphasis into offering good Customer Services. Whether a customer is buying a £5 product or a £500 product we rightly treat them with the same amount of respect which they deserve. It is much harder to gain a Customer than to lose a customer and this is drilled into ALL of our staff.

I’m therefore very proud to say that we’ve won countless Customer Services Awards and were voted the IRMG Retail Website of the year for 2009. Customer Services is a serious business…

I was therefore horrified at the Customer Services I received yesterday when trying to purchase an item that was a LOT more than £500… Namely a Car. I’m normally a mild mannered fella, but I was so incensed…nay outraged,  that I thought I simply had to share my experiences with you guys!

Before I do so, there’s a number of points you need to know:

1) I’m in the market for a Sports car - preferably an Audi TT or a VW Scirocco. However importantly…

NONE OF THE SALES REP’S AT ANY OF THE GARAGES KNEW THIS.

2) I’m MD of an Internet company called Prezzybox.com. We have a multi million turnover and therefore it’s not out of the realms of possibility that I would be looking to buy a mid range car like a TT or a Scirocco. Please don’t think that I’m saying this to be glib and insinuate that I’m a squillionaire. I’m not and I’m most definitely not. However, I’ll say it again…

NONE OF THE SALES REP’S AT ANY OF THE GARAGES KNEW THIS.

3) Having worked in online marketing for over 11 years I’m pretty clued up as to the power of blogging, social networking, online PR etc and understand the positive and negative impact such articles can have. However, I’ll repeat…

NONE OF THE SALES REP’S AT ANY OF THE GARAGES KNEW THIS.

The Tale

Dressed in jeans and a jacket (hey, it was a Sunday!) A friend and I arrived in the ’Car Showroom Triangle’ (where all of the car dealerships are situated) at around 10.15. Volkswagen were not open so we decided to trundle across the road to Jag to check out their cars.

Stop 1 - Jaguar - FAIL

A sign on the door said that Jaguar didn’t open till 11, however I tried the door and it was open. Asking the receptionist if it was OK for us to come in and look around (she said yes - they were open early for an event) one of their sales reps shouted across the store…

“You can only come in if you’ve got a big enough cheque book to leave a deposit”.

Now, this may have been said in jest, BUT a) it alienated both of us straight away as it was shouted across the store and b) made me feel like I didn’t want to buy a Jag and spend time looking at their cars. Jaguar #FAIL

Stop 2 - Volkswagen - SUCCESS

After we’d hurriedly left Jag, we made our across the road to VW. Now, they were just opening up (the lights weren’t even on) but the young man who was opening the store was extremely helpful. He let us in early, offered us a drink, gave us the spec of the car together with the price, excused himself while he unlocked the barriers to the car park and on our way out informed us that we could arrange a test drive should we wish.

For me this was great Customer Services. The young man didn’t make a judgement call as to the amount of money we had to spend, he listened to our requirements, gave us all of the options available to us, helped out without being too pushy and then offered further assistance should it be required. Perfect!

Stop 3 - Audi - FAIL

For me the Audi “lack of” Customer Services was the most annoying for me as…. read it and weep Audi….

I was actually looking to buy an AUDI TT! I wanted one soooooooo much

Upon looking round the showroom, I spotted that they didn’t have the model/spec I was looking for. I therefore enquired to the sales rep who at the time was busy chatting to the receptionist, whether they had any of the new Coupe’s (what was I thinking interrupting them!!) . His response…

“No, we only have some used ones out the back”

…and then he went back to chatting to his mate.

Why was this bad?  In my opinion this was terrible for the following reasons:

1) He was wrong. On checking out the back they had the EXACT SPEC and COLOUR Audi TT I was looking for. It took me around 30 seconds to find this out. OK, fair play he might not have known this, but I’m sure they MUST have some system which tells them exactly which cars they have at their branch OR which cars they have at branches close by. Would it not have been worth a look on the system?

2) He couldn’t be bothered to find out exactly what I was looking to buy or how much I was looking to spend. For all he knew I may have been looking to buy the car that very day. Now they’ll never know.

3) He didn’t offer any alternatives. My staff ALWAYS offer alternatives, upsell, cross sell, offer accessories and do their best for the customer without over imposing. I repeat, once you’ve got a customer it is imperative to keep them as it is really easy to lose them.

4) In my opinion because I’m a young (ish) chap and I wasn’t smartly dressed he made a judgement that I didn’t have the finance to purchase one of their precious cars so why should he waste his time with me. Incorrect once more sunshine!

To make matters worse, he actually then spent his time “lauding” some older chap who just so happened to have a suit on, shaking his hand, offering him a seat/drink etc. This is obviously good customer services and I applaud him for this, but it proves once more that he’d made the wrong judgement call, based on what this chap was wearing and his age. Why? Well, the gent inquestion currently owes my mate - who happened to be car shopping with me - £2000 for works carried out and can’t afford to pay him. Audi #FAIL

So, what can we deduce from yesterdays event?

1) I’m pretty sure I won’t  be buying a Jag or an Audi.

2) You should never judge a book by it’s cover.

3) Customer Services is like Marketing… You should always find out what the customer wants and then satisfy their needs profitably. If any of my staff treated a potential customer with such disregard I would be really annoyed - regardless of the amount the customer was looking to spend.

4) Sales Reps are the face of the Company. They are the gatekeepers. It doesn’t matter how many high feluted systems are in place or how clever an advertising campaign may be, if the front line staff aren’t adhering to the company ethos, all that goes before it is wasted.

5) If someone has annoyed you and offered you a poor service, you’ll tell a LOT more people than if you’ve received a good service. Hence this post! This can be detrimental to the brand equity.

So there we have it folks. I’ve asked for a quote of the Scirocco today and although had my heart set on an Audi TT, I’ll most likely be buying one of those. I’ll keep you posted!!!

Rant over.

Zak.

Why the new Prezzybox site design will convert better for you…

Posted by Zak on 24 Jan 2010 | Tagged as: No Category

Hurrah!  Great news! We’ve recently launched the redesign of Prezzybox.com. Our design/technical team have been working on this for the past few months and we’re really pleased with the results.

We’ve not redesigned the site for the pure intention of making it looking pretty (although we think it does!). We’ve actually worked closely with NLP analytics company 7 Billion People and have employed a bone fide scientist to come and do full time analysis for us, all in the bid to increase our conversion rate.  So what have we done and why…

Home Page

  • As more people have bigger monitors now we’ve widened the site to maximise the selling opportunity.
  • We’ve really highlighted the fact that we are a ‘gift’ retailer and have added a ‘birthday’ gifts category as well as promoting our top goodies through our ‘top picks’ and ‘top 10 gifts’. We want people who come to Prezzybox to instantly know what we are about.
  • All of the important messages - such as ’security’, ‘fast delivery’ and ‘customer testimonials’ are highlighted on the home page. This emphasises we are a legitimate retailer.

Navigation

  •  The Navigation Bar now highlights all of the sub categories in the specific category, thus giving more options to find the ideal gift.
  • There are 3 clear further ways to find a gift - namely the ’search facility’, ‘browse by price’ and our ‘gift wizard’ again hoping to entice the user to purchase.

Category Page

  • The product categories display all of our top selling gifts in the particular category. This has always been the case.
  • Alongside this we display our 6 top sub categories pictorially at the top and then all of the sub categories alphabetically on the left hand side. If users are looking for a specific type of product they can drill down in to the sub category.
  • ‘See more like this’ is a really nice feature, as it shows which sub category the product is in and then allows the user to see more products which are similar. We feel this will greater emphasis the huge range we have at Prezzybox.

Product Page

  • Really nice functionality this and will hopefully increase conversion rate considerably. We now notify people that the ‘item has been added to the cart’ and highlight where the shopping cart actually is so it’s easier for them to find.

Call to Action Box

  • Displaying all of the necessary information. Shows the price, that the item is in stock, how quickly it will be dispatched and where you can click to find similar gifts. Again - simplicity is the key.

Shopping Cart

  • We have made the shopping cart ’simples’. It highlights the products you want to buy as well as the security protection we have in place, the delivery options as well as the alternative methods of pay. We wanted to keep it simple so as not to confuse people and put them off entering the checkout.

Checkout

  • Really simple design focusing purely on checking out. Hey once people are there that’s what they want to do.
  • Emphasis on 100% security highlighted at both the top and bottom of the checkout again to re instill the fact that the company the user are passing their money over to are a legitimate one.
  • ‘You are here’ type checklist to highlight that only one simple page  needs to be completed to checkout.
  • No need to log in to purchase, which makes the process as quick as possible (although soon we will have the ability to log in if the user wants to retrieve their stored information).

So there you have it folks. We’ve really worked hard to improve the site both functionally and aesthetically whilst trying to ensure that the key statistic - ‘conversion rate’ moves in the right direction. We only launched the new design a couple of days ago so it’s too early to say either way, but I’ll definitely keep you posted.

Toodle pip.

TBW

x

Zak Jackson (better than) The Original Thriller

Posted by Zak on 06 Dec 2009 | Tagged as: General chit chat

Takes a few seconds to get going but I reckon it’s worth a watch… ;-)

 

A4U Expo - the best bits…

Posted by Zak on 15 Oct 2009 | Tagged as: Affiliate Marketing

For me, this was by far and away the best Expo yet. Insightful, great speakers, terrific buzz about the place and all in all a cracking couple of days. So, what did I find particularly  fun and interesting….

  • Dave Naylor. Dave’s seminar’s on SEO were a real eye opener and really informative. I also had a good natter with him in his “surgery” and not only was he a great help, but a decent chappie too. ‘Leeds Leeds Leeds’
  • Easy Content Units Our ‘janner’ friends (the two J’s) have built a really great tool which I honestly believe all merchants and affiliates should use. They didn’t present, but appeared to be holding an (almost) 24 hour surgery on the cracking ECU.
  • Chatting with Clarke Duncan. It’s always good to have a natter with Clarke. He’s always got loads of great tips which he’s willing to share and doesn’t hold back with his opinion (or two!).
  • Chatting to the fella’s from Google. It was great to finally meet somebody from google and find out that unlike the myth, they are actually real people, who like you and I, like a couple of beers! It also is nice to know that they run a ’sensible’ business model and are actually there to help merchants like us progress.
  • Hooking up with the AWINners. Is it any wonder they are called winners? Their team all seem to have so much vibrancy and passion about Affiliate Marketing that for me, they really are the network of choice!
  • Conversion Rate Experts (and Squirrel). We’ve not done any work with the chaps at CRE yet (we may do if the price is right ;-) ) but they obviously know their pop and gave a great presentation on increasing your conversion rate. Toooooo many people focus their entire marketing effort on attracting visitors rather than converting your actual visitors into purchasers.
  • The Food. Rather than your traditional ’sarnie’ we were treated to chilli con-carni and nacho mix, and then the delightful pizza (although I regret having the same pizza the night before at Frankie and Benny’s,  grrrr!). Talking about Pizza, pizza’s without cheese are nearly as funny as dogs in hats driving down the road with their heads hanging out the car. You had to be there…
  • The Folks. Faaaaarrrrrr tooo many to mention. From my sidekick Mr Keen, through to the Queen of Affiliate Marketing it was bostin to catch up with you all once more. Also nice to meet new people like the Hodge and Michelle Croft. Smashin.

So there we have it folks. It was a really great Expo. If you didn’t go then you really should (the usual suspects of Mr Frost, Shane and Moosehead were sourly missed) and I’m already looking forward to next years!!

Toodle pip.

TBW

PS - To the person who reads my blog (I quote) “EVERY DAY” happy belated birthday. ;-)

Prezzybox.com Big Christmas Plans

Posted by Zak on 01 Oct 2009 | Tagged as: Affiliate Marketing

Ho Ho Ho!

It’s 1st October, the dark nights are drawing in and that can only mean one thing - Christmas is a coming. So, we only thought it right and proper to provide our lovely affiliates with some delightful tools to help them maximise sales over this years festivities.

1) Landing Page Product Generator

Nowadays with the advent of Easy Content Units, AWIN’s Content Widgets and the like, Affiliates can choose exactly what products they wish to promote instead of the products dictated by the merchant. So, we thought we’d take this one step further and allow you to select exactly what products you want to appear on your landing page so as to increase conversion rate with our Landing Page Product Generator.

How you get involved? Simples…

  • Email Ben on ben@prezzybox.com and tell him you’d like to customise the products on your landing page. Don’t worry if you don’t already have a landing page - we’ll create one for you giving your users £5 off all orders over £20. You can see an example of one of our landing pages here
  • Once we’ve created your login details then you simply need to login on the link provided
  • Then you need to select which products you want to appear on the page and enter the product ID’s in the boxes provided
  • Press ’save your Settings’ and then log out.

That’s it. As we say - simples. We really do beleive this will help with conversion rate as you can now focus your landing page on exactly the products you are promoting.

Generic Voucher Code

As an extra incentive to use the landing page we’ve created a genric gift voucher which allows users £5 off all orders over £15. Simply use voucher code EARLY-BIRD The voucher is valid till the end of October.

2) Customised Product RSS Feed

We’ve also launched our Customised Product RSS Feeds.

In the months leading up to Christmas we add literally 100’s of products to our site. Keeping track of them all as an affiliate can be the difference between an average Christmas period and a great one.

If you click here then you will find an RSS feed of all of our latest products. Simply add this to your favourite RSS reader and then every time we add or update a product you’ll be the first to know. This will give you a great competitive advantage when it comes to product reviews, listing products or price comparisons.

Customising the RSS Feed

It doesn’t end there though. You can also customise the RSS feed in order to give you your own Personalised TRACKING DEEP LINKS to each product. You can see a step by step guide of how to do this here.

Also, if you want to use products from a specific product category then you can by simply using the following querystring - Prezzybox.com. You can see an example of this here

3) New Site Design which will increase your conversion rate

We’ve teamed up with onsite analytics company 7 Billion People and have recently redesigned Prezzybox in conjunction with their recommendations on how to increase conversin rates. The early signs are that it is showing an improvement in conversion rates. You can see the full article on the relaunch here and why it will help increae your conversion rate, but some of the things we have put in place are:

  • Home Page focusing on gifts. We sell gifts so lets tell people this straight away

  • Product Page - bigger call to action and direction to the cart when you’ve added an item to it

  • Simpler cart/checkout, which we’ve developed to direct the customer to the buying process as seamlessly as possible

All of which we feel will help increase conversion rate over the Christmas period.

4) Creative

Ben and Bianca have been busy beavering away to create lots of lovely creative for this yuletide and have produced the following:

Content Units

We’ve designed a number of fancy content units in a host of different shapes and sizes. Each content unit incorporates a Christmas feel and a working search bar or gift wizard. All the content units include products which we feel are going to be top sellers this Christmas.

Christmas Gift Wizards

The Gift Wizard is a great of of choosing a gift for someone if you don’t know what you want to buy for a friend. We’ve therefore produced a number of Christmas Gift Wizard content units which you can use on your site. This form of creative is always very popular as it adds a unique feature to your site and allows your users to search for specific items or find the perfect Christmas gift in a hurry!

Vidibox Video Content Units

A video is a great tool for selling products. You can see some research we’ve done on Videos assisting in conversion rate here. So, we’ve produced a number of video content units. You can see a selection of them here

We’ve also teamed up with our friends at ECU and they’ve produced a tool where you can insert our product videos into their ECU. You can see an example of this here.

Where to find the creative

All of the creative can be found on both AWIN and POR and is ingeniously entitled Christmas and then what it is (for example Christmas Gift Wizard Search Box). If you struggle to find any of it please contact Ben and he’ll point you in the right direction.

Easy Content Units

Easy Content Units allows affiliates to create product content units in seconds which look and feel like part of your site. These content units are then updated to ensure correct pricing and availability is shown to your visitors. All of their units are fully customisable to fit in with your site and they’ve even got units, where we keep the products fresh with our current bestsellers. However affiliates can customise them any way they wish. You can see an example of one of the Prezzybox ECU here or check out the print screen below.

Best Selling Products/Hot New Products

I’ve looked at all the stats, bent the ears of our buyers and spoke to Nikki in PR to see what are going to be the best selling products this Christmas. I’ve split it into:

  1. Hot New Products for Christmas
  2. Best Sellers this Year
  3. Stocking Fillers that will fly out

Now, the list is far too big however and would make this post HUGE!! So, I’ve taken the liberty of posting on a different thread. You can see this thread by clicking here

That’s all folks

That’s all for now folks. We’re hoping this Christmas is going to be a cracker so if there’s anything we can help with then please don’t hesitate to contact either Ben (ben @ prezzybox.com email and MSN) or Zak (zak @ prezzybox.com on email and MSN) and our new addition Nikki our PR girl (nicola @ prezzybox.com on email and MSN) or give us a call on 0844 2495 007.

Cheers,

Zak.

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