15 Oct No sign of life (Part 2)
Last time we spoke, I was telling you the story about Local Coffee,* a brick-and-mortar storefront business that lost many customers because it was not visible both physically and virtually. It vacated its location and did not reappear for several months. Plus, it failed to have a web presence. This unfortunate business demonstrated clearly: “A business with no sign is a sign of no business.” (see No sign of life, Part 1)
But, sadly, there is more to the story. Local Coffee made another major mistake as well. It had to do with email.
Sorry, I must have the wrong address or
wrong phone number or wrong idea of your validity.
After two full months of silence after Local Coffee closed its doors, and after promising it would reopen in a new location shortly, I received the following email:
From: Local Coffee [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Monday, April 02, 2012 2:25 PM
To: Ellen Kolikoff
Subject: COFFEE ORDER
Local Coffee has not yet reopened doors, but has resumed mail order and delivery service for coffee needs. We deliver weekly or can ship at any time. Please call us and Wendy or I will call back to take your order. You can also reach us via email to this address. Thank you for your patronage. Hope to hear from you soon.
Order? How? What’s in stock? What are the prices? If you were a REAL business, you would have a website (again, see No sign of life, part 1) where I could find answers to these questions.
Call you? Where? If you were a REAL business, you would have a phone number I can look up (since you failed to provide it).
Last, and perhaps most important:
If you were a REAL business,
you would have a REAL business email address.
Online-only businesses are common now. I can think of many including wag.com (who benefits from my living with three cats), soap.com, freshdirect.com, seamless.com, and many others. But …
Does drugstore.com send you emails from firstname.lastname@example.org? Do you get sales announcements from amazon with the return address email@example.com?
If you’re selling retail and you don’t have a storefront … if you are offering professional services that you want to charge me big bucks for … I need to know that you are legitimate and reliable before I send you money.
Gmail.com, yahoo.com, or aol.com at the end of your business email does not engender a warm feeling of trust in me. It says to me you’re not willing to make an investment in full website hosting with email. It says you’re doing your business on the side and you’re not fully committed so you may not be fully committed to serving me.
Any email other than yourbusinessname.com says you are not serious
So, no, firstname.lastname@example.org, I will not be ordering from you anytime soon.
* Names changed to protect the innocent.