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  • #990215
    EZbuy
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    • Total posts: 7
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    Hi all! New to these forums and still relatively new to my job as a marketing manager, so I’m hoping I can learn a lot from you guys and these forums.

    I work for a company called EZbuy and we’re just opening up in Australia as an online shopping concierge. This is pretty much what is commonly known as a Taobao Agent, but we deal with a lot more than just Taobao. Pretty much any store in China, Taiwan and the US. We offer competitive rates and professional service, with two offices opening up in Australia very soon – Melbourne and Sydney. (We already have the offices, but are still in the process of setting up landlines, furniture and such).

    Personally, I understand people management quite well, but am completely new to marketing – both online and offline.

    #1175940
    Wordsmith
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    • Total posts: 194
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    Hello and welcome to the forums!

    Note that you can include your details (website, email, etc.) in your signature so it appears every time you post – some extra exposure for your business. This should be accessible via your account settings.

    As marketing manager, what will you be responsible for implementing in the initial phase of the business establishment? Website, SEO, social, EDM, advertising, pitching, partnerships, PR, etc? Are there templates for you to work with, or are you starting from scratch? Are you a one man marketing band, or do you have a team of marketers?

    #1175941
    EZbuy
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    • Total posts: 7
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    Thank you very much. :)

    At this current stage, my primary responsibilities are the social platforms, especially Facebook and Pinterest but we will also be looking at Instagram and more in the future. I also have my hand in pretty much every part of the setup, from making deals with distribution networks, negotiating with printing companies, hiring staff and so-forth.

    I actually have ads up on Gumtree to hire a marketing assistant to help me out in Melbourne with all this, and our parent company is in Singapore and have marketers, but their style is very typical for there and does not seem to work here very well. Mostly I am looking at their Facebook page to see how they run it, but again – because we are only starting up in Australia, we are not established and their Facebook campaigns are not something that we can run off yet.

    #1175942
    EZbuy
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    • Total posts: 7
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    Also, I cannot see signatures under ‘My Account’ or anywhere.

    #1175943
    Wordsmith
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    Wow – sounds like you are going to have your hands full!

    As a marketing/communications manager myself, I’ve got some ideas for you …

    If you don’t have a website, that’s probably going to be your first step. Hire a professional web designer and SEO copywriter, so that way you hit the ground running.

    Be careful not to over do it on social media. I’m a minimalist when it comes to this, only because I think it is better to do social well on a few platforms, rather than to neglect them. Consider what fits best with your business goals and target market and then focus your attentions on those.

    Do some PR around your launch. If you don’t have someone internal to write a media release, consider outsourcing and/or hiring an agency.

    Develop a communications calendar to support your marketing and communications plan. Factor in key internal and external events, plus partnership deliverables etc.

    If you’re hiring staff, be mindful of the different skill sets and consider outsourcing some specialist marketing/communications elements.

    Hope this helps get you started. If you’d like to throw some ideas around, message me :)

    #1175944
    Wordsmith
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    • Total posts: 194
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    Try Control Panel. Then look under Settings & Options. Select Signature. And away you go :)

    EZbuy, post: 204776 wrote:
    Also, I cannot see signatures under ‘My Account’ or anywhere.
    #1175945
    Anonymous
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    • Total posts: 11,464
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    Hi EZbuy,

    Thanks for joining the forum, and for telling us a bit about yourself. Next time you pop by, we’d also love it if you’d tell us your name (we’re all very friendly around here!)

    As Wordsmith mentioned, you can set up a signature by heading to the Control panel (the link is in the grey bar above the forum), and choosing Edit signature.

    Can you please explain what a Taobao agent is? That’s a term I’ve not heard before.

    Welcome to the forum, and I hope you enjoy your new role,
    Jayne

    #1175946
    RachelWrites
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    FS Concierge, post: 204796 wrote:
    Hi EZbuy,

    Can you please explain what a Taobao agent is? That’s a term I’ve not heard before.

    Taobao is a Chinese website for online shopping similar to eBay and Amazon that is operated in China by Alibaba Group.

    (courtesy of Wikipedia)

    I hadn’t heard of it either. So essentially, you connect Australian buyers with Chinese/Taiwan/US shops and allow them to buy the products through you, delivered to their door?

    Is this a way around the ‘local purchases only’ issue that many people experience when trying to buy from American sites?

    Do you act as an agent for Chinese factories or is just retail locations? Do the retail locations have websites? Do you link customers to retail websites where they pick products and come back to your site to order, or does your site have a huge listing of products?

    Sorry for all the questions – just interested to learn more :)

    #1175947
    EZbuy
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    • Total posts: 7
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    FS Concierge, post: 204796 wrote:
    Thanks for joining the forum, and for telling us a bit about yourself. Next time you pop by, we’d also love it if you’d tell us your name (we’re all very friendly around here!)

    Hi :) My name is Aaron. 33 and father of two. Hard working but slightly out of my depth with this new role as I know pretty much nothing on a professional level about marketing. Currently I’m under a lot of pressure as our first campaigns have been very unsuccessful. This includes working with a marketing company to do flyers, running a giveaway promotion to try and promote our FB page and website and more. Even the flyers, we sent out to 100,000 homes – and only ended up with 150 registrations, and just 19 purchases.

    FS Concierge, post: 204796 wrote:
    Can you please explain what a Taobao agent is? That’s a term I’ve not heard before.

    RachelWrites, post: 204814 wrote:
    Taobao is a Chinese website for online shopping similar to eBay and Amazon that is operated in China by Alibaba Group.

    Hi FS Concierge and RachelWrites. This is correct. Taobao is essentially a marketplace that is saturated with products from manufacturers all over China. This means you can get great prices for products that are otherwise brought in and marked up big time.

    There are already several Taobao agents in Australia, but their services have only ever been targeted to the Chinese market. It is understandable as many of the Chinese sites are in Chinese only, but we feel that this is unfair and want to open up the opportunity to the whole of Australia to enjoy the savings that are possible.

    RachelWrites, post: 204814 wrote:
    I hadn’t heard of it either. So essentially, you connect Australian buyers with Chinese/Taiwan/US shops and allow them to buy the products through you, delivered to their door?

    That is correct. We offer delivery to the home and are currently working on collection points for those who don’t want to have items shipped to their home.

    RachelWrites, post: 204814 wrote:
    Is this a way around the ‘local purchases only’ issue that many people experience when trying to buy from American sites?

    Yes. We have a local shipping address where items can be sent to in the US so that local purchases are a possibility. The same goes for China and Taiwan. At these locations, we then perform visual inspections of items as well as package consolidation.

    RachelWrites, post: 204814 wrote:
    Do you act as an agent for Chinese factories or is just retail locations? Do the retail locations have websites? Do you link customers to retail websites where they pick products and come back to your site to order, or does your site have a huge listing of products?

    Our site has a list of recent purchases, but beyond this – shoppers are required to find what they want to purchase on the seller sites. Be this Taobao, Amazon, Walmart or pretty much any other online site from the three countries, we can handle it.

    #1175948
    RachelWrites
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    • Total posts: 81
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    Hi Aaron,

    Thanks for filling us in!

    I know your service is in demand – there have been a few new stories over the past year about the lack of access Australians have to the quality deals offered online in other countries.

    I haven’t seen your site (you must have one having done flyers, etc – maybe post a link?) – do you have a long list of possible stores people can buy things from? I.e.: if I found myself on your site, do you just tell me you can get the stuff if I find it. Or do you say “check out this, check out that and if you like something, we can get it!”?

    People (and by people, I mean me) are lazy. I’m not going to click on your site, then go back to google and try and find a product, then come back if I can’t get it delivered. I want to come to your site, click on your link, open a new site in a new window with heaps of cool products, make a list and then come back to you to get it for me.

    I’m sure the younger, cooler ones may do it differently. But for a novice like me that would be the case!

    I really like the local collection points idea. That’s definitely a point of difference.

    With your marketing, I’d say that the problem is your target market is too wide.

    Flyer distribution normally has a return rate of about 1%, so your figures are a bit low but not surprising. Where you distributed to and what your copy was may have influenced your results. Without seeing them it’s hard to know.

    But I’d say most likely, you’re trying to be everything to everyone, i.e.: ‘Need this from overseas? No worries – we’ll get it!’ rather than honing in on a specific target market.

    If, for example, you concentrated your efforts on young women shoppers (maybe even executive young women), with images and links on social media of gorgeous bags, shoes, cheap Louis Vuitton, etc you may get different results. Offline you might sponsor some event that focusses on this target demographic, or find a complementary business and run a joint promotion.

    If you were hoping more for wholesale / distribution bulk buys rather than individual customer sales, I’d start looking for wholesalers or distributors within the retail sector you would like to target (i.e.: homewares, clothes, gift items, etc) and work out how you could offer your service to them before you start making appointments and targeting them directly.

    Hope this helps a bit – if I’ve misunderstood the offering, business or market in anyway please feel free to put me in my place :)

    #1175949
    RachelWrites
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    Sorry – just saw your web link :)

    #1175950
    EZbuy
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    • Total posts: 7
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    Hi Rachel,

    Thank you for the advice. I would say you are pretty spot on with the idea of the marketing being too wide. Currently I am in the process of identifying three target audiences, locating Facebook pages with which to interact and also hunting down some product suggestions for these markets to use with advertising. It’s a lot more tricky than it seems.

    I completely understand what you mean by people being lazy. This is something that I brought up with our parent company when I met with them last time, and it is why we have the ‘recent’ purchases section. It does not help, in my opinion, that people have to visit our site multiple times for a purchase – but it is necessary due to the way that the system works. First you have to pay for the products – and then you have to pay shipping once we consolidate and quote the shipping cost.

    I’m also aware that the fact we only accept PayPal at this stage is a barrier. I’m sure that a lot of people are not keen on the idea that they have to ALSO pay the 3% PayPal transfer surcharge in order to put funds in their account with us.

    TBH I’m feeling very much at a loss and I have the CEO of the company breathing down my neck after the abysmal results from the first marketing campaigns. I know there is a need for the service, but how to get people to use it is a whole different story.

    #1175951
    EZbuy
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    • Total posts: 7
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    I think one of my biggest problems at the moment is that I really have no idea on how to decide WHO to target and more importantly – how to find the groups on Facebook to reach them. Facebook group search is a really terrible and hard to use thing.

    #1175952
    RachelWrites
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    • Total posts: 81
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    I feel for you. I’ve been there before…I once took on distributorship for an overseas product and they promised a million dollar advertising budget then didn’t deliver and kept pestering me about how many sales I had made and distribution gained.

    I tried to change their thinking and guide their marketing message, but they didn’t listen and went bust and I ended up drinking most of the stock I had bought :)

    So you don’t have any control over the website? Cause it’s going to be hard to target a market and then have them come to the website with an inconsistent message.

    Wordsmith is great with facebook marketing, and she offers affordable social media consults over the phone. I’m sure she could put you on the right track with social media.

    With picking your target market, I’d go as close as you can to web design so it doesn’t feel too inconsistent when people visit. The dress and vase looking thing aren’t all that attractive to anyone who would buy online (just my opinion :) ) but the jeans suit the female market I mentioned earlier. Problem is they could change at any time and then it won’t be consistent.

    Have you thought about distributors or wholesalers instead? The site is much more geared towards that sort of purchase, and you could create your own inventory of possible products using the sites you buy from. Make up an extensive product brochure with products in their niche and approach them via appointment. You’d probably have to get out there and visit some of the stores that stock the sorts of products you want to sell and find out who their distributors are. Then you can make appointments.

    The pay off will be larger orders, long term relationships and referrals to other big buyers. Dealing one on one with customers is harder than business to business with importing.

    #1175953
    EZbuy
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    • Total posts: 7
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    I would love to talk with Wordsmith, but at the moment I cannot afford such services from my personal pocket and really don’t know how to convince the company to allow me the budget. We have a marketing team from the overseas parent company who are guiding us but it is clear that the marketing approach needs some work for the local market.

    Sourcing for distributors and wholesalers is definitely something I have considered and even brought up with the parent company – but they are not interested in this at the moment. They want to concentrate on the B2C model that they have worked with successfully in other markets. What works in Singapore though, does not necessarily work in Australia.

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