The Social Media Challenge for a new webstore

Back in 2002 we first started selling consumables and components for low temperature research the world was a very different place. Online commerce was only just getting into its stride and social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter were still only curious imaginings in some very young minds...

So how did we get to where we are now ? - Read on for the full story and details of how to get an offer you can't refuse (not just because it's free, but because it's useful.)

Back in 2005 when building our first webstore we figured out that our customers found product pictures more helpful than specification tables, so we populated that store with large product pictures and multiple views rather than the 100x100 pixel thumbnails that were standard at the time. We were proud to be the first to introduce online credit card payment facilities, multiple currency pricing and a cryo-emergency range of products that we'd guarantee to keep stocked at all times.

So far, so good, but roll on 2012 and it was time to take stock of all the latest developments in social media and online commerce.

So what would we do ? Add a few blog posts  dressed up as 'news'… yawn… Set up a Facebook page and repeatedly beg customers to 'like' us with nothing in return… really, c'mon…? We knew we could do better than that.

But this social media world is, oh so different. Well there certainly are lots of books that suggest it is - but then they would say that wouldn't they? We read them anyway (well, some of them), just to see what all the noise was about.

Actually it turns out that our goal now is no different to what it has always been - to serve our customers better - better than we did in previous years, and hopefully also better than anyone else. We aim to have the best service for supplying you with cryogenic and condensed matter consumables, and using social media is just one of the ways to help achieve that.

Adoption of social media platforms is therefore central to our long term strategy - but what have we learnt from our first decade, before Facebook and Twitter came along?

We analysed when and why customers contacted us and figured out that almost half of them did so just to confirm pricing and whether we had the goods they wanted in stock. That was, we decided, a lot of your time and effort that we could save, not to mention international phone charges, so we've equipped our new web store with live stock levels. And even if something is not currently on the shelf - we appreciate you need to know how long it will take to get hold of, so we're precise about specifying our product lead-times from 2-3 Days to 4-6 Weeks.

For a long time we've offered multi-currency pricing, but now we're going further - with fully internationalised product descriptions, first in English and now also in German. Needless to say this takes time and costs real money - but we think it's worth it to get the best webstore.

Naturally we are going to be providing commentary on topical condensed matter research on our Facebook page but more importantly we'll be using it as a forum to find new ways to make our service better. At present we are conducting a poll on which language you'd like to see us translate our webstore into next - French or Chinese ? In future we'll also use Facebook for finding out what new products you'd like us to carry and what store information you'd like us to add.

Facebook and Twitter also give us the opportunity to advertise special offers that we cannot provide through other media, either because they are very short term, or we have limited supply of stock to sell at reduced price, or even give away free.

To encourage you to sample what we have to offer on Facebook right now we are giving away free GE-Varnish to any customer who follows our Facebook page. Don't worry if you don't need to buy anything straight away - just click on the link to follow us now and you'll get the discount coupon regardless. Use it soon or pass it onto your colleagues, if you like you can gift-wrap it and give it to your mum if you think she's short on varnish for cryogenic wiring - just make sure it gets used because we can't keep on giving stuff away like this for ever.
Posted by in CMR-Direct News on Jun 05, 2012 .

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GE Varnish - for cryogenic heatsinking (100mL pot size)
  • GE Varnish traditionally used to thermally anchor wires at cryogenic temperatures (100ml pot)
  • Dissolves in ethanol
  • Curable at room tempertaure or 70 degrees celsius
  • (also known as IMI 7031, GE 7031 or VGE 7031)
  • This size only for shipping by road within mainland europe - for airmail shipping outside of this area we offer 25mL pot size

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