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|The home based biz, site contact info predicament|
This was touched on in a different thread, but it's something I've wrestled with for a while. I mainly run the biz from home. I do some of the heavy manufacturing work for my products at another space, but I do not own it... It belongs to someone else who lets me share it. So using that as a contact is a no go, because I wouldn't be there most of the time anyway.
Last year I took out a box at a PO nearby for my domain reg. I did it because I had some nut post all my whois info after somebody asked if anyone had purchased something from us and if they liked it. Why on earth somebody replied with my whois info, I have no idea. People are crazy. I also tried my actual address for a short time and had a few people come to the door. Between that and the whois incident, I just don't want my real address connected with the site.
The PO I got the box at is not close enough to be handy. The closer one has no boxes available. So because I don't have time to run over to the box, I have not used that address on the site. I didn't want to risk someone sending a payment and having it sit there. Plus, I sort of feel like... the paranoid types are not going to be happy with a PO anyway. In fact, it would probably just make them more suspicious.
I found a retail mail box store that offers a street address and also has a phone option where you can call and see if you have mail. About $20 a month. I'm thinking I might do that.
Then there's the situation with the phone number on a small biz site as well, but that's another deal.
Maybe people who make what they sell do things that people who sell ready-made don't do. I spend time doing research on historical formulae and methods and working out how I can make a product based on that. I write that info up as content and create those products, and that depth of information creates trust. Customers have told me over and over, "I could tell you knew what you were talking about."
It's true that any one of us can always improve our site's navigation or cart or even just the design. I have been told my site is old-fashioned, and it is. It's static html, the cart is stupid, there is no way to track an order, etc. But I am still here 12 years later, no evil eye. I work on those things when I get time. I will probably go back to using a PO Box when I get around to it. As it is, I am gradually removing the physical address from all labels and leaving just the name, url, and phone number.
Another difference that has to be taken into consideration when we talk about what's important to running an ecommerce biz is what was the reason why someone went into the business in the first place. I wanted to do something I was interested in and make a living from it. I didn't want to just make a living. I already had had the experience of having a business where I just sold a skill to make a living. I could write and I sold that skill but what I was hired to write about bored me silly. I got to hate it. I learned from that. For me, it is way more satisfying to be creative and to focus on that aspect of my business. That satisfaction has allowed me to keep my shop going, no evil eye, for 12 years and still be enjoying it a lot. It really makes me feel good to know that if anything, I enjoy my biz now even more than I did at the beginning. I wonder how many people can say that.
I would rather spend my time creating new products than diddling with the site. That can be seen as a fault, but I have found that new products bring repeat sales. And these customers are the ones who tell others about what they have bought from me. I have seen them post about my business on forums. They don't mention the site's appearance. What they commonly say is that I sell high quality stuff and that I know what I am talking about, so that people can trust what I create. For me, it's a matter of priorities--the more time I spend on the site, the less time I have to create new products--but it's also a matter of right here right now, taking pleasure in my work. That's a different focus, perhaps, than many others might have.
I do accept that there are many things I can do with the site to improve business. It is just not the top priority and it does not have to be. Because there are many things off the site that I can do to improve business. And that's what I'm doing.
Yeah, I agree with HR and I look at things in a similar way. It's not that I don't want to focus on the site. I just only have so much time. Honestly, I would love to sit in front of a computer all day. But this is the situation I have, so I have to make the best of it.
I opened the mail box and will add that to the site, and also put a number back up. So we'll see what happens next year when I compare the sales. :-)
I think the solution is, as you have mentioned it in the OP, to get a virtual address. There are a few who open up mail, scan and email it to you, and of course a virtual phone.
I had an office in 2010 which I signed up for, and ended up going about 3 times the whole year. What a waste of money that was. I couldn't cancel that because of a few other reasons.
Virtual office (something close to home maybe) + phone number, I think, is the answer.
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