Small Business Trends Radio

The Future of Media, of Information, and Online Purchasing

This weekend I had the chance to sit at the feet of Brent Bozell, who runs the Media Research Center. He spoke on new media and reported that the future of news and information will be delivered through broad-band. Old mainstream media are dinosaurs, and at least one — CBS? will be out of business within a decade. Brent reminded us that most everything we need, we will get online.

And it’s not just our news and entertainment that we will get. We will get our stuff. Our merchandise. We will do our shopping online.

Jordan Williams writes New On Line Shopping Trends in Webpro.com:

The Department of Commerce recently stated that the total eCommerce sales for 2005 were $86.3 billion and that is an increase of 24 percent over 2004. A 24 percent increase in one year for people that are making online purchases!

Charmaine, the wife of Your Business Blogger, is a case study on Jordan’s post. We were replacing our elliptical trainer. She researched products online. And found an interesting company — and believable testimonials.

So we bought the Smooth Fitness piece of hardware last month. One of the benefits of the online company was follow-up and attention to detail — even though this was not a face-to-face relationship.

Recently, I received a follow-up phone call from the Smooth Fitness Director of Customer Experience, Keith Menear. We talked about the terrific Smooth Fitness CE 3.2 Elliptical Trainer machinery, my smooth online purchasing experience, the constant follow-up and Smooth Fitness touches.

Actually, Keith let me do all the talking, which is how I prefer to do business anyway. I subtly let on how I am a world famous, very influential blogger.

Keith brightens audibly — I could see the light coming through the cell phone, “Are you the Purple Cow guy?”

I tense up, “What?”

“You know,” says Keith, smiling. “The blogger who wrote Purple Cow?”

“Who?”

Keith is excited, “Yes, the staff let me know this author…”

“–Never heard of him–”

“…who just bought one of our ellipticals.”

Time to surrender. “Oh, I guess you mean that struggling marketer, Seth Godin.”

“Yes, that’s him! The staff is psyched — Seth Godin just placed an order.”

“Well, I guess he has some name recognition…would be great for your business…?”

Keith is floating off his Aeron. “Right, I hear he’s quite a superstar.”

“I suppose…well, this is nice Keith. Now, what can I do for you?”

Keith pauses, distracted. “What was your name again…?”

[sigh]

In any event, customer service was outstanding. The Dude, a pre-teen in my Penta-Posse, read the directions (something I’ve never done before), followed the directions (something I’ve never asked for) and completed the assembly and had me working out in an hour. Silent and smooth as silk. Proving Seth Godin was right about marketers being liars. Or wrong.

Your Business Blogger has very simple tastes; the best in everything. I have noticed, however, a near fatal flaw in the Smooth Fitness product. Shared unfortunately, with my old Mercedes: there is no place for a coffee cup. (The only thing that ever had a cupholder was my computer…)

And please understand that Smooth Fitness products are frightfully expensive. And worth every dime.

And that’s no lie.

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This is an unpaid endorsement.

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