FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Ecommerce Economic Defense Initiative Awards Over $60,000 in Prizes
The Ecommerce Economic Defense Initiative (EEDI) will award two separate ecommerce service grants in 2012 – each worth more than $30,000 – in their first-ever ecommerce grant competition.
Rochester, MI – Brand Labs – a studio specializing in ecommerce design, marketing, development and programming – has gathered together an alliance of online professionals with the proclaimed goal of “rescuing” the struggling economy by “utilizing the power of ecommerce.” The assembled group is called the Ecommerce Economic Defense Initiative (or the EEDI).
Google is, at this very moment, holding their annual developers’ conference, which would be big enough news, but they also used the opportunity to introduce their new tablet computer, the Nexus 7 and the odd, spherical media hub called the Nexus Q. Google’s entry into the tablet game has been a long time coming, so tech nerds from across the globe were glued to their livestreaming feeds to catch a glimpse – and they also got a glimpse of something else: Brand Labs’ ability to stay way, waaaaay ahead of the curve.
In order to demonstrate the Nexus 7′s media-playing abilities, Google chose the new album, Coastlines by Detroit band, FAWN. They even played some of All The Lights, the first track on the album. Now if the name FAWN sounds familiar to you, it may be because they were featured on Brand Labs’ only foray into musical & scientific self-promotion – the Audiosonic Identiglyph.
The Audiosonic Identiglyph was created as a universal geolocation system that would allow any user armed with a simple phonograph (or “record player”) and a basic, functional knowledge of the Goertzel algorithm and global cartography to be able to locate Brand Labs’ corporate offices with some degree of accuracy.
The Audiosonic Identiglyph featured Hip Parade by FAWN on the B-Side and was released in a star-studded brunch gala at Detroit’s very own Steak Hut. (If you’re ever in town, we strongly recommend Gus’s homemade hash browns, which are like little greasy slices of starch heaven.)
So, anyway, the point is that Google is totally on Brand Labs’ jock. There. We said it. We had FAWN first. Your move, Google. Bring it.
Also, if you want to catch FAWN, you can do so at the CBGB Festival in NYC from July 5-8. It’ll be worth the effort. Brand Labs says so… and now so does Google. What more do you need?
That’s right – Brand Labs will be exhibiting at the Internet Retailer Conference & Exhibition 2012 at McCormick Place West in Chicago, Illinois! We’ll be in booth #1133 right next door to our besties, Volusion. Our biggest bigwigs, Kevin Harman and Dane Downer will be in attendance along with senior account managers Katelyn Stanis and Ryan Forrest. They’ll be working the booth all day and the dance floor all night. You should definitely drop by if you’re looking for some high-quality ecommerce knowledge or some wicked sick dubstep.
Also in attendance will be Pauline Turner, our creative director. She’ll be roaming the show floor and attending conferences as part of the Ecommerce Economic Defense Initiative street team. She’ll be accompanied by an impossibly large hippie who may or may not be some sort of ex-convict that we hired as a temp off of craigslist. If you see them, be sure to ask for the official EEDI swag that they’ll be handing out.
So if you’re an existing customer, but we’ve never met in person, come to booth 1133 and say hi! If you’re not a customer yet, come by to find out why you should be. As a matter of fact, no matter who you are you should stop by! We can tell you about the huge contest we’re about to launch. It’s really huge. Like change-the-course-of-your-business huge. It’s worth your time.
… and if you see the giant hippie, don’t look him directly in the eyes.
Brand Labs is about a lot of things, but our real bread & butter is custom ecommerce development. Yes, we design Volusion sites. Yes, we build ecommerce apps. We do a lot of things for a lot of online merchants, but custom development is the one thing we do that gives our clients an undeniable edge. We say “undeniable” because when your store has something that your competitors don’t have, you’re ahead of the game before the shoppers even arrive. By definition, you’re more prepared to serve their needs. You’re more prepared to earn their trust. You’re more prepared to win.
… but maybe you don’t think you need custom development on your site. After all, Volusion does a good job of providing a feature-rich platform. Why not just do what you can with what you’ve got? Well, off the top of our heads, we can think of ten reasons…
- You’re unique.
No matter what Volusion introduces, they don’t know you personally. They don’t know the exact thing that you need to express your individuality properly. They don’t know your particular value proposition. That’s not a failing on their part, it’s simply a fact. You are uniquely qualified to identify your store’s specific needs and to act on those needs.
- You’re not doing everything you can with your Volusion store. You know that smart phone in your pocket? You’re currently using about 4% of its total capabilities (we may have just made that figure up). That phone can do amazing things and you’re using it primarily to text people that you’re running late. Your Volusion store is like that. It can do amazing things that you’re currently not using. Are you using the Deal of the Day function? Is your mobile store set up properly? Are you doing everything that Volusion allows you to do out of the box? Probably not. So, if we may continue to use the smart phone comparison: even though your phone is capable of doing a lot of things that you aren’t using, you still paid extra to download Angry Birds because it was a specific need that you were able to identify and address (i.e. your deep need to throw birds at pigs). Custom development is like that. You should definitely try to use all of the great functionality that’s built right in to Volusion, but just because you’re not, that doesn’t mean that you can’t add some features of your own. Custom development for your Volusion store is just like apps for your iPhone.
- You’ve got ideas.
Just because we’re ecommerce experts (and Volusion is filled with ecommerce experts), that doesn’t mean that we (or they) have thought up every single thing than could ever possibly be thunk. You have insight. You have a plan. You know things about your business that we don’t, but we definitely know how to act on your ideas. Don’t let your ideas die in your head.
- You’re probably right.
You know that one thing that you think you know better than anyone else? That one annoying thing that seems so simple and would make your life as an ecommerce merchant so much easier? Or make your store more successful? You’re probably right. Why not fix it instead of just letting it drive you insane?
Read the rest of the list after the jump… (more…)
If you’re reading this, you’re looking at our freshly-redesigned, Volusion-centric ecommerce blog (unless you’re using some sort of aggregating iPad app or seeing this on our Facebook wall, in which case you’re probably going to be cut off any second when we hit the end of the excerpt and if that’s true, we humbly request that you click through to the actual blog which you clearly have by now because there are no excerpts that go on this long, so at this point we’re just going to go ahead and continue.)
Anyhoo, welcome to our new blog! We’ve been a little preoccupied with the new site launch, so we have a lot of catching up to do. Keep an eye on this space to see what we’ve been up to since we last spoke. In the days ahead, we’ll be telling you about our new app (yes – another app), our latest custom Volusion development and all of our new Volusion site designs. Speaking of new sites…
Our new blog isn’t the only new thing in town. We’ve also completely redesigned our website. It’s sleeker, smarter and loaded with beautiful examples of all of our best and latest design work. We’re pretty dang proud of it and we hope that you’ll take a couple of minutes to check it out.
On the internal side, we’d like to thank everyone in design, development, marketing and project management – basically the whole team – for pitching in to make the new site happen. You’re all simply fantastic!
Now go – enjoy the new site.
You’re an ecommerce merchant. Let’s say that your store has been up and running for a while. Let’s also say that it’s doing well. Of course, it may not be doing as well as you’d like, but if that’s the case, you sure don’t need a list of reasons to reexamine your site. If your store isn’t doing what you’d like it to do, you should be going over it with a fine-toothed comb. On the other hand, if your store is doing well, it’s easy to get complacent. If you fall into that group, this article is for you.
We’ve said it a bazillion times: a website is a living thing. You have to nurture it – help it grow. If you neglect it, it’ll die… or worse. It’ll grow beyond your control until it’s a huge, rambling jumble of awkward navigation, dead ends and baffling content. Still unconvinced? Check out the list for the scolding you so richly deserve.
Read the rest after the jump…
As a part of our continuing effort to make the custom Volusion development process more transparent (and therefore, less intimidating) we offer this Custom Volusion Programming RFQ Workflow.
In case you’re unfamiliar with the acronym, RFQ stands for “Request for Quote”. It’s the process that you’ll go through when you come to us with a custom programming need for your Volusion store. Of course, every need is as unique as the website it’s attached to, so there will be differences between what you experience and what you see here, but if you’ve never gone through the custom programming quoting process, this will give you a general idea of what to expect.
The most important part of this entire process is in the big fat circle in the upper left corner of the chart. That’s the conversation (or series of conversations) that you’ll have with your account manager before the project moves an inch. We know a lot about ecommerce and we want to know a lot about your business before we start any custom Volusion development project. We want that info so that we can look at every possible solution available to you. You may well have an idea of what you’d like to do, but it’s more important for us to know what you’d like to achieve. If we know and understand your end goal(s) we can explore solutions that may not have occurred to you. We want to solve your problem in the best possible way, even if we have to build the solution from scratch.
So, if you’re considering taking on a custom Volusion project, we’d like to help… and now you know how we plan to do it. Of course this chart can’t answer all of your questions, but we can.
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: the online market is a very competitive place. It’s not a brilliant or deeply insightful observation, but it’s a critical one and you don’t want to ignore it. If you know that it’s a battlefield out there, then you owe it to yourself to exploit every available advantage. Which brings us (as it so often does) to the topic of branding.
We build Volusion templates that build your brand. There’s a handy example right here – WhoAreYaDesigns.com. This nostalgic and beautiful template design speaks volumes about Who Are Ya and their self-proclaimed dedication to soccer fans who are “in the know”. This is a brand that’s about the history of soccer (football, for those in the know) – the feeling of it. This is a brand that inspires dedication. This is a brand that sells.
So while you’re marketing and tweaking your SEO, don’t forget to give a little love to the first thing your customers see: your brand.
In yet another stop on Brand Labs’ Fixing-The-World-One-Website-At-A-Time Tour, you can currently find us in booth 2481 at the Medical Design & Manufacturing Expo in Chicago!
We’re not just spreading the word about the wonders of ecommerce. We’re luring manufacturers to the magical world of Direct-to-Consumer communication. Whether you’re targeting the wholesale market or the retail market, Brand Labs can help.
Manufacturing, wholesale, retail – D2C or lead generation… it’s all about commerce and so are we. So, if you happen to be in Chicago and you’re looking for innovative and exciting ways to talk to your customers, stop by booth 2481 at the MD&M Expo.
… man. We really wanted to make a joke about playing doctor here, but we decided that it was way too unprofessional, so we’re not going to.
… but it’s killing us.
Our clients have a wide range of needs. Of course we serve a lot of straight-up, retail, direct-to-consumer emerchants, but we also work with online businesses that sell digital products, gather sales leads or schedule services. These sorts of specialized business models call for some specialized website functionality. Take, for example, Shore Excursions Group…
Shore Excursions Group is one of our oldest clients and their site is like a mini custom Volusion development portfolio for us. We’ve added all sorts of specialized software to allow SEG to become the market leader in the wide world of cruise ship side trips. The latest addition is an automated expedite fee generator.
The software is brilliant in its simplicity. It detects any instance of late excursion booking (within three days of the event) and it adds an expedite fee to the customer’s total. If the customer tries to remove the fee, the software adds it back in. It’s just this sort of big-picture, end-to-end transaction simplicity that builds credibility while it builds your bottom line.