If a Store is Good, People Will Find it

treasure-mapUnfortunately, a lot of Internet marketing is about tricking the shopper. What do I mean? I’ve been attending Internet marking conferences since the beginning days of the World Wide Web. VillageHatShop.com launched in the first half of 1997. At that time, we had been in the hat business for 17 years. It did not take long before the marketing people (as opposed to online shoppers and merchants) began to control the shopping experience. How fundamentally well you practiced the art of retail – e.g. selling great products that are fairly priced, responding quickly and appropriately to the needs of one’s customers, being a contributing member of the larger community, etc. – mattered less as time marched on. Getting in front of the shopper when he or she searched for your products online became a matter of big money spent on pay-per-click advertising and deconstructing the search engine optimization (SEO) formulas. Lesser quality businesses as well as posers, if they knew the marketing techniques, were going to get up into the shopper’s grill. Being good, we conference attendees were told (either tacitly or explicitly) was not enough. How sad.

We have bucked this cynical regime and continue to thrive (now in our 34th year). We believe that by being a good business, shoppers will find us. (Our mission is not to be the best online marketers, but rather to be the best hat merchant, both online and off.) Every year, gigantic businesses take over more real estate at the search engine results pages. Don’t be tricked. We suggest doing your homework; find the best merchants. If people take the time to spend their money wisely, we will survive. And if we don’t, we can sleep at night well knowing that while we were around, we were good.

About the author

Fred Belinsky Fred Belinsky is the president and founder of Village Hat Shop. You can find him on . Since 1980, Fred has traveled the world in search of headwear that delivers superior value to his customers. When VillageHatShop.com launched in 1997, it became the first website to allow shoppers the opportunity to buy hats online. Berets.com soon followed. In the 1970's, Fred was an educator in his home state of Michigan.

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