I work with a variety of different companies on business blogging strategies, but almost all of them are focused on how to get their message into their marketplace, rather than selling specific products or services. But there’s really no reason that a weblog couldn’t be used as a storefront, and with one of my clients, Waldorf in the Home, we’ve experimented with doing just that, as exemplified by the Waldorf in the Home Online Store.
The introductory section is obviously unique to this area of the site (and yes, it’s dynamically generated so that new blog entries cause the intro listing to change too). You can see the more traditional blog view of things by going to the blog store categories, like Online Store: Parenting.
Now I’m helping my sister out with her splendid Art Dolls.info site and she’s moving from just talking about how to make soft sculpture art dolls to actually selling them, based on reader demand.
My question is: who is doing innovative work in this area and what models are out there to help guide us in taking yet a further step towards what I’ll call blogstores (since everyone seems to love inventing jargon)?
To me, this is a logical evolutionary step in blogging. Most companies that have online sites either have catalog based software backends that are highly structured but expensive, or have everything built by hand, making it prohibitively difficult to add new products or services on a daily or weekly basis.
Blogging, of course, solves these sort of content management difficulties by allowing you to focus on the content, on what you want to say (or sell, in this case), rather than worrying about how it’s going to be formatted and displayed.
Admittedly, the features of a high-end catalog or online shop management system, features like cross-selling and up-selling, aren’t going to be easily rolled into a blogging backend, but I believe that there are many hobbyists and small businesses that could benefit from being able to use their blogging tool as a comprehensive backend for their store, main Web pages and more traditional weblog areas.
Back to my sister’s site, here’s the first doll she’s selling:
The first doll for sale at the Art Dolls site, as written up and displayed at Dasselrond Needs a New Home, is on a page that seems very busy. It’s very “bloggy” with all the recent postings, categories, archives, Google ads, etc., and probably isn’t the most effective presentation of something for sale.
What do you think of that page, though? Do you like narrative descriptions of products? Should the images be at the top of the entry? Should there be “buy now” buttons like you see at the Waldorf in the Home site?
The blogging system underlying Art Dolls is a piece of clay ready to be molded into whatever shape we want, so I’d be interested in your thoughts independent of whether they’re blog-centric or not. If we need to strip out all the extraneous material and just have the dolls for sale with their narrative descriptions and buy buttons, we can do that.
Thanks for your help, dear reader, and if you want to help Dasselrond find a new home, don’t hesitate to act quickly. He’s a beauty!