Thursday, March 29, 2012

Being kind in business. Is it a lost art?

Ellen DeGeneres always ends her show with the upbeat sentiment "be kind to one another."  Today, I found myself thinking wouldn't that be nice?  Wouldn't it be great if we all thought about our actions and how they affect other people or even small businesses?  Maybe you wouldn't get it right 100% of the time, but isn't this the one instance where you should strive for perfection?  "Be kind to one another."  Those words almost have an Americana/goody two-shoes/aw shucks/ Leave It To Beaver quality these days- don't they?   And yet, perhaps if we all tried extra hard to get it right most of the time by respecting each others' [space, time, resources, feelings, decisions...) we could add it all together and get a better average?

Who says being good has to go out of style?  This look sure hasn't!
The Flying Nun
As I transitioned through closing the brick and mortar store and into an online business I find myself asking the Universe more and more "what is this [email/ instance/ interaction...etc.] trying to teach me?"  As an "online store" I am seen as a BIG BAD ONLINE RETAILER.  And, yet, for those who know me and loved the physical store, it's still just little ol' Bobbin's Nest Studio.  Orders are filled by myself or Amy.  99.9% of the work is done by the two of us, the 0.1% is when we cave and call tech support.  She and I built the online store from the ground up last year and I have built the business-at-large over 6 years (if you count the year I took to write the business plan and find the location).

They love us!  We love them!  You should too!

I'd like to put out there for the world to see where your money goes when you spend it with Bobbin's Nest Studio....

Say, for example, you buy a $6 pair of needles and you got free shipping because (yay!) with us, orders under $10 ship for free- OK?

  $6.00 Order Total
- $3.10 is what I paid for the needles, including the shipping from the needle company
- $1.00 is for the padded envelope, baggie, tissue, label, business card, receipt, etc.
- $1.50 is for the First Class Mail stamp to ship the order to you
  $0.40 total and that doesn't include the time it took to package it, process it or walk to the post office.

Now, granted, I'm probably going to the post office anyway and let's face it, it's the end of the day and I could use the walk.  Plus, knowing me, I grabbed a cuppa coffee on the way back so I contributed to the City Lights Espresso kid's college funds, so I'm helping America's youth-right?

Now, let's use a different example.  You ordered a $6 pair of needles and said, "whee!  Free shipping!" and so you placed a second order for another pair of needles within 24 hours thinking they would be shipped for free in two shipments.  You're smart, you know where I am going with this, don't you?  Can I add the two orders together ($12) and ask you to pay our low rate of $6 shipping?  Yes, I can.  And here's why...

We're being nice as it is.  When we ask you to pay $6 in shipping, the $6 really goes to shipping because we send those packages USPS Priority Mail, which means you get your order in 2-3 business days AND there's a tracking number in case it goes missing.  We aren't Zappos or Amazon and we can't afford to offer free shipping all the time, unless:
A.  We mark our stuff up sky high so you think you're saving money by getting discounts and free shipping; or
B.  we want to be in the business of selling cheap stuff, which let's face it, that's not the way we roll; or
C.  we operate in this manner until we can't.  We want to stay in business, and let's face it, you want us to too!

We aren't BIG...yet.  We'll get there, but right now, we are in a growing phase.  This, being our first foray in the online business world, we are doing the best we can.  We are working out the kinks in the online store and trust me, there have been MANY.

Looks just like me, doesn't it?
The Sound of Music
I promise you this (and my word is good, very good.  Think Sound of Music singin' on a hilltop good) I will never be a BIG BAD ONLINE RETAILER, no matter how big we get.  Ever.  It's just not me.  I put you first because that's how I would like to be treated.

Be kind to one another.  That's how I roll and I ask you to do the same. Pin It

1 comment:

Carole said...

Nice post. You might like this Wordsworth quote about little acts of kindness. Carole's Chatter blogspot Acts of Kindness