Saturday, March 11, 2006

It's midnight, do you know what your kids are Wooting?

Tonight's soliloquy is about (FAQ) and why they are the geniuses in interactive marketing and online retailing.

In the interest of time, I'm going to rush through the basic 411 about them without taking a breath...

::inhale:: They sell one item a day, just one. It starts at midnight central, and when it's sold out, nothing else gets sold that day. They sell random stuff from toasters to MP3 players, 5 bucks flat shipping on everything. There's a blog, a podcast, very active forums, a ridiculously simple purchase process and an overall silliness in everything they do and say that is unmatched this side of Strongbaaaad. ::gasp::

Whew, ok, got that? Now we move into some more advanced concepts. Here is what I've learned by observing Woot!.

  • Not Woot: Tell your consumers your products can do no wrong 100% of the time. Wonder why they stopped listening.
  • Woot!: Tell them you're selling them crap 5% of the time. They love you and even buy the 5%.
  • Not Woot: Filter all communications through PR, marketing and legal. Don't accomplish any communication.
  • Woot!: Become loved by your customers for having complete transparency into everything you do, such as:
    • Show how much revenue you make, when you make it and reveal KPIs (key performance indicators) to the entire world.
    • Point to posts in your own forums that bad-mouth the product or show Froogle price lists
    • Ask the consumer for advice, listen, then execute
  • Not Woot: Talk incessantly about your own perfect product and how everyone's life should gravitate toward it. Watch stock price gravitate towards earth.
  • Woot!: Write descriptions about products that rarely even mention the products themselves, run silly contests that build community and finally, let the customer know you care... but not that much, so they can get lost if they don't like it.
  • Not Woot: Conventions are practical and should be followed, it helps our stupid customers figure out what to do.
  • Woot!: Customers are people that appreciate simplicity but are not simple. Instead of
    • "Add to Shopping Cart", use "I want one"
    • "Shipping Address", use "Where should we send your stuff?".
    • "Personal Info", use "Who are you?"
I could go on but I'm hoping you see my point here. These guys are the masters are dealing with the empowered consumer. They know what people are sick of seeing out there and they have figured out a better approach.

Let's think about their accomplishment for a second. Think about all the choices we have today, think about the totally empowered consumer.... Woot! is able to take today's consumer and satisfy him/her with only one item a day. Just ONE! No, you don't get to pick a color or a size or anything. Just one. And yet the first-adopters of the Internet are going nuts for these guys.

I recommend following Woot! for a week and I guarantee that if you don't become a Wooter, you'll at least sense something refreshing about what they do. I talk a lot about open source marketing, about being transparent and partnering with consumers, these guys are doing it.

(For full disclosure: I am in no way associated with or know anyone that works there. This is just me really impressed by them. And umm, I bought a breadmaker 3 weeks ago from them. Sweet sweet bread in the morning, how I love thee.)

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