Colette: Weíre speaking with Lisa Suttora of WhatDoISell.com about the latest product sourcing trends that affect your eBiz.
Colette: Lisa, whatís another trend that online retailers can be thinking about? Customization is a great one, but are there any others they should be considering now?
Lisa: Yes. Actually Colette, this is really what I call the second biggest trend influencer in 2008 and that is of technology in practical everyday items. Now, Iím not talking about computers or cell phones or PDAs or MP3 players or whatever. This is a technology trend that is affecting everyday products from as basic to the simple toothbrush or a plush animal. So I have examples of the old versions and the new versions.
Colette: Iíve got my ears perked.
Lisa: Okay, so the old version is a photo frame where it was just a square photo frame, wood, cost $13, $14, you can buy them anywhere, any drugstore, right? The new version is a digital photo frame that has a printer, a small digital printer attached to the back of it that spits out printed photographs if somebody wants a copy of it.
Colette: Wow, thatís really neat.
Lisa: Yes. Now, they sell for quite a bit more, as you can imagine. Now, thereís another photo frame where you can actually play music. There are speakers in the photo frame. You know how when you look at photos and thereís the right music, it gets you all teary-eyed and moves you?
Lisa: Well, theyíve invented the technology to do this with a photo frame. Now, you know the alarm clock that hits the metal bell and you go flying out of the bed and you hit the ceiling and you just hate waking up to it every morning?
Colette: (Laughter) Yes.
Lisa: Okay, those are gone because with technology weíve got alarm clocks now that simulate the sunrise in your bedroom. Weíve got alarm clock watches that measure your sleep cycles and wake you up during your lightest sleep cycle. Weíve got alarm clocks that use aromatherapy to wake you up, and alarm clocks that use music and sound, both to put you to sleep and wake you up. So the basic $9.99 metal alarm clock has now evolved into a very deluxe product.
Hereís another one: in Florida there are a lot of swimming pools and kind of the traditional thing to use in the swimming pool is the net to skim the leaves and stuff off the top. At least thatís what we use here in Seattle, for all three people who have outdoor swimming pools. Technology steps in again and theyíve invented a remote control robotic pool skimmer that cleans your pool while you sit on the side of the pool drinking your lemonade and then you go in for a dip.
Colette: Oh, I think Iíve just found my Valentineís Day gift for my husband.
Lisa: (Laughter) I know you are outfitting your new home, yeah. Well, and you can also give him, in case you guys are looking for a pet, this holiday season, Pleo, that dinosaur, was a really big hit, but what we found was that was a little bit off for some of the kids, so now there are companies that are coming out with soft, cuddly robopets, like lion cubs. And they have like realistic fur and animated faces and lifelike reactions and if you pick them up by the scruff of the neck they literally go limp like a real pet would, a little kitty or lion cub. So instead of your child having just the basic plush animal they will possibly by looking for the robopet.
Colette: Have that whole interaction with them. This sounds like a trend that could influence every product category. Is it something that eBiz owners should be on the lookout for?
Lisa: Yeah, absolutely. As we talked about with customization you want to call our suppliers or future suppliers and you want to ask them, do you have technology enhanced versions of these products coming out? You need to ask them whatís in the pipeline, because they know, of course, 16, 18, 24 months in advance whatís coming down the pipeline. So you want to be first in line to start marketing those products. And another is when youíre selling these products you really need to play up that this is new, this is cutting edge, this is on the forefront. You donít want to just stick it on your website, because a lot of consumers donít know about these products yet, the manufacturers are just now educating them.
Colette: And this is where video becomes a great tool as well.
Colette: We were talking about the interaction with the product. Put some video up there of the actual toy working. A picture is worth a thousand words, video is even worth more.
Lisa: Well it is. And there is also a robotic lawn mower and there was a great video on the web that a homeowner did, and heís not even selling it, he just did it because he thought it was so cool, of this robotic lawn mower mowing his grass. Now, talk about a sales tool.
Colette: Yeah, definitely. Iím going to have to go check that one out too (laughter).
Colette: Youíre giving me too many great ideas here.
Lisa: Iím spending all your money, I like that (laughter).
Colette: Yeah, isnít it great to spend somebody elseís money?
Colette: Now, I was surprised to see this next trend on the list, because I donít think of it as being a product, but you say it very much is a product.
Lisa: Yes it is a product. This is a really important thing. The trend weíre talking about is the trend of trust and promoting trust as a product in your eBiz, in your website, in your store. Trust is really, when a customer comes to buy something from you the first thing they have in their mind is do you have the product they want, but also, can they trust you as an independent retailer. If youíre selling a $900 robotic lawn mower and your customer isnít trusting you to make that purchase from you, you can do all the product sourcing you want and do all your due diligence, but if they donít trust that you are a responsible legitimate retailer theyíre not going to buy from you. And unfortunately, this is where I see it break down for a lot of home-based business owners. They know theyíre trustworthy, they know theyíre good people, and they just assume that their customers know that. But you canít approach it that way. You have to proactively, and I mean lat it on thick, let them know that you are trustworthy. That if youíve got certifications from the credit card companies that process your payments, if youíre a member of the Better Business Bureau, whatever you can do to let people know who you are and that you are a trustworthy retailer. That is going to go a long way to promoting your sales. And weíre seeing more and more buyers are very sophisticated online and the more mainstream buyers actually are the more skeptical buyers because they are more leery of this whole wild west internet. So you really need to go out of your way to be proactive and clear and promote why you are legitimate.
Colette: And itís a continuous process.
Lisa: It is.
Colette: Even with worldwidebrands.com we do a lot with eBay, we do a lot with Entrepreneur, but still itís a continuous process that we go out there and give that information to build that trust with our customers and keep it.
Lisa: There are some studies out there that show if a company earns a customerís trust the first time, 42% will buy more products from that same company. And over 54% will recommend that product to others. But, if a company loses the trust of a customer, 3 out of 4, 76%, say that they will just stop buying altogether from that company. Another thing is women, statistically in these studies that have been done, believe that trust is an essential quality in the companies they buy from.
Colette: I can definitely believe that.
Lisa: Yeah. I mean, 56% of females cite this is an important aspect of purchasing online versus 47% of men. But almost 86% of all retail buying decisions are either made by women or influenced by women. So if youíre an online retailer and youíre ignoring the fact that women want to be able to trust you, boy, youíre missing the boat, because they will go somewhere else. And one of the things that Worldwide Brands does really well is you guys have a photograph of the entire team on your website. You have descriptions, bios of everyone who is a part of Worldwide Brands. So the first thing people will do is they will come and say, who is this company, who is Chris, who is Robin, who is Colette? And they see your pictures and they see the bios and they know who you are. Every retailer should do that and spend time on that. Having a 2-line bio that says, we sell products and weíre in Ohio and weíll give you good customer service just doesnít to anything for the customers.
Colette: You make so many great comments. When you look at the innovation in new consumer products itís easy to see that 2008 will bring a whole new slew of products into the marketplace. Lisa, where can people go if they want to find out more information about some of these product trends that youíve been referring to for 2008?
Lisa: Colette, Iíve put together a product trend 2008 special report and it is free to all of our listeners today and they can find it at www.producttrends2008.com. And in it theyíll find ten trends that are going to define the landscape of online retailing in 2008.
Colette: And weíve also, Lisa and Worldwide Brands, are actually working together on a new ebook thatís going to come out soon, itís going to be very interesting, on some more trends that you can think about for 2008.
Lisa: Yes, ten new trends.
Colette: So check out worldwidebrands.com in the coming weeks and youíll get more information about that.
Lisa: And Colette, you and I are doing a workshop, an eBay workshop.
Lisa: About product trends and product sourcing and how to take those trends and source your products. Weíre doing that for eBay.
Colette: Yep, on March 6th.
Colette: So definitely mark your calendars or you can just check out our upcoming events calendar on worldwidebrands.com for all those details as well. Well Lisa, itís been wonderful to have you on the show. I believe we have one other thing that you wanted to quickly get in there. I believe you have some new twists and turns on products in the marketplace that we can be thinking of as sellers?
Lisa: Yes, absolutely. I always find some unique little niches that are up and coming and hereís one that Iíve been actually digging up some information on. Do you remember the terrarium? Terrariums used to be really, really popular many years ago.
Colette: Making me feel old here, Lisa (laughter).
Lisa: Okay. Well, check this out, terrariums are back and bigger and better and more expensive and more deluxe than ever. There is a huge trend towards indoor gardening, especially for city dwellers who are in apartments and condos who donít have that outdoor space. Iíve been reading a lot about terrariums coming back very big and very strong, something that people can add to their product line if they have a home dťcor store or a gardening store.
Colette: Even craft stores. Creating the terrariums is actually quite simple as I remember learning how to create them. But itís a great idea to add to your craft store.
Lisa: Exactly and doing a kit as well, terrarium kits are also big. Weíre also seeing one of the biggest categories, and this is for people who are going to Toy Fair 2008 in February. Thereís a huge, huge trend towards two things: arts and crafts kits and also board games. Arts and crafts kits are the #1 toy, if you will, for girls going into 2008. And for kids of all ages, adults and kids, board games are also seeing a huge resurgence, but thereís a whole new slew of board games with twists on old favorites and tons of new games, reality based games where kids try to figure out real life situations or they deal with real life money situations, kind of a spin off of reality shows. Those board games are going to be really, really big. And Toy Fair is coming up here the 23rd, I think. So those are two trends for those people who are sourcing products for holidays to start thinking about now in February.
Colette: Well Lisa, thank you so much. That is our time today with Lisa Suttora of WhatDoISell.com. Thank you so much for being here once again with all your wonderful tips and trending.
Lisa: Great to be here Colette.
Colette: Coming up next, our Product Source of the Week segment, when Product Sourcing Radio continues. Iím Colette Marshall.