Ladies and gents, I´d like to introduce you to Jim Novo, a man who can pack more into a single sentence than most people can say in 10 graphs. One fan of Novo describes him like this: "From a hard-core marketing perspective, there is no one I know who is smarter about using data and customer service/customer awareness to drive small business than Jim Novo. He is a genius at customer targeting and customer valuation, who now applies his skills toward online marketing for small (and big) businesses."
I was intrigued by this endorsement, and so I checked Novo´s Web site. I was amazed and overwhelmed at the wealth of information I found. He must run at 80 mph constantly, I thought. Then, I called Jim Novo and discovered that I was wrong. He runs closer to 100.
After saying our hellos, we plunged right into online retailing, which has gotten much easier in recent years, according to Novo. "I think there´s potentially a audience of people who (once) looked at it and thought, "Well, I just can´t do this myself. I would have to hire an IT guy.´ "
That may have been the case a few years ago, Novo says, but not anymore. Not only is it easier now to set up an online "store," it´s also cheaper.
"There are so many more people doing it, so you have more volume, and the software that used to be considered highly specialized and kind of exotic and all that is just really simple now," he says. "It´s like cut-and-paste kind of stuff." You can build an online store quite easily by using, to name one example, Yahoo.
"It´s like a wizard type thing," says Novo. "In this box, type the name of your item. In this box, type the description of your item. And then, click this button to upload a picture of your item. And that´s it. They take care of all the stuff that used to be very difficult. Things like credit clearing."
The best thing about these types of stores, he says, is that they allow a merchant to ease into online selling. You can start simply and inexpensively and then get progressively more sophisticated as you go along and as your business grows.
"The good thing about these stores," Novo says, "is that they get a lot of traffic from people who are actively looking for merchandise. So you learn what items work and which ones don´t. You learn how to write descriptions that compel people to buy. The downside is that there are charges — processing charges and monthly fees, but they aren´t very big."
We´ll hear more from Jim Novo in the next Retail Strategies post, when he talks about regular customers and shipping software. Stay tuned.