A while back I wrote this blog post about having a business address that helps add legitimacy to your home-based business.
Yesterday that sort of backfired on us because a customer showed up at our business address. As you may have guessed from that blog post, our business address is a UPS store! Imagine the surprise on the UPS Store clerk’s face when the woman walked in and asked to see one our products. Fortunately, the UPS Store clerk was quick thinking and he also has my cell phone number. Not so fortunately, I was on the other end of town and could not come in to meet with her in any reasonable time.
But I did have the clerk put her on the phone and gave her my usual spiel about the fact that we are a web-based business, have no actual physical storefront, and ship from multiple supplier warehouses. I then offered to have the product expedited for her, but she said she really wanted to see the product first. OK, that was fine, sometimes you just have to touch it and there is really no substitute for that requirement when it exists. So I gave her the name of a physical retail store nearby where she could go see the product.
This caused me to go back to our website for that product line and review it for any misleading copy that might have made this person think we had a storefront. Couldn’t find anything except possibly the address itself which gave the box number as “#”. The address is listed in small font on the page footer and also in prominent font on the Contact page.
We sometimes get called or emailed by local customers asking if they can come in and pick up a product. (They want to save on shipping). It’s on the call (or email) that we usually give the spiel about the website, but this is the first time I know of that someone has actually showed up. So at this point, I will treat this as an isolated event and not make any changes. The web is continuing to change the way a lot of people shop, but not everyone has made that paradigm shift yet. I suppose it will take some time for some consumers to become aware that there is a web business model out there.