Sunday, January 6, 2013
What if your brand experienced a bit of a speed bump when it first opened on the internet? Maybe there were problems with your website, or with your shipping processes. A few years later, things are running smoothly, but you are plaqued by old reviews on the internet that never go away? What if customers were leery about ordering from you because you were half a world away?
Milanoo, a Chinese manufacturer, attempts to cut out the middleman and directly market to American consumers (and folks from other countries, for that matter.)  They sell mostly formal dresses and cosplay costumes. They have chosen to address old negative reviews, and to address the objections someone may have to ordering from the other side of the world with several other websites that support their main ordering site.

While some clothing makers choose to have a blog or a Facebook account, Milanoo strategized to place themselves squarely with the keywords that someone might be searching to find out about them. Milanoo Reviews has its own dedicated website, its own Milanoo Review Tumblr account where buyers mug for the camera.  Although some companies have scooped up the domain for a .org site in an effort to squeeze out anyone who wants to pretend to be their brand, I question the practice of the Milanoo Reviews .org site, as?org” suggests a nonprofit organization, but there is no real enforcement or formal rule. It appears on Tumblr, they are reposting photos from their Facebook account. The .net site combine pictures of customers using the products, stock photos, responses to customer communication, as well as a recent video of Milanoo staff celebrating Christmas to create familiarity.

If you think about it: Yes, a company name PLUS “reviews” is probably what Googlers and Bingsters are typing in when they are looking for information about the site. Certainly you have done the same when considering a relationship with a new company, and more so if you are ordering from overseas.

What can American makers learn from this? Here are a few things to consider: Stick to your Facebook campaigns, but consider that not all potential customers land on your Facebook page. Posts are only fresh in search for so long. Are general searches about your brand bringing your brand up in search results, or are you buried amid reseller sites and unrelated sites? SEO is important, but if another individual buys up your name, a reseller can use solid SEO practices and outrun you. Also, have you done anything lately to show that there are real people behind the slick site?

For myself, I do my best to buy clothing that is vintage, on consignment, or made in the USA (or from a country of origin is traditionally known for the item. It just doesn’t seem natural to buy American-made lederhosen. For most folks, buying an item made in China or elsewhere is something they do all the time. If Chinese clothing is so rampant, maybe there is something else, besides the obvious price factor, that can be use to regain a customer base. Maybe the real secret is that America doesn’t generate enough Cosplay costumes and buyers are forced overseas, so start sewing.

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