Blogging For business
A community of business-savvy bloggers is emerging. And they are here to stay.
• Personal shopper service
So, I use Blogger and Facebook to disseminate news to the public.”Although there are challenges that come with doing an online business, Haniza prefers to look on the positive side.“The best benefits are that the tools are free oravailable at a low cost and that I can sell the items to anyone or anywhere without being stuck in a brick-and-mortar environment. “The online payment system is also secure and reliable,” she explains. Going forward, Haniza plans to set up a real online store.•
Wizcakes is the primary medium Fawiza uses to market her wares to the public. She actually has two blogs.“Wizcakes is basically a presentation of some of my work enclosed with details such as price and description, testimonials from customers and an e-mail address for people to place their orders. The other (inawhiz.blogspot.com) is more of my cake journal – the stories behind the finished product,” she says.Through her postings and word of mouth, Wizcakes has recorded a significant increase in sales by five-fold since it started. “The challenge is probably the limitation of the features offered in this free service. The other challenge is my lack of computer know-how,” she says.Fawiza plans to continue writing and sharing her thoughts, cakes and stories through the blogs.• Sarawak craft and foodWhat began as an experiment for 26-year-old Mohammad Firdaus Othman turned out to be quite a success. His venture in selling craft from Sarawak online, as featured in his blog Puakumbu-shop (puakumbu-shop.blogspot.com), in May last year is drawing encouraging sales.
Dazzling Daffodils (dazzlingdaffodils.blogspot.com) sells clothes online. If everything goes according to plan, the online boutique could soon have a physical presence in one of the shopping malls in Kuala Lumpur. “The (online) boutique has been around for only three to four months and the response has been quite good. I am quite optimistic about this business and hope it will grow further,” says proprietor and blog owner Joanne Looi.Ipoh-born Looi, 25, is currently pursuing a Master’s degree at a local university.
Cats Whiskers Malaysia (catswhiskersmalaysia.blogspot.com) is a boutique with physical presence in five locations around the Klang Valley. Headquartered in Petaling Jaya, the business is run by three women who are all in their 30s.The blog plays a supplementary role in the business. “It basically features weekly newsletter which we e-mail to our customers. It shows our products and pricing, and customers can opt to order online if they are unable to visit our stores,” says partner Lim Siew Peng.
Through the blog, Cats Whiskers aims to target customers outside of Klang Valley as they offer delivery at a minimal cost.The most challenging thing about running a business blog, Lim says, is it requires the partners to be innovative, creative, flexible and intuitive to find out what works and what brings in the sales. “The other challenge is finding ways to engage customers on a routine basis and providing interesting content that will make them want to come back and tell others about it. If they are a bloggers themselves, we hope that they will link it to their blog,” Lim adds. Cats Whiskers hopes to expand the online sales and maybe offer payment facilities (such as credit card, paypall, tie-up with local banks).
Trend fast catching onRozana SaniBUSINESS blogging is catching on in Malaysia, as observed by online fashion e-zine Emmagem.com.And the opportunities are endless, says the e-zine founder and editor Tan Yet Mee. This is because Malaysians, especially Gen Yers (the Net generation), are now used to purchasing online.“I think a blog to help a business is very important these days. Blogging allows for direct and current information about the products, plus consumers can communicate directly with comments and get an immediate reply. “The setback is that a blog needs constant updating to be successful and responsive, or it will share the same fate as helplines, which do not give adequate information. And the backlash can be immense if a mistake is made,” she explains.
Dos and don’ts Dos:- Be honest in the item description.