I would like to present the following case study- to show how a company can potentially lose out a lot in profit, consumer interest if it does not have a comprehensive, informative and interesting corporate website. To setup and run a website is so inexpensive and yet the site is your effective marketing tool 24 X 7. Rather than consistently setting up roadshows and engaging sales person, a company can use a website to help market and increase popularity of the product.
To illustrate my point, let me give you an example of the Gintell website:
Case study: Gintell website www.gintell.com.my
Yesterday I came across a Gintell roadshow- and was quite interested in buying their cross trainer (elliptical machine) that cost about RM1688. Upon trying the machine I noted it is easy on the knee joints- which surprisingly differ from even the expensive machines found in gyms.
After thinking and hesitating about it, I decided to look up more information about the machine from the internet like reviews, product features, etc. And guess what- I had problems locating information about the elliptical machine- when I google “Gintell elliptical machine”, I came across popular websites like about.com, etc that provided detailed information about elliptical machine in general as well as promoting about other brands - and because I land on other website than Gintell’s – this swayed my purchasing decision.
Gintell is well known for selling affortable health related products and they’ve actually branched to exercise machine market. But at the time of writing, when I go to www.gintell.com.my, I could see a relatively good site architecture but no product information:
Clicking on the links does not bring me to any particular information, features or shout out about benefits of items. The last information of their roadshow is in Tesco for October and the duration had expired (it is now November and the site never advertised about its new roadshow in Carrefour). And because the roadshow here is set up on the second floor in a relativley obscure place, not many people are aware of the location unless they happen to walk past the area.
If a company provides an advance schedule of its roadshow (generally most companies would plan at least weeks in advance) and post it on their website, those who are interested to view the product would check the website for location.
Comparison: Fitness Concept website: www.fitnessconcept.com.my
Fitness Concept invested a lot of money to popularise the concept of home gym and fitness- investing in exercise equipments and setting up home gyms. Their website is informative as well as the recent update carries a health awareness of world heart day where donations are being made to The Heart Foundation of Malaysia for every purchase of cardio machine made.
Aside from that, their website is well updated- all the models of machines sold are featured. They have a section on Fit Facts and FAQ. To create awareness, they have teamed up with Kevin Zahri, a well-known celebrity fitness blogger to spread awareness of fitness and to review products.
Having tested on the Gintell elliptical machine, I still have the interest to purchase the machine to make up part of my home gym- the machine still cost cheaper than a 1 year gym membership….and a Smartphone. Gintell have designed these machines to go easy on the joint and upon testing it I found that indeed it is easy on the knee joint and I start sweating minutes about getting on the machine. But even though I want to buy from Gintell, I would not do so until I go and test the same machines from Fitness Concept- because Fitness Concept have developed trust in their brand name from the online awareness that they’ve established since they set up the stores in Malaysia. The Nordin stability ball which I bought from Fitness Concept way back in 2007 or 2008 is still as sturdy and good from the time I bought till today.
This is what consumer trust and awareness can do. When I think about home gym exercise equipments, my mind automatically think about Fitness Concept. Why? Because through the years and as well as a person interested in health, a lot of online awareness is created by this brand to reach out to health buffs. Also their store engage qualified personal trainers- who can give good advise on health and type of equipment to buy based on individual budgets. Whereas Gintell engage sales person who even though may look physically thin but may not have much knowledge about exercise mechanics.
I know Gintell had spent a lot of money on TV and newspaper advertising (like the buy 1 free 1 massage chair)- whereas for Fitness Concept, I see less of it but they spread more information online and through bloggers and writers. To me, it is more inexpensive but much more effective. If Gintell can adopt this concept and learn to work to build brand awareness and trust – it may not need to resort constantly to expensive medium like Astro advertising.
When you search for information about a company’s product, it’s important that the company’s website should be ranked the first instead of other review sites. Else, the company may lose out, especially if the review on the product happens to be negative- or someone who bought something from the company ended up not using it or having bad experience. Then someone’s review ended up swaying the consumer’s buying decision- which spells disaster.
The site can be made more interesting by having more health articles written and posted on it. There are a number of good writers who are able to write good health articles and engaging them to write articles should not be difficult. If people arrive to a company’s website and is able to find continously updated information and solutions to their problems, and not merely just sales pitch, people would still coming back and would start to tell their friends about the site. Viral marketing through grapevine is more effective than any form of marketing. And this is more sustainable long term and much more cost effective- compared to spending money on brochures, advertise in newspapers and TV and billboards.
Update on 10 Nov 2011: Finally I’ve decided to buy a trampoline (rebounder) of the Reebok brand from Fitness Concept. The elliptical sold in Fitness concept is too expensive and I got knee discomfort when using them. I felt I had to get something because the certified trainer at Fitness Concept took the trouble to explain properly on each product. That is the difference in how investing in a qualified, trained and honest staff can do to help the company.