Richard Chollerton's guitars.co.uk website, which offers dealers the opportunity to upload adverts for as little as two pounds, is beginning to cause ripples in the retail community, particularly with smaller businesses that have no or limited web presence.
A case in point is the Music Spot in Nottingham, which having placed a handful of ads saw just one of these accumulating 500 unique user hits. The secret to this success lies with Chollerton's policy of sending a targeted mail shot within two to three days of the ad going online – a personal service available to those taking an annual subscription to the site (which costs just £365 – or a pound a day).
Chollerton's website also gives subscribers a shop profile page and offers forums and other opportunities for guitar retailers (and customers) to create an online community. “Dealers need effective advertising at any time – and during a recession all the more so,” he said. “For a pound a day, they can get enormous online profile, promoting their shop, customer service and the brands they sell. On top of that, I will give any dealer that signs up my full support. For this scheme to work for me, it has to work for them.”
The idea is that, using common mechanisms that push items high up on the Google search engine – and thus make the probability of getting user ‘hits’ the more likely – smaller, independent dealers can get the sort of online presence normally thought to be the province of big-time manufacturers and e-tailers. With enough dealers signing up, guitars.co.uk could easily become a centre of guitar selling activity.
“Big online stores with reams of products to upload often don’t have the ability to do so regularly and listing items one by one is way too much effort. Even if they do, these stores are selling on price alone. I’m certain that on my site, a dealer’s proactive efforts and specialisation in selling particular brands will shine through. I know you can’t please all the people all the time, but my system will naturally reward anyone who puts the effort in to maintain a good turnover.”