Webtogs - An etail startup

Webtogs, is a new etail business, selling “the outdoors, online”. At the moment they’re due to open (according to their holding page) in Summer 07 and have taken the interesting step of documenting their progress towards their launch. I haven’t read all of their blog but what I’ve read makes interesting reading and is a good way of garnering interest pre-launch. Maybe we can expect to see more of this type of prelaunch writing to get us emotionally attached to a brand before it goes live, particularlywith the bigger brands. Some e.g. Topshop and New look have done it with Kate Moss and Lily Allen respectively but this seems very much the domain of fashion orientated businesses rather than businesses generally.

I think they’re missing the boat without an email sign up on their holding page and their logo’s lousy but that apart there’s a few good tips on the design and planning process. It’ll be interesting to see if they make the transition from internet people to retailers. If/when they do become retailers they’ll no doubt understand that when they say …

“The basic rule of successful ecommerce for us, is this: “If someone wants to buy a backpack, sell them a backpack, don’t try to sell them a tent”.

… is of course hopelessly wrong. Cross merchandising, upselling, increasing basket spend are all absolute requirements of succesful retailers, online or otherwise.

5 Responses to “Webtogs - An etail startup”

  1. 1 Philip Wilkinson

    Thanks for the post Nick - glad you see some value in the blog.

    Your last comment warrants a bit of a response I feel as taking a little bit out of context. The main point for us is that you should do everything you can to help the user achieve their goal at that point in time, so if I tell the site I’m looking for a tent - help guide me to pick one and add it to the basket.

    “After” that point - then you can upsell, cross-sell me things which are related. A prime example of how this impacts things if you’ve ever tried to buy a broadband package and been sent to a site trying to also sell you digital tv and phone - haven’t you sometimes just gone “let me just buy the broadband connection - perleaaase”.

    All good fun!

  2. 2 Nick

    Well yes, to a certain extent, but you’re not selling services you’re selling products, huge difference and what if you’re not really looking for a tent, what if you just search a term to see what else comes up? What if the user doesn’t know what their goal is? That’s also a very masculine point of view by the way, many people and women especially don’t search, shop, buy or try in straight lines.

    That said I am looking forward to your store opening, my wife tells me we need a tent!

  3. 3 James Balmain

    Hi Nick, thanks for the comments.

    We actually very nearly worked together (If I’ve got the right inspire), a few years ago for ntl.

    Anyway, small world items aside, you make some very valid points in your post. My to-do list in Outlook has had “change the holding page” on it for some time. Your post has kicked me into action, and I’ve just done it. So how’s that for interactivity!

    As for the logo, not something we’re good at. We’re talking to a couple of agencies at the moment (friends from our previous life) about doing some branding stuff for us, perhaps you guys have some ideas?

    I take your point on the up-sell / merchandising side of things. The line you quote from the blog was a slight throw away remark, I was really referring to ease of navigation, etc. I recently did a search on another outdoor site for ‘Berghaus Hill Walking boots”, and got back 800 odd results, everything from Berghaus, everything hill, etc. It’s this kind of thing we’re trying to avoid. The cross sell side of the site is something we’ve put massive effort into, matching complimentary products together and allowing users to switch between page specific and global navigation, without having to go back 3 steps. etc..

    Anyway, we look forward to selling you a tent!

  4. 4 Philip Wilkinson

    A fair point and if the user doesn’t know what their goal is then they’ve come to the site for “something”, in which case our job is help them enjoy browsing around, show them what’s selling well, and then recommend things to look at. As soon as they click “Terra Nova 4 man tent” we want to give them all the info they need for that product to result in a conversion.

    So we’re more than happy to help your wife find that tent and for you, I’ve got a nice pair of socks, a backpack, and 3 pairs of Merrell sandals for you :-)

  5. 5 Nick

    Hi James & Philip, must be another inspire I think, there’s a few of us about.

    As far as branding goes I must admit a slight questioning of the name webtogs, sounds like a place (online) where you’d buy cosy clothes, slippers & pyjamas even, or even an online duvet shop :) I suspect you’re too far down the line now to consider a more adventurous/outdoorsy name?

    If you did want to talk about a new logo though you could give us a try we have some experience, here’s a link, as long as the price is right of course!!

    Anyway I’m off to register on your site now, so I can be first in line for that tent, and of course some sandals.

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