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Published on Wednesday, January 28, 2015

I Was Amazoned!

For years, I have been fighting the urge to use Amazon as my “go to” source for purchasing items I need for home or the office. My friends keep telling me it’s super easy and saves time and money.

 

Amazon appFor the most part, I just like seeing a product before I buy it. If I can put it in my hands and read the package, all the better. As a member of a chamber of commerce, I prefer to support local businesses when it makes sense. Money that is spent in a community, generally stays in that community and promotes jobs, the local economy, little league teams, etc.

 

Human interaction is also key. I can ask questions, get opinions and insights that I might not otherwise find in an online product description or by reading the ratings. Besides, I’m in the face-to-face marketing industry. Through research, it has been proven that trade shows and live marketing event can and do accelerate the sales process.

 

Trade show engagementI also like to think there is a certain karma involved. Prairie Display/Chicago is a bricks and mortar business and we don’t have an online store. We believe personal service and human contact are valuable components to create a mutually beneficial partnership with customers, especially in our type of industry. Good service and communication are key.

 

PuppyA few months ago, the 10 year old electric fence we use to keep our dog in the yard, goes on the fritz. I replaced the battery in the collar, spent way too much time looking for a break in the wire and checked all of the other connections. It still wasn’t working and I didn’t want to pay for an expensive service call from the manufacturer.

 

A family member who works for a large sporting goods chain mentioned they now have wireless electric fence systems. She said they really do work well and are a lot less expensive. I logged on to the store’s website and discover this item isn’t sold online, only in stores. That’s ok though, I have some questions and would like to see it in person. I don’t normally go to this store so I figured it would be a good adventure.

 

Once inside, I ask the greeter where I would find the wireless electric fences. “Second floor, 4 aisles over,” he says. “Thanks!” So far, so good. I find the correct aisle and there are literally a dozen or more different product options. Since this store markets itself to sportsmen, most are remote versions that are used in hunting. I locate one that is just like my current fence, but I can’t find the wireless version. I looked on all the shelves, behind other boxes and the aisles on either side. Nothing. At this point I look to find someone to ask if they have a wireless option, or at least to point me in the right direction.

 

Sporting goods storeI walked over to a counter filled with rifles, scopes and ammunition. Not a comfortable area for me, but there are a few store employees standing behind the counter talking to each other.

 

“Excuse me,” I say. “Not sure if this is your area, but I have a question on the wireless dog fences.”

 

One of the guys points to the aisle I was just in. “Everything we have is over there.”

 

“But I’m looking for the wireless one. All I can see are the....”

 

I’m interrupted in mid-sentence. He points again. “All we have is what’s out there.”

 

Okaaaay. That ended my shopping trip. I walked out of the store scratching my head.

He didn’t want to double-check? He didn’t want to see if I had a specific need that would have been filled with another product? So I just left. I didn’t even stop to look at the cool camouflage vests.

 

Amazon shopping buttonOnce home, I begrudgingly logged-on to Amazon and searched for that same product. I didn’t want to do it this way! There it was, same product, same price with shipping. I read the reviews, put it into my shopping cart and checked out. I would have it in 2-3 days. I did feel a bit bummed out because it was too easy.

 

However, I have to admit the face-to-face human interaction with the store salesperson DID accelerate the sale...right out of their store. I was Amazoned! Take note major sporting goods store chain.

 

Steve Moskal

 

Camo vest

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Steve Moskal
Steve Moskal

Steve Moskal

Other posts by Steve Moskal
Contact author Full biography

Full biography

Steve’s journey in the trade show and event world started in 1983 with one of the original Nomadic Display sales organizations in North America. In 1994, he co-founded Prairie Display/Chicago.

Steve was an Allied Board Member of TSEA (Trade Show Exhibitors Association) from 2007 to 2011 and recipient of the TSEA President’s Award in 2009. He also served as Financial Chair of the Midwest Exhibit and Event Professionals (formerly the Chicago chapter of TSEA) and as a commissioner with the Elmhurst Economic Development Commission from 2011 to 2016. Currently he is Vice President of Education for the Addison/Elmhurst, IL Toastmasters Club.

When not working with customers and co-workers at Prairie, you can find him trying to spend more time biking and pursuing other creative endeavors. Steve lives in Oak Brook, IL with his beautiful and equally understanding wife of 26 years, Shelley.

Steve is a graduate of Northern Illinois University, with a B.A. in Journalism and a Fine Arts minor.

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