Manas Kumar, Thinking out Loud

my thoughts & visions for technology

Archive for the ‘Maxmail’ Category

InkWorks – Missed Opportunities at Point of Sale

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InkWorks - This is some other store. I am talking about their store in the Westfield shopping centre in Henderson, Auckland.

I recently had to (or rather I was forced to) refill my HP Photosmart C8180 All-in-One printer cartridges. Thankfully I never paid for this God forsaken printer but received it as a Free gift from the folks at Harvey Norman circa 2008. No wonder Harveys wanted to get rid of these criminal machines produced by HP (A company I thought was on the right track until now) that just goes into “self destruct” mode if you dont refill the cartridges (even if you never print in color, for the “All-in-one functions to work, it needs ink – WHAT????). Anyway, never buy HP Photosmart C8180 All-in-One printer.

Anyway, this post is not about HP – its about InkWorks, an ink refill shop in the Westfield in Henderson. I was amazed by the level of customer service at this shop especially when the kind lady serving me had no technical knowledge but knew enough to do a good job of answering my questions.

So I asked her to find 0ut which one of my cartridges are empty so I can simply get those refilled, kill the print capabilities in that stupid printer and use the scanner (which is what I needed the darn thing for in the first place). By the by… she kindly gave me the Cyan and Magenta cartridges that I needed and charged me a very reasonable amount for it (cheaper than Dicksmiths or Warehouse Stationary).

PLUG for InkWorks – You guys rock!!! I strongly recommend that you checkout the guys at InkWorks when you need your printer cartridges refilled.

After that, she gave me a couple of bullet points about how they’re doing their bit to save the environment and their efforts to partake in the GREEN movement- It was genuie.

She asked me if this was my first purchase at the store and then requested me to write my details on a card for warranty purposes. She made it very clear that all she needed was my name and phone number – nothing else. I was almost waiting for her to ask me for other details but she didn’t.

Now check this out – Robert Redford taught Brad Pitt the secrets of photographic memory in Spyguy so I scanned through the form using Redford’s tips and remember the following

  • Name (both first and last were combined into one field)
  • Phone Number
  • Email Address
  • Address

On the right they had:

  • The type of printer I have
  • And 2 other fields that I am struggling to remember now

Not bad ha!

Now here’s the thing: That lady (I must say she was the kindest person I’ve met at a checkout of a store selling tech stuff), who I think was the store owner, just did not understand the importance of capturing as much detail as she could in that form. Someone must have told them that its important to know the things in the form, hence the fields set out in the order that they were.But sadly enough the lady just didn’t get the importance of such a thing.

More so, I am purchasing something that does not work if I dont have a computer – and if I have a computer, you can almost guarantee 100% that I also have internet – which means I also have an email address…but she does not have my email address though…I’m sad for you InkWorks 😦

Now on the right hand side of the form, they asked for “Which printer I had” – well of course they would. But are they using this information in any constructive way?

They know the date I refilled my cartridge. Given that they know how long it lasts, all they need is to find out whether or not I am a heavy user, moderate user or I hardly ever use color for printing; that way they’d know when next to send me a promo offer to refill – how hard do you think is that?

They also could have known which type of printer I have, so if they ever ran a promo in conjunction with the Computer Store outside the mall, they could approach me to make a purchase – I dont know…think of so many different things InkWorks could do if only they had the information.

I get frustrated with companies like these ones – they’re brilliant at what they do. Lovely people, great product, brilliant service – but poor marketing and presence of mind. Sorry guys, the world around you is changing, people are getting more and more online savvy – you need to use every opportunity you can to increase the lifetime value of a customer – LTV is GOLD InkWorks – I wish you were great at using marketing tools like email marketing and online surveys – then you’d become the number one printer cartridge refill company in New Zealand.

Another Plug: Email me if you need help in this area… 🙂


How to use Facebook for Viral Marketing

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There are many ways to do that, however, in this post, I am going to specifically talk about 1 way you can build your database using nothing but Facebook.

Facebook has something called Facebook Connect – It’s a tool available only to advanced programmers who know how to manipulate the Facebook programming architecture to connect to it’s database and pull some specific information and use it in several ways.

Now this is not hacking. Facebook has an API (Application Programming Interface, a bridge used to connect two or more disassociated applications) that allows developers to tap into it’s database and access certain information. Facebook preserves your privacy and does not share your email address with anyone. So you have nothing to worry about.

So here’s a simple but effective recipe to virally grow your database through Facebook using the Facebook connect API. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by manaskumar

August 2, 2009 at 4:46 am

7 mistakes to avoid on Twitter

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Found this one on Google. Nice eh?

Found this one on Google. Nice eh?

It seems like all of a sudden, everyone is talking about Twitter.

For businesses that find out about Twitter from a news story or an article in your favourite business magazine, there’s almost a sense of urgency about getting onto Twitter and using it for growing your business.

How many of you know that if you find out about the latest technology through the news, then it’s already too late – everyone has already caught onto it and the “ship has left the harbour”.

Never mind. Let’s talk about Twitter. While many businesses I know are on Twitter, but only a handful are doing it right. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by manaskumar

July 22, 2009 at 12:42 pm

What’s for lunch today?

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Eating Lunch

I don't know these people. They too, probably spend $4k/yr on lunch and coffee.

This morning I took the liberty of doing a little research along the 50meter or so walk from where I park to the office. In this short distance there are a number of cafés and as I ordered my coffee, I ask the Barista how many coffees a day would her regulars have? “2 – 3” was the reply. After finishing my coffee I decided to ask the same question in a few other cafés along my walk, I also asked how much they would spend on food. I even plucked up the courage to ask the same question of a few professional looking people walking up the street with coffee in hand. I don’t think I have to tell you the type of, ‘are you a freak,’ looks that I got as a result.

Hardly scientific I know but enough for my purpose. Here’s what I discovered with my little survey;

On average inner city workers will purchase 2 coffees per day and spend approximately $10 on food. Now let’s do some maths. When you minus leave and public holidays we work around 46 weeks per year or approximately 230 days. A flat white coffee costs around $3.80 per cup, times that by two and that’s $7.60 per day. Wow! That’s $1,748 a year on ‘coffee!’ Add to that the $2,300 we spend on something to eat and you have a total of… $4,048 dollars.

That’s $4k per year that’s going in the top end, dropping out the bottom-line and providing no investment value in the middle. In accounting terms I believe that’s called a deficit. Read the rest of this entry »

The DIE in DYI of Online Business

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I got this from Google - So no credits to me.

I got this from Google - So no credits to me.

Here in New Zealand we are world renowned for our innovation and DYI number 8 wire resourcefulness. On one hand it has helped us to become world leaders in many areas as we are forced to think outside the box and often without the investment capital available to us that say our American counterparts may have.

On the other hand it hamstrings us because it is a point of pride within our culture. No where is this more prevalent than in business. If there is one thing that most business people I know are guilty of it’s inventing processes, forms and especially excel spreadsheets. God… So many excels. Another area is our own bloody mindedness to create our own websites simply because Office or Publisher came pre-loaded on your PC and well you just couldn’t see the value of investing in a website when you could Do-It-Yourself.

So let me ask you… How much revenue have you potentially lost from online business because you did it yourself? You see I can almost guarantee that you know very little about search engine optimization, code structure, content structure or navigation principles. I’d be surprised if your website is customer focused and whether you even know how many visitors you have actually had at your website if any at all.

Now I’m sorry to bruise you like that but I see it all the time and my first thought is always, that in trying to save money their efforts have cost them money in lost potential earnings.

You see doing business online is simple but it’s not easy… and it’s not getting any easier to keep up with what’s happening with online technology.

This is perhaps the one very good reason for you to stop DYI’ing it online and get profession help when it comes to creating your online presence. As web 2.0 technologies become more available and affordable to business you may find yourself in the position where your self reliance is costing you your very business and livelihood.

Those who recognise that professional help is an investment in their business and that online technologies can in fact help your business to grow, be more product and give you a competitive edge will begin to emerge… but they won’t be John or Jill your local competitors, they’ll be Stephen and Saline from half way around the world.

On the local front will be the competitor who has taken on automated tools to empower his sales force like CRM and sales force automation tools which enable his team to make deals faster and more cost effectively. Deal with client interactions more efficiently and build real high value customer relationships.

In this environment that’s what it’s all about… The reality is the investment in these tools is a cost saving formula for many businesses. And if you treat the online environment as a division of your business with the same care that you’d take with a physical branch then you’ll be building something positive.

So the next time you feel the inclination to DYI it in your business stop and honestly ask yourself the question… Is the money I save going to cost me?

Written by manaskumar

March 18, 2009 at 5:05 am

HTML email standards – what a joke

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We are frustrated at the lack of support for some of the most common CSS properties inside HTML emails for certain mail clients. The problem is highly pronounced for mail clients such as Microsoft Outlook 2007 (can somebody please sue them?), Gmail and to some extent Lotus Notes.

While searching the web for an answer we came across a rather interesting website that has decided to take on the battle regarding email standards –

The site presents some stuning comparisons of how a simple HTML page is rendered inside various mail clients using a simple ACID test based on 17 CSS properties

The Acid test was performed based on the following CSS properties

Following is a list of what we would like to see every email client support:

We are interested to know your experiences when dealing with HTML content in various mail clients. What are some of the measures you take to avoid poor rendering of content.

Written by manaskumar

September 10, 2008 at 10:31 pm

Posted in Email Marketing, Maxmail

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