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Author Topic: Brick and Mortar merchant initial impressions.  (Read 642 times)
Jessy Kang
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June 12, 2011, 06:27:52 AM
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There are not a lot of B&M businesses posting here (don't see any actually) so while my business model won't directly translate for many, hopefully it's better than nothing.

I went to a Bitcoin Meetup in NYC yesterday and it's something I'd suggest prospective merchants do. I did not have much to say but the participants had a lot of useful information to offer.

Stats:
I went live with Bitcoin two days ago so I don't have a large enough of a sample period on Analytics to really offer useful intelligence on the effect Bitcoin has on traffic. When I have a full weeks worth of data I will post it.

Demographic:
My client demographic is heavily weighted towards men over 40, this is probably just outside the Bitcoin adoption sweet spot of 20-30 year old men (that's my estimate, if anyone has hard numbers on Bitcoin related traffic/interest by age and gender I'd love to see it). While 40+ are probably the most likely secondary adopters, in my experience they expect a higher level of service and professionalism, so are less likely to be patient with the current clunky Bitcoin applications.

Marketing:
Zero traction in my forum or in conversation with Bitcoin as currency. Most of these guys are high-flyers with large, well balanced portfolios, they have no interest in speculation with unproven technology, or in online purchasing hassles. Bitcoin as hard currency is pushed pretty heavily in this forum- but for most people that just translates as buy things online with a credit card, in 10 more steps than you do now.

What DID generate a huge amount of interest was Bitcoin as a barter medium. Clients hate to fork over a wad of $20s- it's a bit crude and ruins the experience for many. Within our community barter or "tribute" as a means for paying for service is very common. Unfortunately the goods and services that a client has to offer usually are not the ones that the business or it's contractors need. Bitcoins enable any client to earn sufficient funds to visit my facility with a modest investment of goods or his professional expertise. This has a great deal of appeal for salaried employees, who budget for a certain amount of time at the facility each month, and cannot easily increase their income under current market conditions, as well as for the large number of clients who prefer not to pay directly with cash for esthetic reasons.

In-house we have been referring to this as the "Cookie Factor". My neighbors will help me put up a shelf for a tin of cookies or a casserole, trying to pay them in cash equivalent to their time spent on the shelf or my time baking cookies would create discomfort all around. If I tell my clients Bitcoin is "cash", they already pay cash- so have no incentive to go through the hassles of acquiring Bitcoin. Bitcoin as a digital representation of their labor, or goods is another matter.

While I understand there are reasons to promote Bitcoin as hard currency, I am having more success and more client interest by marketing it as a barter medium. Whether this interest translates into sales, and so is a viable strategy for other B&M businesses only time will tell.
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soades
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June 12, 2011, 06:32:23 AM
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Great post!  and worthy to be whitewashed with full user privileges. You have my vote!!  Smiley   

1DAYiWIllgeTRiChwiThbitCoInPOnzIScheMe
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June 15, 2011, 01:18:20 AM
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Jessy:

Nice meeting you at the Bitcoin Meetup.  From reading the forums, I'd bet on the low end of your 20-30 year old sweet spot currently.  Being pretty close to your target demographic, I have to disagree with the lack of interest in Bitcoin.  Speculation in unproven technology is precisely what attracts investors.  The mere mention of Bitcoin to anyone in a hedge fund creates an intense conversation and weeks later leads to more questions about how to buy them.

There is slow adoption among my friends, but the interest is growing.  The problems you allude to may be real in that Bitcoin is viewed as an investment.  They are therefore being stored away for an unspecified period of time in the future.  That said, once Bitcoin becomes more stable I think you are well positioned in that investors will want to take out profits and use them to buy directly.  I think I covered the reasons why in the meeting.
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June 15, 2011, 01:32:56 AM
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I spoke to a jeweler about Bitcoin currency. He thought it was scary.

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