Good day, Bitcoin forums goers.
I, like many people on these forums, like to consider myself an innovator and businessman. However, most businesses require some initial monetary input. I've seen countless posts here asking for money to start up a business, and I've read business plans from others. But before I even considered posting here, I worked out my plans, spent some of my own money, and actually managed to find a like-minded investor.
One thing I haven't seen, though, is a discussion of what the average Bitcoin user expects out of their vendors. We know what "idea men" expect out of buyers, but to this day I haven't seen a discussion of HOW Bitcoin-based companies should act.
Bitcoin clearly has a future, prices are becoming more stable, services offered are expanding daily, and groupthink has enabled the community to convince smaller retailers to accept Bitcoins. But I'm not talking about what would you like to see sold, or what kind of services offered, but what would you, as the early adopters of Bitcoin that will shape its future, like to see in terms of store layout, how concerns are addressed, business practices, handling of goods or the coins themselves?
"...before I even considered posting here, I worked out my plans, spent some of my own money, and..."
An entrepreneur is apt to be more conscientious when using their own resources involving a new enterprise opposed to receiving VC from a "Forum Buddy". For if/when it fails, they would fault the premiss of the original concept.
"...and groupthink has enabled the community to convince smaller retailers to accept Bitcoins."
A major takeaway from this forum.
Not sure if its exactly what you ask for but I for one would like a merchant which accepts Bitcoin and other forms of payment, to reflect the absence of any fees (for the merchant) when paying with Bitcoin.
I've been put off a little when I saw shops which charge you a few percent extra when you pay with Bitcoin (maybe to insure against price volatility). It should be the other way round: offer a 2% discount when customers pay with Bitcoin or charge 2% extra when people want to pay with credit cards for example.
This policy should be clearly visible and made public because hidden costs are likely to annoy people and leave a bad impression.
In connection to that: be open how you calculate your BTC prices! If you have manually set BTC prices, that's fine, if you use the latest price of Mt. Gox, that's fine, if you use some kind of weighted average over time or over different market places, that's fine as well - but _please_ be open about it and clearly state how your prices are set.
"It should be the other way round: offer a 2% discount when customers pay with Bitcoin..."
With Project X
I'm developing, you can throw that 2% discount out the window. I feel a more substantial discount is warranted, treating it like a quasi-lost-leader to build brand awareness.
"...policy should be clearly visible and made public..." Check!
"...be open how you calculate your BTC prices..." Double Check! All my pricing will be in BTC with a conversion drop-down menu to view the current exchange rate of the clients currency of choice.
Factoring in the transaction cost of zero in the bitcoin purchase is also important - take whatever the transaction would cost from a credit card or whatever, and discount this from the price of the product. This will let customers see that there is a benefit of using bitcoins over centralised currency.
Coupled that with no sale tax (most of the time) for purchasing online, consumers will gravitate toward Bitcoin because they'll recognize the value. TLC didn't add Extreme Couponing
to its lineup to just air commercials of their Hoarding: Buried Alive
program. It's because their market research indicated there's a large enough demand to warrant the show.
Last night I went to my sister's house to drop off a head of cabbage and smoked butt, expecting her to be engulfed in Farmville. To my surprise, she's now obsessed with couponing to make ends meet, finally realizing that she couldn't REALLY harvest the virtual crops to feed her family. Level 143 allinvain (I think that's supposed to be 3 words).