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May 12, 2010

What have Itomic and IKEA got in common?

By Ross Gerring

Recently I was in IKEA’s huge WA store and was reading an informational brochure about how they price their products – or rather, how they make their products to fit a price. It’s an interesting story, and one that mirrors Itomic’s approach to the provision of website solutions.

IKEA’s story goes like this: the smart people in marketing determine that there’s a gap in the market for a product – let’s say a certain style of office desk – that needs to retail at a certain price in order to have a good chance of selling. So armed with a list of attributes for that office desk and a price, they approach their designers/engineers with a challenge: design us a product that meets this specification that can retail for this price AND, crucially, still make us a margin.

How does this relate to Itomic? We pride ourselves on being a solutions provider, not a solution provider. This means that, for any given website challenge, we can offer up a wide array of solutions. These solutions can range all the way from cheap and cheerful (but still great looking!) through to diamond encrusted – but they all are designed to satisfy a similar business need. Or to put it another way – there are shopping carts, and there are shopping carts (no, Amazon isn’t one of ours!). In essence they both do basically the same thing – sell stuff – but the scale, sophistication and price tags differ massively.

People sometimes ask me “how come, when I’ve asked for quotes for a website, the prices I get back are hugely different?”. This is because there are so many ways to crack a nut and because, almost certainly, the prospective new website owner gave little or no indication of their budget, and was vague about what it is they actually want. Walk into a car showroom and ask “how much for a car?” and you’d naturally expect one of the very first questions you’ll be asked is “what’s your budget?”. The sales person knows he’s wasting your time and his if he introduces you to his fabulous range of Ferrari if your maximum budget is $30k. And yet, undeniably, both a Fiat or a Ferrari are more than capable of taking you from A to B. So if you truly want to compare apples with apples then the clearer you can be with your budget, and the clearer you can be (possibly assisted by professional consultancy) with the core features and functionality required for your business website, the more you will be able to compare and evaluate one website proposal against another.

Back to the IKEA comparison. Tell us what it is you want to achieve, give us your budget (or at least some budget guidance, i.e. in the $8k-$12k range), and we will commit to offering up the best possible solution for that budget. In other words – just like IKEA – challenge us to use our skills and experience to reverse-engineer a great solution to fit your price. This is a commitment we offer up both to prospective clients and existing valued clients.

Disclaimer: Can we always offer up a solution for ANY budget? Unfortunately not. Sometimes despite our best efforts, the gap between expectation/requirements (high) and budget (low) is just too big for our solutions approach. But why not give us a try all the same?