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Ten Years Old!

SK Chase is ten years old this week!

To celebrate we’ve created this video, where the two founders of SK Chase (Kaye & Steph) reflect on ten years in business, share their thoughts and talk about what’s next for the business.

Enjoy!

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Welcome to infographic #2

This infographic looks at the male / female buyer percentage split.

We have included a preview of the infographic below, but it’s best to view it in full by clicking onto this PDF.

Male vs Female_framed

As you can see, women purchase the most gift vouchers!

Although not a huge surprise that women are the predominant buyers, what is interesting is how high the split is.


Different approaches to online shopping

Being aware of how (in general) men and women differ in the ways they purchase online can help our clients market their gift vouchers to the right people at the right time, for example in promotions on their websites, targeted mailshots or via social media channels.


Men buy, women shop?

Online shopping research shows us that in general:

  • Men tend to stick to their mission when shopping online (taking less time to complete a purchase), while women view shopping as an experience and spend more time browsing, looking through categories and items, considering the possibilities.
  • Female shoppers tend to start their shopping (for an event such as Christmas) earlier than men, with men making more last minute purchases.
  • Men are bigger spenders. One study shows that men tend to spend 31% more on average on an online purchase than women. It may be a case of men simply buying more items all at once to minimize virtual shopping trips, but maybe they are just more generous! Maybe….

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Have you ever been stopped in your tracks, struck by what someone has just said? It happened to me the other day.

I had just turned on the radio in the car and what the presenter said hooked me straight away.

Which is really saying something because my two seven year olds were in the back and they are usually a) fighting, b) singing some inappropriate lyrics at the tops of their voices (think Bruno Mars, Locked Out of Heaven or c) giving me driving ‘instructions’ (incidentally you don’t actually need to scream ‘STOP – RED LIGHT!’ when there is a red light 50 metres to the right of you).

Neuromyths

The programme that caught my attention was called ‘All in the Mind’ (Radio 4) and the topic was ‘Neuromyths’.

In a nutshell, the programme looked at how the latest brain research can be put into the classroom to help children to learn; it discussed the idea of how children may have one preferred style of learning; for example, they may be someone that gets things better if it’s:

  • Visual (they look at them)
  • Auditory (hear them)
  • Kinaesthetic (things that are moving)

Myth busting

While it’s true that children can have a preference for one of the styles above, it’s just not true that it makes any difference to how they learn, if you go with their preference. There is no convincing evidence to show that there is any benefit in teaching to any particular learning style for learners. It’s a myth. And in fact some psychological studies have shown that there is some advantage to some people in receiving information that is not in their preferred learning style.

And that’s what stopped me in my tracks…

It got me thinking – if there is an advantage to receiving information that is not in our preferred learning style, as the programme highlighted, could there be an advantage in receiving something that is not in our preferred communication style too?

At SK Chase we use ‘Think – Feel – Know’ to help with communication.

Effective communication brings many advantages: we get where we’re choosing to go faster and more efficiently.

This particular tool helps us to understand how each member of the team prefers to process information and express themselves using the different communication styles that we all use. Therefore any communications we have, both internally and externally, we try to ensure that it appeals to each of these different preferences:

  •  Think: focus on fact, data, words and numbers, detail
  •  Feel: energy, use stories and anecdotes and will ‘paint a picture’
  •  Know: use their instinct and intuition

In recent projects I’ve worked on, such as creating a gift voucher best practise guide, I have tried to ensure that I have appealed to all styles:  the knowers (the headlines), the feelers (visual representation) and the thinkers (facts, more detail).

If we appeal to all three styles, each time, as much as we can, there’s no missing information. And everyone benefits from this.

I’m a ‘knower’, but I believe there is huge benefit to me receiving all the information both in a visual way AND backed up by data and words too. It’s a complete picture.

Another neuro myth? We only use 10% of the brain. Not true – we use it all  🙂

Heather

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News in June…

Visiting JEM Marketing

Jon and Linda took a trip to visit JEM Marketing, our fulfilment partner. After a drive through the leafy lanes of Cranleigh, they arrived at their impressive warehouse. Before having a look around, they met their lovely team who consistently deliver outstanding service to us, our clients and our client’s customers. Having watched their batch print in progress, they accompanied them to the warehouse where they witnessed the vouchers being carefully and meticulously packaged. The warehouse stores clients stationery and merchandise and there is an impressive array of different and amazing voucher wallets, gift boxes and ribbons, not to mention the merchandise. Watching the team in action was so impressive because they seem to do everything so effortlessly. Just goes to show how easy life is when there are good processes in place to support you. Thank you to all at JEM. Jon and Linda are looking forward to their next visit already!Gift Vouchers

Streamlining the Setup Process

We are currently focusing on streamlining the set up process, making it easier for our clients to get set up on our system and start selling gift vouchers through their own website. Our hope is that the set up process will be more of an experience and by having the set up process online, that our clients find it easier and more accessible to access forms and keep track of their progress and the next steps.

Strategy Workshops

Steph has created some material for a Strategy workshop that will be shared with the team shortly. It shall go into the detail of ‘what’ strategy is and ‘how’ we do it in our business.

Best Practice Guide

Our marketing function is currently working on a ‘Gift Voucher Best Practice Guide’ for our current and future clients, which will be full of tips, ideas and best practices to ensure they are optimising their gift voucher sales.

Infographics

We hope that our first infographic was of interest to you; it’s great to know ‘Birthday gift’ is the top reason for purchase, as it is an occasion our clients can optimise the whole year round.

If you missed it you can view the infographic here. And remember to watch out for future ones for more interesting gift vouchers facts.

And on a personal note…

We would like to congratulate our colleague Catharine who has bought her first home! With a move in date of next week, she has been busy packaging and getting prepared to move. We wish you a very happy new home.

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Welcome to the first SK Chase Infographic post!

Each month, we’d like to share information, data or knowledge about gift vouchers with you in a visual way. We’ll be using the data we’ve stored over the years to create these to share with our clients and other people interested in gift vouchers and SK Chase.

Not only do believe the infographics will be interesting, they will also ultimately help our clients optimise their gift voucher sales, now and in the future.


Infographic #1 – Reason for Purchase

Our first infographic looks at why people are buying gift vouchers i.e the reason for purchase. The more we understand the reasons why people are buying gift vouchers, the better we’ll be able to create, market and sell them.

We have included a preview of the infographic below, but to view in full, please click onto this PDF.

CC_Reason-for-Purchase

As you can see ‘Birthday Gift’ is the top reason for purchase!

We find this so interesting, as whilst Christmas is the busiest period of the year, Birthday’s are the top reason over the course of the whole year. We believe this data can help our clients’ optimise their gift vouchers sales in a number of ways including:

1. To assist with their online gift voucher markeing  i.e. SEO:  consider the key words typed in for their gift vouchers to be found on different search engines for birthday gifts.

2. Plan an email / social media campaign to market ‘birthday gifts’ to their clients around the busiest birthday months of the year (there are a differing views, but August and September consistently appear top).

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As self proclaimed Queen of Culture at SK Chase I was feeling rather smug when I arrived for Julie Grieve’s recent talk on How to Avoid Toxic Teams. “It’s not really relevant for us” was my remark to Steph as we made our way to the Morton Fraser Business Women’s Network event. After all our culture is our core asset; we’ve invested our hearts and souls into creating an environment that inspires, supports and promotes personal and professional growth.  I’m fascinated by the psychology of business; the feelings within business and how they contribute to our successes (and failures); and I am in love with creating a space for amazing opportunities enabling people to live their purpose.

So I was surprised when I felt my smugness evaporate only for alertness and discomfort to take its place as I listened to Julie and recognised small but significant signs of toxicity that I had created in recent days.

Under pressure

Our system rebuild project has reached a climax and we are at the critical stage of implementation. As with any big project, it requires all hands on deck and interdependence within the team. We are being tested in many areas of our business; functionality, capability, capacity and of course whether we can truly live our values when the going gets tough.

A few days ago I sent a long (for me) detailed (for me) and angry (for me) email to the project team (made even more frustrating due to typing it with one finger on a smart phone whilst being driven to the airport). The email was thinly veiled as ‘sharing my truth’, though in reality it was a bollocking. So when Julie touched upon how management by email simply doesn’t work, my sideways glance at Steph was met with a knowing smile.

Julie reminded me that one person’s unacknowledged and unfair behaviour gives permission to others to show up the same way. So when I act out of alignment with our core values (which for us are to be true, courageous and fair to all) I’m saying to others that it’s okay. And it’s not.

Leadership

I’m reminded of Jim Collins observations on Leadership in his fabulous book Great by Choice; he explains (paraphrased) that it’s only possible to tell how great a leader is when the going gets tough. In good times it’s difficult to distinguish an average leader from a great leader, it’s only when the business is faced with big challenges that the true leader prevails.

I believe the same is true of a company’s values – it’s easy being true courageous and fair when everything is flowing along nicely. Can I still consciously choose to be true, courageous and fair when we are in the midst of a pressure point?

I wasn’t being the best version of me when I sent out that email to our team and had I taken a step back and used our values as a context, I would have chosen an alternative route.

Promotion

I’m at an interesting stage in my career right now as Steph and I have visions for our ‘next phase’ and we’re encouraging our team to step up and run our business.

So Julie’s final point rang so true for me; if your team can’t perform without you, it’s impossible to get promoted. That applies to Steph and me too. Unless our team has the capability and confidence to perform without us, we won’t get to be the fullest expression of ourselves and realise our big vision.

In other words, I have to get out of the way (my own way AND the team’s way!).

We have the most amazing people in our business and when I do remember to sit back and consider what we’ve created together I feel huge pride and immense gratitude towards every single person that has contributed to making SK Chase the great place to work that it is. We have all the right people on the bus – and they’re nearly all sitting in the right seat (that’s another story for another blog post). Thank you, Steph, Kate, Heather, Dani, Jan, Ben, Catharine, Jon and Linda for being who you are and accepting me as I am and being committed to creating the culture we love.

Ben inspired me the other evening when he shared with Steph and me “‘I’m going to put my money where my mouth is and show myself what I’m truly capable of”. Well, Ben, so am I!

It’s time to embrace it all – and live the lives our dreams are made of.

 

 

P.S. I admire women (and men) who have the courage to stand up in front of an audience and share their personal experiences in business; thank you, Julie, for taking time out of your diary to prepare and give the talk; it was a great reminder that when I think I know it all, I really don’t!

Julie can be found on Twitter @juliegrieve

Kaye

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I’m currently attending “B-School” with Marie Forleo which is an online business school for entrepreneurs that want to set up an online business. It was sponsored by SK Chase as part of my personal development! Thank you Kaye & Steph 🙂

In one of the modules, Marie Forleo shares the importance of providing an experience to your customers at every touch point in your business, from Customer Service through to Sales, instead of just providing a service. Marie Forleo does exactly that; the moment you log into B-School there’s a big picture of her smiling at you and welcoming you to the program. There’s personalised e-mails and videos that reflect her personality. The Sales Material before enrolling to B-School is colourful, funky and fun and has pictures of her in there too. Even though Marie Forleo herself wasn’t present apart from a couple of live Question & Answer calls, she was present all the way through B-School via her branded material. WOW! When I think of Marie Forleo, I think of Fun, Hip, Smart and Savvy. I immediately feel like that too when doing B-School without even having met Marie. She definitely provided a cool and hip experience for me!

We recently had a “Setting Free” workshop where we discussed how we want to set ourselves and our customers free in the future, since setting free is our vision, as well as our intent in business. Setting free to us means “Being the source of making things easier, enabling ourselves and others to do what we love.” One of the things we discussed in our workshop was that we don’t just want to provide a ‘vanilla’ service (average service) to our clients we want to be the ‘pistachios’ in our business (excellent & unique in our own way). We identified some of the areas in our business of how we can be more pistachio and less vanilla and over the next few months are working on bringing more of our nutty side, ahem, our pistachio side into the business :-). Watch this space!

So what does it take to be a pistachio and provide a pistachio experience to our customers rather than just providing a vanilla service?

When I think of providing a vanilla service, I think of it as a transaction or an exchange. It’s a bit boring, bland without fun or personality. We’re just doing what it says on the tin. You want something, I’ll give it to you! 🙂 (Sounds a bit like a Neanderthal)!

However providing a pistachio experience means being quirky and fun, it means thinking outside of the box and doing things differently. Providing our customers with more than just what it says on the tin, exceeding expectations and bringing our personality into the business. This is what makes us unique and sets us apart!

It’s a bit like thinking of it in a Disney kind of way and sending our customers on an adventure 🙂 All of the sudden I think of myself more than just being a Sales & Distribution Manager, I think of myself as a “Creator of an Experience” for my customers. How exciting! I think about how I want my customers to feel at every touch point!

DaniSo whilst we are turning ourselves into pistachios over the next months and looking at the different areas of our business on where we can be more of “us”, I want to leave you with a quote from Sally Hogshead from How to Fascinate  “You don’t learn how to be fascinating, you unlearn how to be boring…and I’ve changed that to “you don’t learn to be a pistachio, you unlearn how to be a vanilla 🙂

Pistachio Greetings from SK Chase!

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