I love office-supply stores, but I have always had a love-hate relationship with Grand & Toy.
As a kid I remember wandering into their store at Yonge and Eglinton in Toronto and wondering why they didn't have any toys. ("Grand" and "Toy," I learned later, were the company founders .) Later I could never understand why they had two sets of prices -- one for retail customers, and huge discounts for commercial accounts.
When Staples and Office Depot bought big, bright stores and high-tech wizardry to Canada's office-supply market, Grand & Toy seemed to be caught napping. But now G&T, which calls itself Canada's No. 1 source for "complete business solutions," is staking a leadership claim by helping small businesses get online.
According to a release published today, "To show that they understand and support the needs of Canadian small businesses, Grand & Toy has launched Website Design & Hosting services, an easy and affordable way for entrepreneurs and smaller organizations from coast-to-coast to be available 24/7."
"At Grand & Toy we know that time and money are limited for small business owners," said David Addison, General Manager, Services. "But we also know the potential of growing that business with a simple website offering. That is why with our new Website Design & Hosting services, small businesses can have a site that looks as professional as the large corporations at a fraction of the cost."
Costs? G&T offers "an impactful, customized website design" beginning at $499.95. It also offers hosting plans from $12 a month.
Many business owners have trouble knowing what to put on a website or where to find the help they need, so this service appears to meet a huge industry need. The test, of course, is in the details of the pricing, and the quality G&T offers.
Web design for small business is often handled by kids, friends of friends, or networking specialists who know nothing about design, so there is room for a quality, brand-name service.
But I have my doubts that G&T can compete on price, which, in my experience, is the No. 1 concern for most small business owners. Competing with teenagers and students is never easy.
For more information on the new service, click here.
(Bonus note on selling to business owners: Help your customers find information fast. Grand & Toy's press release commits a cardinal error by directing prospects to their home page, www.grandandtoy.com. Any busy entrepreneur who hits that page will look around a few seconds, observe that web design and hosting are mentioned nowhere, and then take off. Never to return.
Don't expect them to persevere and go, "Hmm, should I try clicking under "Home? Technology? Services? G&T Brand? Deals? Customer Service? Heck, I've got all day, I'll click them all!"
Pick an easy URL, (e.g., www.GrandandToy.com/web) and communicate directly.
Never expect entreprenurs to make an effort to find the information you've promised. They ain't that interested.)