Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Grand & Toy Gets Ambitious

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.)


Optrix said...

Great article! You are right about the website not mentioning WebHosting and how difficult it is to navigate. Very concerning that if they cannot get their website right, what kind of product will they do for the small businesses? Like you said, graphic art students or even teenagers will be alot cheaper and could be alot faster, looks like it takes weeks for Grand & Toy to get the website done. Heard that the job is outsourced anyways...so why not just cut out the middle man Grand & Toy

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Hey.......now only I hear about these things regarding webhosting......thanks....keep it up....