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The way technology is today, if you're selling a tangible product, it's probably a commodity. The old days of producing unique, hard-to-copy products are going the way of the dodo bird. We might be able to offer small differences or improvements over the competition, but those are usually short-lived. If it CAN be copied, it WILL be copied.

Regardless, we still need to separate ourselves from the competition in ways other than price. 

One of my BFFs, Vicky Warren, shared a great example of how a small online retailer creates a unique relationship with its customers even though its products are commodities. Even worse, its products can be bought from multiple stores — online and brick and mortar.

DogSupplies.com has only seven employees, so we know they don't have a big marketing department. Clearly, whoever IS running the show understands the importance of building relationships and providing something unique to their customers. 

Existing customers are sent a message encouraging them to request a drawing on the outside of the box of their next order. Vicky sent a message she received from Greg:

Last week I sent out an email reminding you about our secret drawings you can request to have on your boxes. Nobody knows about this extra personal attention except for our private existing customers.

You've really outdone yourselves on these drawing requests!

Check out some of these drawings here.

http://www.dogsupplies.com/pages/box-photos.html

I think they turned out pretty well.

Anytime you place an order with us, feel free to ask for a box drawing and we'll gladly whip something up for you. All you have to do is enter the following in the order comments box during checkout.

"Please draw a …… on my box"

Enjoy the pictures and have a great weekend!

Greg

Clearly, their employees are not great artists. Here are a couple of examples (click the image to view full size):

Box11Box12

But who cares? These are fun, personalized additions to an order! Dog and cat owners are notoriously crazy when it comes to their pets. (Many of you have heard my own stories about my strange, but awesome dog,
Hercules.)

DogSupplies.com shows you don't need a big budget to be different. I'll bet customers look forward to the drawing on the box and I'll bet a lot of drawings are cut out and kept somewhere (probably taped to the refrigerator.) I'll bet a lot of customers become repeat customers. In addition, I'll bet a lot of customers share their personalized drawings with friends.

I can't wait to see MY drawing.