On the Web, Show Prospects You’re a Real Company; Not Simply a Fly-by-Night
Don L. Kotula
CEO + Founder
It’s B-to-B, but overall, it’s lacking a little. Northern Tool gets a B- .
Not Enough Info
The children’s toys cataloger HearthSong (www.HearthSong.com), which is division of 1-800-Flowers.com, doesn’t flaunt its considerably higher-profile owner — for better or for worse. It doesn’t hide this fact either, placing in small and very light type at the bottom of its home page “Our family of brands,” a list that also includes sister catalogs, 1-800-Flowers.com, Ambrosia Wine, Cheryl&Co., Fannie May, Plow & Hearth and The Popcorn Factory.
As for HearthSong’s “About Us” (www.hearthsong.com/hearthsong/about/index.asp) and “Company History” (www.hearthsong.com/hearthsong/about/history.asp) links, both tell a fairly thorough story that’s plenty convincing for the most skeptical of shoppers. But I was a little put off by the “Contacting Us” link (www.hearthsong.com/hearthsong/service/contact_us.asp), which I could only find upon clicking on the “Customer Service” link. It only includes an e-mail form and an 800 number.
On other pages, HearthSong also offers a “Need Help? E-mail (which is hyperlinked) or call us at 1-800-533-4397.” But nowhere could I find a specific company address and corporate office phone number. So if I’m not overly familiar with this company, I’m still coming away a little unsure about it and thus I give HearthSong a C+ .
Play Up Your Parent?
Then I got to the athletic shoe merchant Eastbay (www.Eastbay.com) and I went “ahhh…,” because this company really gets it right. Scroll to the bottom, find the “Company Information” link (www.eastbay.com/content/custserv/help--contact/Q--2/), and bingo, you get a write-up on what this company is all about, what it has to offer and its history.
Some companies prefer to keep their parent ownership low-key. But Eastbay openly discusses its 1997 sale to Woolworth (which later changed over to Foot Locker), how “an era ended” in 1999 when its co-founders retired, and so forth.