Game of Thrones returns to our screens this Sunday, and at TheGenieLab, we think this is kind of a big deal. Such a big deal, in fact, that we couldn’t let this momentous day pass without marking it with some kind of celebratory blog post. Something exciting, we thought, something that ties together our two big passions – ecommerce and sword-swinging awesomeness. After all, who doesn’t want to squeeze some GOT geekery into their day job?
But fear not, this isn’t just going to be a tenuously-linked homage to the heart-stopping HBO drama. We’ve actually taken the time to consider what we in ecommerce could learn from all the plotting, persuading and perpetual perniciousness that exists in each and every episode.
And do you know what we found? Despite hailing from a pre-digital age, the heroes of our favourite blood-thirsty drama can actually teach the average ecommerce aficionado a thing or two.
Read the tips and take note. Because, even though it’s April, winter is coming, and the night is dark and full of terrors.
Jaime Lannister – Don’t Let Setbacks Get You Down
Ask any successful entrepreneur about setbacks, and they’ll tell you they’re an unavoidable part of life. So how do you deal with them when they happen to you?
Simple, you do a Jaime Lannister after he has his hand unceremoniously removed: pick yourself up, learn, and move on.
Granted, he throws a little paddy and goes on hunger strike for a wee bit, but we’ll overlook that for the purpose of this article. The poor Kingslayer lost his sword hand, for the sake of the Old Gods and the New!
So once he does get his act together, what can we learn from this sister-loving so-and-so?
Don’t blame yourself – in ecommerce, unlike Game of Thrones – setbacks aren’t personal. Accept what’s happened, look for the lessons that can be learnt and then plough all of your energy into moving on. Oh, and accept help from the people around you. Jaime would be a reet mess if it wasn’t for Brienne of Tarth.
Daenerys Targaryen – Be Creative
Yes, there are plenty of step-by-step guides available to tell you how to set up a halfway decent ecommerce enterprise, but who wants to be halfway decent when you can be epic?
Off the shelf templates are good, but innovation and creativity are better. So, just like Ms. Stormborn of House Targaryen, if you really want to make your mark in ecommerce, then you’ve got to be prepared to break some wheels.
After all, if the Mother of Dragons had gone about things like her predecessors, she wouldn’t have got very far. Nutty dad, arrogant brother, and a husband with an excessive fondness for horses… need we go on?
Think about it, an exciting, creative idea goes a long way. Tom Goodwin put it perfectly recently when he wrote for Tech Crunch:
‘Uber, the world’s largest taxi company, owns no vehicles. Facebook, the world’s most popular media owner, creates no content. Alibaba, the most valuable retailer, has no inventory. And Airbnb, the world’s largest accommodation provider, owns no real estate. Something interesting is happening.’
Big ideas people. If you’ve got one, act on it. Take what is yours with fire and blood and all that, even if you haven’t got any dragons.
Tyrion Lannister – Know and Embrace Your USP
Oh Tyrion, you are our favourite. Wit, intellect, and a healthy appetite for the finer things in life, what more could we ask for? Well, a little advice for budding ecommerce entrepreneurs would be nice…
Luckily, good old Tyrion doesn’t disappoint, and offers wise words that compel us to take what makes us different and use it to our advantage.
Identifying your USP is one of the most important things you can do as a startup. It’s what makes you special, and lets you stand head and shoulders above the crowd (unless yours is similar to Tyrion’s, in which case you’ll need a stack of Yellow Pages). Think about your USP as your raison d’etre. It doesn’t have to make you the best, it just has to make you different.
A cooperative that’s done this spectacularly well is Who Made Your Pants?, an awesome social enterprise that combines lingerie with a love of human rights. Their pants are ethical, and this, they believe, is why you should buy your delicates from them instead of the myriad other silky suspender sellers scattered across the globe. Their USP speaks volumes about their personality and narrows their target market, which, hypothetically, makes them easier to sell to. Good job, ladies!
However, that’s enough about pants for now. Especially considering no one on Game of Thrones seems to wear them. Tywin certainly didn’t have any round his ankles when the Little Lion enacted his revenge, did he?
Arya Stark – Don’t Let Anyone Tell You No
Arya Stark is a girl not to be messed with. She’s used her trusty Needle to make mincemeat out of men three times her size (even if she did go a bit soft on The Hound), and this is despite the fact that she’s lost most of the people she holds dear.
Now, we’re not saying you should add those who cross you to an ominous list that you whisper before you go to sleep, just that if someone tells you no, don’t take it as the last word on the subject.
How? Remarketing, of course! We’ve already written a post on combatting shopping cart abandonment (one of the more frustrating issues we’re faced with in ecommerce) but even if you follow it to the letter, you’re still going to get the odd pain-in-the-neck ditching their basket at the last minute.
So, when this happens, think ‘what would Arya do?’ and go after their business again. There are lots of clever Shopify apps available that can help you reach out to customers who have shown an interest in your products, either by emailing them or subtly reminding them of your wares with targeted PPC. Take a look at them, and give them a go. We promise you won’t be disappointed.
And afterwards, if they’re still not interested? Then it’s time to add them to your hit list.
Jon Snow – Use The Tools at Your Disposal
He’s a pragmatic bastard, is Jon Snow (and we’re allowed to use that word because he is one, so there) and one of the reasons he’s done so well both at The Wall and beyond it, is because he works hard to master his craft and he makes the most of what he’s got.
Can’t have a ‘proper’ Direwolf? He’ll have the little albino, thank you very much.
Make him a steward instead of a ranger? Screw you, Alliser. His time will come!
Captured on the wrong side of The Wall? Well, we all know he made the most of that little excursion, if you catch my drift.
It might not be the most glamourous lesson in the world, but making the most of your resources is vital if you want to get ahead.
And what’s the one major resource that all intrepid ecommerce explorers have at their disposal, no matter what their size? Google Analytics.
Yes, at first, it might seem more confusing than your average Game of Thrones family tree, but, if you take the time to master it, Google Analytics can offer you some powerful insight. Luckily for you, we’ve got an introductory blog post lined up for next week, so check back soon for some useful tips.
So what do you think? Valuable advice? Or did we miss anything out? Leave us a comment or tweet us @TheGenieLab with your own pearls of GOT wisdom. We’d love to hear what you’ve got to say! And, as ever, if you like this post, share it, and give someone else a chance to take ten minutes out of their day in the name of ‘work-related’ research…