Alpaca Farmgirl

  (Fairhope, Alabama)
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What Small Farms Can Learn from Alpaca Nation

Alpaca Nation Means Business


Alpaca Nation recently sent it’s customers an email. In it, they let customers know that they appreciate their participation in their customer satisfaction surveys and that they will be making some changes based on the feedback they received.

They report that they will be upgrading with larger photos, lineage reporting, and show results in the coming months. Alpaca Nation states:

The survey results included a lot of comments about the current economic challenges and our prices.  We are proud of the fact that we have never raised our membership fees in the 10 years since Alpaca Nation started.  However, many members indicated that additional pricing options are desired and that many of the additional services offered by AN, such as ANSync and banner advertising are cost prohibitive.  As a result of this feedback, we are announcing pricing changes.

The email goes on to report that price changes will include AN Sync. This is the service where the updates to customers’ Sales Lists and Herdsire Lists on their own websites are  in sync with their Alpaca Nation listings. (To demonstrate this service, here’s an example: Fairhope Alpacas Sales List and Fairhope Alpacas Alpaca Nation sales list are in sync. When the Alpaca Nation account is updated, the farm website updates as well.) This makes life easier and saves lots of time for breeders. New pricing will be $50/per year for all modules, decreased from pricing that started at $200/year with a $100 set up fee for each module and each module was an extra $100-150.

Alpaca Nation is also lowering their banner ad prices by an average of around $100/ad. Ad price includes design and artwork, which has always given them extra value. They’ve also added new payment terms and new herd count tiers. For more information visit the following:

More about ANSync:
More about Banner Advertising:
More about Membership Prices:

What Can Small Businesses Learn from Alpaca Nation?

  1. Know what your customer needs. How do you do that? Ask. On a small scale, you can call them and ask them. “How are we doing with our customer service?” “How can we serve you better?” “What additional services/products would you like us to provide?”If it’s not feasible to call your target audience, email them a questionnaire or have them fill out a form on-line when they sign up for something or make a purchase. The main point here is to DO something with the information that you gather. Hear what your customers want AND find a way to give it to them. This is a time to build loyalty, not be greedy.
  2. Hear what your customers want and respond to it. Find a way to give it to them. Even if you make less money from each customer, building/maintaining your current client base will ensure your long-term success.
  3. Make your price points more accessible to consumers in the current economic climate. By lowering their ad prices, AlpacaNation will likely increase the number of advertisers which should make up for the revenue lost by lowering ad prices. If your product’s pricing is not accessible, your sales will suffer.
    • *If you are selling alpacas, I am not suggesting you sell them “cheap”. Instead, consider offering a select number of animals at a lower price or put together a discounted package price. In this economic climate, I generally recommend that alpaca breeders hold their alpaca investments and grow their herds. That said, do continue to create cash flow and build your customer base by making prices more accessible to a larger target audience with a small percentage of alpacas from your herd if your herd is large enough to do so.

  4. Research your competition. Find out what services the competition is offering…and beat it. Alpaca Nation is the 2,000 lb. gorilla when it comes to advertising alpacas on-line. They were the first on the scene and they own the market share. It is hard to imagine anyone else catching them when it comes to internet traffic. Within the past few years, other on-line alpaca sales sites have come onto the scene. They have done several things to try to compete with Alpaca Nation, including offering FREE sales sync programs, and fees and ad rates that are lower than Alpaca Nation’s. Rather than resting on their laurels and letting their disgruntled customers gradually drift over to the competition, they are meeting the challenge head-on. The recent move to make these same services on Alpaca Nation more accessible with new lower pricing, should allow Alpaca Nation to maintain most of their current customers.

Thanks to King Kong traffic statistics, Alpaca Nation will maintain their spot atop the Empire State Building of alpaca internet sales lists for the foreseeable future.

What other business lessons can we learn from those at the top of their respective fields? Leave a comment and tell us.

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Posted by greedy on April 19, 2009 at 07:32 PM CDT #

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