Developing Trust

As I develop an online marketplace for authenticated pre-owned luxury watches, people often ask me the following question:  How are you going to develop trust with your customers?

The question is certainly very relevant.  If eRelyx can’t develop trust with its customers, the business is bound to fail.

Unfortunately, there isn’t one thing alone that eRelyx can do to gain trust.  Trust must be earned through a combination of activities/strategies.  Here is my take on what online businesses like eRelyx can do to earn the trust of their customers:

  1. Be accessible to your customers. An email address isn’t enough.  When push comes to shove, people want to speak to a real person.  Put a phone number on the website.
  2. Give your company a face. Post pictures of the management team (and others) on your website.  Customers like to know that they are dealing with real people – not robots.
  3. Look professional. If you are trying to build a real business, spend some money/time on your website.  Looks aren’t everything, but I’d be more inclined to trust a well-built, polished website as opposed to one that’s filled with clip art and held together by tape and bubblegum.
  4. Embrace social media. I spent hours and hours on the phone interviewing web development firms.  One of the things that convinced me to hire the firm that I did was their Facebook page.  The firm had hundreds of followers who endorsed their services.  Like it or not, Facebook and Twitter matter.
  5. (Really 4a) Let your customers do your talking for you. Sure, you can tell people that you’re trust-worthy until you’re blue in the face, but it’s more credible coming from your customers.  Have your current customers write testimonials.  Tell prospective customers to post questions/concerns on your Facebook page or Twitter.  Current customers not responding?  Then you probably need to do more to exceed their expectations.
  6. Partner with established, credible companies.  If possible, develop partnerships with other trusted brands.  Ever heard the expression, “Guilt by association”?  The reverse (positive) is also true.
  7. Blog.  And be yourself. It’s hard for customers to relate to you if all you blog about is your business, products, and/or services.  Too many people blog solely to increase their search rankings.  That’s important, but why not write about stuff that will also make your readers relate to you as a person?  Make them know that you’re real – that you have real feelings, real emotions.   You’ve given your business a face by posting your picture.  Now give it a heart with your blog.
  8. Exceed expectations. You need to exceed your customers’ expectations so that they’ll help out with points 4 and 5.  The goal is not to develop satisfied customers.  The goal is to develop customers who promote your business.

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Ludacris Watch

A couple of weeks ago I blogged about musicians’ love of watches.  Well, it’s nice to see that the trend continues.  Check out the watch / retirement fund that Ludacris was wearing at the 2010 BET Awards on Sunday.  It’s tough to tell exactly who manufactured the watch, but it’s probably a custom creation of Jacob & Co.  It’s definitely not your everyday Rolex, Panerai, Breitling, or IWC.

On thing is certain – it got tougher and tougher for Ludacris to tell what time it was with every swig of that bottle.

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(Photo by PR Photos)

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Entourage Season 7, Episode 1

Season 7 of Entourage premiered on Sunday night and it was clear what the writers and producers wanted to accomplish – create an entertainment sausage jam-packed with as many bits and pieces of male interests and activities as possible.

Girls?  Check.

Gadgets?  Check.

Cars?  Check.

Explosions, poker, video games, beer, weed, and watches?

Check, check, check, check, check, and check.

What?  No golf?

Unfortunately, I think most viewers walked away from the episode hungry or sick to their stomach.  Hopefully Entourage will serve up a tastier meal next week.

That’s not so say that there weren’t a few enjoyable bites this week.

In terms of cars, the Mercedes S550 stole the show.  Mercedes was probably getting sick of seeing other manufacturers like Aston Martin and Maserati trying to increase mindshare in the luxury marketplace.

Of course there were women thanks to Turtle’s new business venture – car service with beautiful young women headlined by Dania Ramirez, Annie Ilonzeh, Jamie Lee Darley, and Genesis Rodriguez.  While all of those women are beautiful, Emmanuelle Chriqui still holds the throne as the darling of Entourage.  Unfortunately she only made a brief cameo.

Dania Ramirez

Genesis Rodriguez

Emmanuelle Chriqui

Gadgets also played a prominent role in the episode.  Turtle and Drama spent some time playing the Xbox 360.  Wonder why Sony hasn’t tried to get their PS3 on the show.  And as always, mobile phones got their fair share of screen time.  Ari and Eric were using Blackberries (Ari seemed to be carrying around two for most of the episode) and Vince was seen using an iPhone 3.  HTC even made a brief appearance when Ari took a call from Eric.

The cast also displayed some fancy watches – the two most notable being Turtle’s Panerai Luminor Chrono and the movie director’s Gold IWC Big Pilot.  It’ll be interesting to see what watches make appearances throughout the season – Drama and Ari were sporting two noticeable watches, but it was tough to tell what they were.  Any ideas?

Enjoy the show – I’ll be blogging about the cars, gadgets, girls, and watches all season long. Please join my facebook page to stay up to date: eRelyx Facebook page

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(Watch photos by IWC and Panerai)

(Other photos by PR Photos)

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Entourage Season Seven

The new season of Entourage is upon us.  If the past six seasons are any indication, we can expect a heavy dose of cars, gadgets, girls, and watches (I hope).

In previous seasons we’ve seen the boys rolling in Maseratis and Aston Martins.  This season expect to see the Porsche Panamera join the party.  It’s not a surprising choice given that the gang likes their cars fast, sexy, and expensive.

In terms of gadgets, expect to see plenty of iPads and Blackberries.  With Research in Motion facing an onslaught of competition from cooler, hipper brands like HTC and Apple, the company will attempt to stay relevant by placing their Blackberry smartphones in the hands of Ari, Eric, and the other boys.  It’ll be interesting to see if the new iPhone 4 makes an appearance (and if so, how it’s being held).

While we can expect ample airtime for Emmanualle Chriqui, there will be other women trying to share the spotlight.  Four of those women are Autumn Reeser, Sasha Grey, Dania Ramirez, and Jessica Simpson (Five bucks there’s a chicken of the sea or buffalo wing joke worked in there).  While those women are beautiful, I think it’s safe to say that Emmanuelle Chriqui will remain the queen of Entourage.  Agreed?

Autumn Reeser

Sasha Grey

Dania Ramirez

Jessica Simpson

And finally, we should see a few luxury watches make their way on to the show.  Ari is good for an Audemars Piguet or two.  But what will the other boys be wearing on their wrists?  Here are my guesses:  Vinny strikes me as a Panerai guy – bold, aggressive, and trendy.  Turtle would definitely be interested in a large, hip, unique watch – perhaps a square Bell & Ross BR01-92 or a Romain Jerome Titantic DNA.  Eric is a bit more classic and conservative, so he’d probably sport an IWC Portuguese.  Drama is a wildcard given his interesting sense of style.  Always wanting to impress those around him, he’d probably stick with the king of watch brands – Rolex (likely a Daytona or Submariner).  We’ll see what happens as the season unfolds.

Enjoy the show – I’ll be blogging about the cars, gadgets, girls, and watches all season long. Please join my facebook page to stay up to date: eRelyx Facebook page

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(Photos by PR Photos, Apple, and Porsche)

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Watches From the NBA Draft

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As many of you know, the 2010 NBA Draft was held at Madison Square Garden last night.  Most people tune in to see which players are drafted in the lottery and which player(s) their hometown team drafts.  Not me.  I tune in to count the buttons on the players’ suits and check out the watches on their wrists.  While the suits were disappointing (read: relatively normal) last night, the luxury watches were out in full force.

I had a feeling watches would play a prominent role this year.  In the latest issue of ESPN the Magazine, John Wall was photographed wearing an expensive Audemars Piguet watch.  What 19-year-old wears a watch the costs five figures (if not six)?  Answer: one that has just signed a lucrative shoe deal and is about to sign a multi-million dollar basketball contract.

When John Wall wore a different, very expensive watch to the Draft, I knew we were in for a big night.  Here were my takeaways from the draft:

  1. NBA players love big watches – makes sense – they’re big guys.
  2. The love expensive watches – I think DeMarcus Cousins could propose to 200 girls if he disassembled his watch
  3. They love custom watches – I don’t think I could identify one watch brand last night
  4. They read my blog about watches being good investments. (Click here)
  5. I need to advertise my business to NBA players who underperform – at some point they’re going to sell those watches, right?

Let’s take a look at some of the wrist clocks (most of them are too big to call watches) from last night.  Apologies for the poor quality pictures.

Pick #1: John Wall

Pick #2: Evan Turner

Pick #3: Derrick Favors

Pick #5: DeMarcus Cousins  (DeBeers just called.  They said thanks for helping them make their quarter)

Pick #6: Epke Udoh

Pick #8: Al-Farouq Aminu (nice specs, too)

Pick #10: Paul George

Pick #11: Cole Aldrich

Pick #13: Ed Davis

Pick #17: Kevin Seraphin

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Get Your Rolex Submariner Now

One of the reasons I love watches is because they can be great investments.  Buy the right watch, and it will appreciate over time.  Two brands that have experienced significant price appreciation are Panerai and Rolex.  Case in point: The Stainless Steel Rolex Submariner.

In the fall of 2006, I made my first significant watch investment.  I bought a S/S Rolex Submariner for  $4,525.  Certainly a hefty price.  Fast forward to today.  The same watch is now $6,000.  But, if you want a Rolex Submariner, you better get to your local watch dealer ASAP.  When the new model is rolled out in the near future, the price tag will read $7,250.

So let’s see.  In four years the price of a Rolex Sub has increased a whopping 60%.  Over that same time period, the stock market is down about 15% (not including dividend reinvestment).  And btw – you can’t wear a stock certificate.  Well, you can, but it might look funny.

So you heard it here first.  Sell stocks.  Buy watches.

If you want a Rolex Submariner, I recommend Long’s Jewelers – that’s where I got mine.  Check them out: Long’s.  You can either visit the store in person or give them a call.

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Prince William Wears Omega

Prince William was recently photographed at the 350th Royal Society Anniversary Event in London.  From the looks of it he’s sporting an Omega watch.  Not surprising – I bet he wishes he was James Bond.  Okay, maybe not.

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(Photo by PR Photos)

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I love Entourage

As fans, there are so many reasons to love Entourage.  There are just as many reasons for advertisers to love it.

Looking to market your product(s) to 18-40 year old men?  Getting your product placed in an episode of Entourage will likely give sales a major boost.  Most male viewers relate to one of the Entourage guys in one way or another – and let’s face it – we’re all a touch jealous.  Sure, there’s the stardom, the crazy parties, and the girls (more on that later), but there’s also the amazing collection of toys and gadgets.

If you’re a smartphone manufacturer, you want the audience to see Ari and E toting around your latest creation.  I wouldn’t be surprised to see Blackberry make a huge push this season – they’re losing the “cool” battle with Apple and HTC.

If you’re a car manufacturer, your brand would get a huge boost if Vince bought E the latest model.  Or if Turtle chauffeured the boys in your car.  Many of the top brands have made appearances on the show – Aston Martin, Maserati, BMW, Cadillac, Lexus, etc.  It’ll be interesting to see which car manufacturer ponies up the money this season.  Might be a great way for a manufacturer to pitch their latest hybrid model and give it the “cool factor” that will help drive sales with the younger male crowd.  Be careful though, it has to be believable – there’s no way that Mark Wahlberg will let his boys roll around in a Prius.

Finally, I think watches will play a bigger role on Entourage this season.  Ari has already sported a few luxury watches like Audemars Piguet, but I think that you’ll see the boys up their game in this department.  And why wouldn’t watch manufacturers want their brand on the show?  I wouldn’t be surprised if brands like Panerai, Breitling, Rolex, and/or Cartier join the watch fray this season.  For me, watches are the 4th leg of the man-stool (in no particular order): 1. Cars 2. Gadgets 3. Watches 4. Women.

And speaking of women – one of the reasons that Entourage does so well with the male crowd is the ladies.  Here are the top five women of Entourage:

5.  (tie) Carla Gugino and Perrey Reeves.  Sure, Entourage is dominated by women in their 20s.  However, it’s these two 30-somethings that often steal the screen.  Carla sizzles as Vince’s agent/love interest Amanda Daniels.  Perrey plays Mrs. Gold – Ari’s strong, opinionated, sexy wife.

4.  Leighton Meester.  Leighton is known for her role as Blair Waldorf on Gossip Girl, but she also made three appearances on Entourage as Justine Chapin, a self-proclaimed virgin who has a strong crush on Vince.

3.  Jessica Alba.  Okay, so Jessica was only on the show for a few minutes.  And it was way back in 2004.  But it’s Jessica Alba.  Good enough for me.

2.  Malin Akerman.  Malin played Sloan’s friend Tori.  She made a big splash in her short time on the show – let’s just say that she, Sloan, and E got really close…at the same time.

1. Emmanuelle Chriqui.  There’s not much to say about Emmanuelle, who plays E’s now-fiancee Sloan.  She’s cute and she’s cool.  What’s not to love?

And speaking of the women of Entourage, the website “The Frisky” is reporting that Mark Wahlberg is developing a female version of the show.  My first reaction – We don’t need another Sex in the City.  However, if Mark Wahlberg is involved, it’s bound to be infinitely more exciting (at least from the male perspective).

Check out our previous post discussing the reasons why we love Entourage – click here.

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(Photos by PR Photos)

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Celebrity Watches – June 21, 2010 – Jay-Z

Jay-Z was spotted outside of the Ed Sullivan Theater (where the Late Show with Dave Letterman is filmed) yesterday wearing a fancy luxury watch.  It looks like an Audemars Piguet, but it’s difficult to tell for sure.  There are a few things that make me believe it may be an Audemars Piguet:

  1. Jay-Z has worked with AP to develop a watch with his name attached (his signature is actually engraved on the caseback) – Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Chronograph “Jay-Z” Special Edition Platinum (Only 20 Pieces)
  2. The leather band looks an awful lot like an AP band
  3. Two pieces of metal connecting the case and the band is something that you see on many AP models

The only thing that’s throwing me off is the placement of the subdials on the face of the watch.

What do you think?

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(Photos by PR Photos)

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Dear Young Stars – Wear Watches on the Red Carpet

As I was looking at the red carpet pictures from this weekend’s MuchMusic Video Awards, four things came to mind:

1.  Today’s young female celebrities don’t like wearing luxury watches when they hit the red carpet

I don’t really get why they aren’t wearing watches.  Maybe they want onlookers to focus on their dresses and not their accessories.  I get that.  But some of them are wearing bracelets.  If you’re going to wear a bracelet, you might as well wear a watch.  Because a watch is just like a bracelet except it also tells time.  So it really renders the bracelet useless.  It’s kind of like comparing an iPhone (watch) to an iPod Touch (bracelet).  If you’ve got an iPhone, why would you ever carry around the iPod Touch?  Okay, so my logic isn’t perfect.  BUT, I would like to see today’s young stars wearing more watches.  Check out Whitney Port (The City), Jessica Szohr (Gossip Girl), Kristin Cavallari (The Hills), Ashley Greene (Twilight), Shenae Grimes (90210).

2.  The cast of Jersey Shore is still being invited to big events

Okay. 15 minutes passed.  And then Jersey Shore 2 was announced.  Another 15 minutes.  Haven’t THOSE 15 minutes passed too?  I mean, they’ve been around for more than 30 minutes by now.  The good news is that Pauly D wears a huge, fancy watch – so at least he spent his money wisely.  Anyway – more power to those guys.  Soak it up.

3.  Katy Perry and Ke$ha are in an all out war for attention

I’ll admit it.  I like both of them.  Well, I like their music (they get some play on my ipod).  And Katy Perry seems pretty cool.  I don’t know enough about Ke$ha to form an opinion.  What I do know is that these two ladies, along with Lady Gaga, are in an all-out battle for attention.  From what I can tell, they’re all getting their fair share…for different reasons.  The only problem is that they’re not wearing watches – like anyone would even notice.  Do you agree?  Check it out:

4.  It’s time that everyone takes a page out of Will Shadley’s red carpet playbook.  Check out that Curtis & Co. watch.  That’s how it’s done!

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Photos by PR Photos.

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