There are a lot of bold claims that businesses can make that don't require hard evidence. It's easy to call yourself "the best," but backing that up is a dubious task.
When a business touts themselves as "the best," what data could they be using to qualify that statement? How can you measure "the best?" Some metrics you might use would be traffic or search rankings. But just because you're good at SEO, does that make you "the best?" And it's not like you, as the consumer, can peek behind the curtain and see the inner workings of various businesses to see how they're running from day to day. Are they ethical? How do they treat their employees?
Here's the truth: 420 Science is not the biggest online headshop. We don't get the most traffic, and we don't have the most SKUs. All things that "the best" might have.
None of these things matter to us. Being the biggest isn't what we're about. 420 Science will never be the Amazon of bongs.
For 420 Science, there was something that we knew we could claim and have the proof to back it up. Something that doesn't come overnight, and it's impossible to fake. What 420 Science has is trust. A trust that we've been building since 2004. Our products have been sold all over the world. We've decorated nearly a million 420 Jars in our two kilns. You can't buy trust.
There are other ways to measure trust.
Knowing your customers is crucial for an online retailer. We don't have the advantage of face to face interactions that you'd get in a brick and mortar shop. So last year we conducted a survey with over 5000 of our customers and fans. We asked the typical questions you'd think of: flowers vs. dabs, joints vs. bongs, etc. But as an online headshop, in a sea of many online headshops, we had to wonder, what's the most important factor when buying online? You guessed it, trust.
Okay, I realize that's not hard empirical evidence, but these are people that buy from us, so it's not too big of a leap to assume these are customers who trust us.
These are two good, but somewhat biased examples. Is there a way we measure trust objectively? As it turns out, yes, at least for us, there's a clear indicator that we can claim to be the most trusted online headshop.
Alexa.com is an analytics service that allows websites to see their ranking in comparison to other sites. It creates a competitive analysis based on multiple factors. Things like overall traffic, time on site, and basic demographics. One of the other useful data sets is where a site's traffic is coming from. Are they finding us using search? Ads? Social media?
Using Alexa, we've found that a majority of our traffic is direct. That means that our customers are directly entering our URL into the search bar. But that's not interesting until you compare this to our peers.
The difference is stark. What's clear is we suck at SEO, but it's also clear that our customers are coming to us because of who we are.
As a marketer, you can assume that means these are people who are loyal to your brand. They know you by name. They didn't find you because they were searching for the "best" online headshop. They arrived here because they trust the 420 Science brand.
We've always believed in doing the right thing for our customers and employees. We treat them like we want to be treated. It's not rocket science. This attitude builds trust with our customers, and we've been building it for over 12 years.
Best is subjective. Best is fleeting. We believe trust is universal. I don't have any trepidation when I call our site the most trusted online headshop because we have the data to back it up.
Co-Founder, 420 Science