Is it just me, or are Not On The High Street kind of missing the point nowadays?
Firstly, I should say I used to love notonthehighstreet.com a couple of years back – in terms of design, user experience, conversion etc I used it as a reference point for many an eCommerce site development.
It’s still is a good reference point to be fair to them, but their slowness to adapt to mobile or have a responsive design always irked me. I also used to love their products and what they stood for.
Secondly, surely having adverts on TV goes against the idea that these are unique gifts and products that you can’t find en masse? I liked the fact that I could speak to people about the site and no-one had heard about them, as well as being able to get gifts and products that no-one had seen before, but that’s all changed since they’ve self proclaimed as being one of the “fastest-growing e-commerce businesses” and have “2 million unique visitors a month”.
‘Where We Want To Be’
On their ‘Our Story‘ page under the sub-header of ‘Where We Want To Be’ they say:
Is it wrong to say ‘everywhere’?”
From the same page:
Their founding ideal is one that we stick to today: to hunt out the most original items from the best creative small businesses, and bring them together in one place, making it easy for people to browse and buy.”
I point out the words there ‘founding ideal’. The company started off with 100 companies, cherry picking the best products; Nowadays they are “thousands” of sellers each paying £199 + VAT and 25% commission on every sale they make.
Yes, they probably do have successes where sellers have gone from zero to £1million turnover. But that’s nice little money earner for them given the commission!
Forgotten Their ‘Founding Ideal’
I do get the model. I truly do. After setting up the company over a kitchen table with a basic idea, I can see why they’ve taken the idea and run with it – after all it’s probably set them up for life.
I just think they have forgotten their founding ideal, or have at least forgotten the ‘small company’ who they are not only charging a fee to join but a 25% commission for each and every order thereafter.
Impact On Small Businesses & SEO
Relating this back to SEO, the success of NOTHS and one of the main selling points to potential sellers is that they have “the best SEO so you show up better in search engines like Google or Yahoo”. If you do Google some of the terms you would expect to find their featured products, you’ll find that they do indeed seem to rank highly for all the major terms.
From my point of view, that means small businesses will now always forever struggle to outrank NOTHS, and the SEO clout that a company of this size gets in the long run means that the small businesses they were designed to help will forever get the short end of the stick.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author.