A newsletter dropped into my in-box, and I was intrigued by the classic styling of a tube guitar amplifier from Peavey, so I clicked through and read the little review GAK had provided. If only the e-commerce manager had read it too!
I noticed the sentence that reads "Guitarists at Sweetwater really dig the…" Wait, what?
My fellow guitar players will almost certainly recognise 'Sweetwater' as one of the biggest names in online musical equipment retail… Could GAK really just have done that? I headed over to sweetwater.com and searched 'Peavey', quickly finding the same amp. Sure enough, there was the same text. Hang on… the whole paragraph is the same!
Closer inspection shows the GAK person had started out by re-wording Sweetwater's writeup, which begins: "Gigging guitarists need amps that are dependable, sound great, and are ready for life on the road - and that's how Peavey designed the Classic 20 MH mini tube amp head."
GAK made a brave stab, coming up with "The Peavey Classic 20 Mini Head gives gigging guitarists a dependable amp that sounds great and is ready for life on the road." At least they made an effort… But that was apparently as much as they could be bothered with, opting to copy-and-paste the rest verbatim, apparently without even reading it and realising they were about to grab a reference to their rival site.
So, a word of caution. Not every e-commerce site blindly regurgitates the manufacturer's press release, which is what GAK probably thought Sweetwater had done. Those that do well are the ones who add value, giving their customers not only great prices, but great value. Buying from a place that shows dedication to their products with real interest and passion is very powerful. Sweetwater's page includes an extended product description, multiple photographs, and even a full seven-minute demo video. This is a page you might actually buy from, and GAK clearly know that, which is why even they apparently view it as a great resource!
I've bought an awful lot of guitar and recording gear at GAK over the years (they're a Brighton business after all) but they could learn a lot from Sweetwater in terms of content strategy. The two companies don't really compete, largely operating within their own regions. And GAK are one of the leaders in UK online music equipment retail. But imagine how awesome they would be if they took Sweetwater's example, rather than just taking their copy.
If you want to buy a great little tube amp, these sites can help you: