The New York Times has a nice profile of a San Jose, California business successfully using technology in their business. All is not perfect, but they are thriving, lowering costs and boosting productivity with technology.
The article goes over their challenges and success with social media, email marketing, cloud computing, fraud protection, online coupons and more!
The business: JetPens, based in San Jose, Calif., is a 14-person online retailer of mostly Japanese pens and pen-related paraphernalia. The slick, slightly edgy Web site is packed with stuff that you won’t find just anywhere, including pens designed specifically for drawing Japanese Manga-style cartoon art and a five-function eraser. As a result, JetPens has drawn a cult following and fills about 100,000 orders a year.
The owner: Adrian Mak founded the company along with two Stanford University classmates back in 2004. Mr. Mak and his colleagues started the business with $9,000 of their own money because, well, they loved Japanese pens and figured — correctly, as it turned out — that other people would love them, too, if they could get them.
Sources of expertise: Mr. Mak, who did all the programming and I.T. work himself until a few years go, when he hired a full-time tech person, remains a bit leery of I.T. consultants. “We have a lot of customer data and don’t have the sorts of resources that a large company would to protect the integrity of the data when outsiders are working with it,” he said. “Also, the customer experience on the Web site is the core of what we do. We felt we should avoid outsourcing something that important to us.”