THE METAL ART INDUSTRY AND WHAT M.A.G. IS DOING DIFFERENT
Photo by Clark Young
Interview with Founder of Metal Art Global, Nate Spickard.
Buh-bye inferior décor. Metal art pieces are steadily taking over our living rooms and bedrooms, delivering not only style and a contemporary charm but also durability and great value. Metal art has a fresh look that can turn your home into an ultramodern and exciting space. Paintings and pictures are beautiful, but metal art pieces are forever.
WHO IS THE FOUNDER OF METAL ART GLOBAL?
My name is Nate Spickard, the brains behind Metal Art Global (MAG). MAG is a budding metal art store that creates exquisite timeless art pieces from metal. We add sophisticated beauty to homes and create memorable gifts for loved ones. I also run several social media enterprises by day, and I’m a family man by night. In the various businesses I have participated in, value addition is the biggest driver for all customer needs.
Metal art pieces deliver just that, longevity, and low maintenance costs. Taking this direction for home decoration and gifting guarantees excellent value for money.
OH, SO WHAT DOES SOCIAL MEDIA HAVE TO WITH METAL ART?
Social media entrepreneurship has taught me just how digital infrastructure can vitalize customer experience and improve product value. The metal industry has been sluggish to innovations, particularly in customer experience and shipping times. The adoption of techniques that iron out these challenges could be what it
takes to tip the scales of balance.
INNOVATION IS LACKING IN THE METAL ART INDUSTRY, YOU SAY? WHY IS THAT?
A look at metal art websites currently reveals a severe deficit in material and design options for the buyer. In an era where customers are spoilt for choice in all product offerings, metal fabricators remain behind. Designs are mostly Photoshop and cookie-cutter, and that leads to limited usability of the resultant pieces. And there is not much to boast about customer service either. Often shipping of metal art pieces takes several weeks, making metallic art a counterintuitive gift option.
AND STILL, YOU EXPECT METAL ART AND DECOR TO TAKE OVER?
The trend has already started, and all that is required is for metal art providers to smoothen operations and optimize output quality. I have worked in many industries, including finance, but from my expert analysis, no market holds potential like metal art. This potential, which also includes job creations for hundreds to thousands of Americans, can only be unlocked when we start looking into ways to meet actual buyer needs.
WHAT HAVE YOU DONE ON YOUR PART TO CHANGE THAT?
Now, it’s not easy being a digital entrepreneur, family man, and visionary industrialist. Still, I try. My vision for MAG is to differentiate it from all other metal art companies through superior quality service and speedy deliveries. Excellent customer service is our family vision and legacy. We want to meet all the requirements for the metal art lovers and décor experts and enthusiasts seeking beauty and value from their pieces.
We aim to provide gifts that can be cherished for years to come, and probably become family heirlooms. Every day we push the limits for indoor and outdoor décor as well. Thankfully, our creative team likes to think beyond black-and-white styles and solutions.
No matter which product category you go for, you can expect that MAG will deliver first-grade and timely art pieces.
WHAT WOULD YOU SAY SETS MAG APART FROM THE REST?
We want to have the most extensive catalogs on the market. No customer should have to put up with design limitations. We want to deliver vibrant and stylish metal art designs. We have dedicated people with powerful ideas working to produce fresh designs in new colors and sizes for our customers’ diverse needs.
At MAG, we also make your objectives our own by giving you the chance to order custom options. Customized metal art pieces should be the direction of the whole industry. I believe that even with the most powerful in-house designers, customers should still have to take the driver’s seat in ordering and designing art pieces. It is going to take the provision of versatile metal art designs to excite consumer interest in this sector.
SUSTAINABILITY IS INDEED, A HOT TOPIC. BUT WHAT CAN BE DONE TO IMPROVE SUPPORT?
There is no doubt about the degree of change that’s needed to ease the process of buying and getting metal art pieces. The growth of digital platforms has led to consumers that can accept nothing that falls short of instant gratification. Live chat could help to complement 24/7 phone support. That’s what we are implementing at Metal Art Global. Digitizing customer services has several advantages for both the art buyer and the seller. There is instant feedback and quick issue resolution, which, by the way, are must-have ingredients for happy and loyal customers.
At MAG, we have seen just how chat helps to accelerate customer conversations live and how it is an integral part of the buyer journey. But a quick jump over to Twitter and Facebook is not guaranteed to work like magic. In essence, every enterprise must carry out a keen analysis of their audience needs and requirements then design a customer service digital process that best caters to these needs. What we aim to accomplish at Metal Art Global is to boost transparency and save customers the frustrations they experience with other metal art providers.
Our 24-hour phone support is human-operated, not AI. We are the first on this—no other metal art company currently provides 24-hour human assistance.
MOST COMPANIES TALK ABOUT CAPABILITIES AND MACHINERY. BUT YOU EMPHASIZE CUSTOMER SERVICE. WHY?
Customers want to be heard, that’s the short and direct answer. No one is a passive consumer of products these days. Users want to have a say in your products and processes. They even want to have a say in how you market to them. There is, therefore, a critical need for streamlining customer relationships and
communication before we even begin talking about capabilities and equipment. We are doing things differently at Metal Art Global.
Insight from our customer interactions is what informs our processes. We provide a timely response to all customer questions and comments. Each technological capability we bring on board is then geared to address specific needs and expectations. That helps us to deliver more value while keeping costs low for us and eventually for the customer.
REDUCE COSTS, HOW? AND HOW DOES THAT TRICKLE DOWN TO THE METAL ART BUYER?
We work together with our customers. Listening to your customers is the most sensible thing to do as an entrepreneur. By tuning our operations and products to what customers want, we save ourselves from unnecessary inventory expenses. Our catalogs are produced and improved as a result of customer feedback. And our customers must be really smart because currently, we have a commendably steep demand for our art pieces.
Now, I must also mention relationship marketing and how it saves us from high marketing costs. Our relationships with clients are never transactional. When we ship the art pieces to you, that’s not a done deal; we will follow up and identify ways to help you install or maintain them with ease. This philosophy works excellently and has helped us improve loyalty and customer retention rates. All the cost savings from operational and marketing efficiency enables us to slash down costs for all our art buyers. It’s just that simple. If our customers were to work with another company that doesn’t care to improve their products and services through customer feedback, they would feel the pinch in their wallets.
HOW DO YOU PROVIDE CUSTOM METAL ART PIECES?
Our customers have a creative mind. Our purpose at Metal Art Global is to provide the space to express that and turn the creative juice into masterpieces. We have a quick and simple online design tool that takes you through the stepwise process of ordering a custom metal art piece.
Currently, there is no way for customers to get the feel of a metal art piece before they are shipped. After cutting and painting, customers are not able to request any other changes, and that impacts usability in significant ways.
You might realize later on that the color or size of your ordered piece doesn’t work well for your desired application.
WHAT DO YOU DO THEN?
In a perfect world, it should be easy to return the metal art piece and get your refund. But not all metal companies have such favorable return policies. At Metal Art Global, we aim to solve such issues before they escalate.
We are in the process of creating an amazing feature that can significantly optimize the customer experience. This advanced technology will enable our customers to interact with and visualize our designs much better. It beats the old and restricting methodology of buying items by browsing through pictures. By getting a ‘life-like’ feel of each metal art pieces in our catalogs, you will be able to make informed and sure buying decisions.
The try-as you-buy experience will help you choose an item that delivers on all your expectations in beauty and performance.
SO, YOU DON’T HAVE A RETURN POLICY?
We absolutely do have a return policy, one of the best ones in the industry, for that matter. Our exploration of advanced technology simply aims to save customers’ time and make shopping with MAG an exciting endeavor. But we allow a hassle-free return for art pieces that fail to meet expectations, which is a rare occurrence, by the way.
A return policy is good for online stores, and ideally, it should be the first thing to look at before hitting the buy button on any site.
Our easy return policy guarantees the quality of our art pieces. We are willing to take the product back if it doesn’t work for you as expected. So, you can rest easy knowing that no single cent “goes down the drain” when you shop with us.
I NOW SEE HOW SOCIAL MEDIA STRATEGIES WOULD APPLY TO THE METAL INDUSTRY.
The metal industry is unique, but it still serves the same customers as the auto industry or the food industry for a better example. It is the same people making orders online and demanding timely deliveries. It is the same customers expecting exciting experiences when shopping for food or art pieces. Transforming the metal art industry should, therefore, be a process that first starts with improving customer experiences across all channels.
Since I started this Company, one of my biggest desires was to create an informed customer base through social media. Enhancing social interactions is one of the critical visions for MAG. We are a family-owned business, and so we want to keep everyone close. We will treat you like family deserves to be treated.
THAT SOUNDS GOOD. CAN I EXPECT A FAMILY DISCOUNT?
One of the advantages of family-owned businesses is the ability to keep operational costs low. No matter what industry it may be, family-owned companies offer the most affordable products and services to customers, and Metal Art Global is no different. All customers are part of our family, and we, therefore, guarantee them the best prices in the industry. We know that our name and family reputation is on the line. We, therefore, serve you with speed and accuracy.
You can expect superior quality and expediently delivered metal art pieces. There is no red tape to hold us back. Our teams are naturally and cohesively interwoven—you can, therefore, expect streamlined services from the moment you place your order to when the item gets delivered and beyond.
ONE THING I LIKE ABOUT FAMILY-OWNED BUSINESSES IS STRONG VALUES. THAT, FOR ME, IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING.
And in an industry like ours, trust is a big deal. For us and other credible family-owned and operated businesses, we want to leave a legacy, and unfair dealings and customer disappointments cannot tarnish that. We, therefore, push the envelope every day to deliver transparent, and reliable products and services. Even as we aim for significant transformations in the way we serve you, you can expect us to keep you in the loop at all times.
I am always active on social media, answering your questions, commenting on your posts, and listening to your needs and ideas. These positive relationships have created many win-wins in the past, and as we explore new capabilities, we will continue to be driven by mutual success.
WHERE DO YOU SEE METAL ART GLOBAL IN THE COMING YEARS?
At MAG, our goal is building a reliable metal art company that can withstand the test of time. That’s why I frequently carry out a dissecting evaluation of the industry to identify its challenges and opportunities. You can thus expect that our evolution will be strategic and geared towards filling the gaps and fulfilling unmet customer demands in the sector. We aim to continue offering consistent value to our customers in the coming years.
We shall maintain proactive communication, innovative thinking, and the focalizing of operations and offerings towards customer needs. We are also going to buckle down to the task of shortening shipping times.
OH, YES. YOU TALKED ABOUT SHIPPING TIMES AS ONE OF THE INDUSTRY CHALLENGES.
It is. Currently, it is hard for customers to get a piece of metal art delivered in less than seven days. 7-14 days is the industry standard, but that doesn’t work for us. Over the past year, my team and I have been working on a streamlined supply chain that helped us significantly reduce shipping time. Our customers want their gifts and décor items to be delivered on time. We understand that, and we are currently implementing measures to ensure that you get your art piece in less than seven days after you make an order.
SOUNDS AMBITIOUS, BUT HOW WILL YOU ACHIEVE THAT?
The technology is there, and we have a team of devoted people willing to burn the midnight oil for customer satisfaction. Technology and dedicated people is everything. We aim to create timeless gifts and transform homes and office spaces in the most tasteful yet paint-less way. Nothing can stand in our way.