Archive for April, 2009

PuddleDuckers Out and About 6

The latest in our series of customer stories and photos comes from Orla Henihan from Co. Mayo.

 Orla’s son Conn loves wearing his PuddleDucks dungarees and jacket for splashing in puddles, digging the garden, and taking trips to visit grandad and his “big tractor”. Orla tells us that Conn is getting great mileage out of his PuddleDucks wet gear and really likes puddles, muck and digging.



They’re great photos Orla. Many thanks for sending them on.

We still get great satisfaction out of seeing children like Conn having mucky fun in their PuddleDucks.

If any other customers would like to feature their stories and photos on the blog please drop us an email at

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Get Voting Now in the IIA Net Visionary Awards

There’s only a few days of voting left for the 2009 Irish Internet Association Net Visionary Awards – voting closes on May1st. So there’s no time to waste – get voting now.

We’re delighted to be shortlisted in the following categories along with these brilliant people and businesses.


Best Online Trader – sponsored by Realex Payments


Best Business Blogger

Best of luck to all those shortlisted. See you all at the Awards on May 21st.

It would means a huge amount if we were to win one of the categories.

To cast your vote now please click here.

Thanks a lot.

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Our own Summer Ideas campaign

When we started PuddleDucks a few years ago we thought that it would be a seasonal business. We’d be busy in the autumn, winter and spring and we’d be quiet during the summer months. For the first couple of years this turned out to be the case but last year was different. Due to the “bad summer” with its huge amount of rainfall we were very busy – with August 2008 our busiest month for sales ever. We felt a little guilty about this – as everyone was feeling glum about day after day of rain, here at PuddleDucks we had order after order coming in.  At least we felt we were helping our customers and their families to get out and about – whatever the weather.

A fine day during Summer 2008

A fine day during Summer 2008

So what will summer 2009 bring? Will it be a bad summer, like last year or will it be the good summer that everyone is hoping for this year?  Like everyone else we hope it’s a good summer – as we’re only human and we love the sunshine! But the business also needs sales during this period – so we’re planning on expanding the range to add “good summer” products.

But what new products will we add?  This is where we’d like your help. Can you think of any new summer clothes or summer items we should add to the PuddleDucks range? They would need to be fairly compatible with our current range and we should concentrate on kids stuff.

My ideas so far are for kids wetsuits and UV suits. Good idea or Bad idea? – please let us know. We’re well aware that these items can be found at your local Dunnes/Lidl at quite a low cost. There would need to be a good reason to purchase them from PuddleDucks such as better quality or a certain better known brand.

We’d love to hear your ideas on this. Are there any items that you have problems finding in Ireland or any items that you needed to buy online from abroad? We welcome all ideas – however wacky!

The best idea submitted will get a €50 PuddleDucks voucher. Please add your idea to the comments on this post. Thanks a lot.

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Shortlisted for Irish Enterprise Award

There’s been a lot of good stuff going on for PuddleDucks over the last few weeks. As well as being shortlisted for two awards in the IIA Net Visionary awards, we have also been shortlisted for a fantastic prize sponsored by The prize is for an online campaign on Pigsback worth over €25k which includes newsletter sponsorship, a competition on Pigsback, an article in Checkout magazine and much more! It would mean a huge amount for PuddleDucks if we were to win the prize. The winner will be announced at a reception in Dublin next Monday (27th) – we’ll be there.


We’d like to thank Pigsback for organising and sponsoring such a generous prize and wish good luck to our fellow shortlist-ees: Cully and Sully, Healy’s Honey, Johnston Mooney & O’Brien, Dee’s Wholefoods and

Update 28th April:

The winner of the Pigsback prize is Culley & Sully. Congrats lads. The winner was announced at a great reception at Bentley’s on the Green in Dublin last evening. It’s great that another Cork business won the prize! We’re also delighted that all the runners-up (like us) will get the chance to run a competition campaign for free on Pigsback – that will mean a lot to us. Thanks again to Pigsback for running such a generous award and for continuing to support emerging Irish enterprises.

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PuddleDuckers Out and About 5

Today’s episode of “PuddleDuckers Out and About” comes from Eylene Greaney from Limerick who sent us the great photo below along with the following recommendation:

The PuddleDucks gear have given my children such freedom in our mucky garden, at the woods and even in the March snowfall. They are such a great material, to be both windproof and breathable is such a bonus. These are the best purchase you could make for an active outdoor child. No more excuses to sit indoors. These days Puddles really are  for splashing in.


Photo shows Ronan in red, Sean in navy and Eimear in pink.

Thanks Eylene for allowing us to publish your photo and your review.

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Meningitis Awareness Day 2009

Today’s guest post comes from Ger Mills of the Meningitis Trust – one of the PuddleDucks designated charities. Ger is highlighting the first ever Worldwide Meningitis Awareness Day on April 25th. Over to you Ger … 

As a parent, I worry every time either of my two children gets sick. Is it just a bug that will pass in a day or two, or something more serious? And when they have a temperature, or get a rash or have a pain in their head, a terrible thought comes to me – it could be meningitis.

So two years ago, when I was given the opportunity to work with the Meningitis Trust, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, or what use I would be. I soon realised just how little I really knew about the disease that had occupied my thoughts on so many occasions. But I also discovered that I wasn’t alone and that there was a huge task ahead to raise awareness and provide information that could lessen the toll of suffering caused by this terrible disease.


So, with the first ever Worldwide Meningitis Awareness Day on 25th April just a few days away, I am very grateful for this opportunity from Suzanne and all in PuddleDucks for the chance to share a few of my thoughts.

The Meningitis Trust is Ireland’s national meningitis support organisation, which offers a range of free services to anyone who is worried or affected by meningitis. We get no statutory government funding and have very limited resources, so it’s maybe not surprising that just 25% of people in Ireland even know the Trust exists. So please help me to spread the word!

Meningitis affects communities in every corner of Ireland. This year, another 300 families will suddenly be faced with the reality of bacterial meningitis. Up to 1 in 10 patients will die, with another 15% left with mild-to severe after-effects including deafness, behavioural problems and epilepsy. And hundreds of other families will will be affected by viral meningitis.

Early diagnosis and appropriate medical intervention CAN save lives. The more people know about the symptoms and how important it is to trust your instincts, the better. And raising awareness about the Meningitis Trust Helpline, which is available 24 hours a day, 365 days is important too. As a parent, I’ve personally found it a great source of support.


 If you’d like to find out more about meningitis, or take part in the first ever Worldwide Meningitis Awareness Day on Saturday 25th April, log on to our website. The theme is “Join hands across the world against meningitis” and you can join hands on-line with people from all over the world. The website also has lots of information about the Trust’s counselling, one-to-one and home visit services, and education and awareness programmes. You can download a potentially life-saving ‘Signs and Symptoms’ card. I keep mine in my purse – just in case. You never know when you might need it.

Many thanks for the post, Ger. I really hope that the Worldwide Meningitis Awareness Day on the 25th is a great success. At PuddleDucks we also include the Meningitis Signs and Symptoms card with all  PuddleDucks orders. We hope this helps raise the awareness of meningitis in our small way.

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Business Blogging Breakfast, April 22nd , Dublin

I’m just putting the finishing touches to my slides for a short presentation I’m giving at an event in Dublin next week. Organised by the Irish Internet Association, the event is a Breakfast Briefing on Business Blogging at the Burlington Hotel on April 22nd. It runs from 7:45 am until 9.30 am. It’s an early start but promises to be an enjoyable and interesting event.


It’s run under the auspices of the IIA Social Media Working Group and the group’s White Paper on Business Blogging will be launched at the event. The event will be chaired by Brendan Hughes of FBD Insurance and case studies will be presented by myself and Michelle Daly of

Details of the event can be found here. It would be great to see you there.

Right – back to finish off those slides …….

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PuddleDucks Customers Given a Louder Voice

We often receive great emails from customers regarding both our products and service, some of which appear on our customer testimonials page. 

To make it even easier for customers to get an idea about our products we have today introduced a new Product Review form to our website, similar to that seen on sites such as Amazon.  This allows a customer to rate a product and comment on it. These reviews will then be viewable throughout the site and we hope they will help other customers in making their own choice from the PuddleDucks range.


The customer review technology has been added in partnership with LouderVoice – the leading online reviws website. The reviews entered on the PuddleDucks website will also automatically appear on the LouderVoice site and their mobile phone applications. This should enable us to spread the PuddleDucks story to even more new visitors.


If you’d like to enter a review – please visit the PuddleDucks site, log in as a registered user and visit the product page and enter your review. Many thanks. 

The Press Release of today’s announcement is below:

PuddleDucks, Ireland’s leading online retailer of children’s and adults outdoor clothing, today announces the integration of customer review technology on its online shopping website at, in alliance with LouderVoice.

Customers can now read product reviews by previous purchasers and can also submit their own. These reviews appear on each product page along with highlights on the home page of the PuddleDucks website. Reviews empower customers to help each other find the right product for their needs. Recent surveys have shown that over a third of respondents rated peer opinions such as recommendations and reviews as the most useful aspect of an Internet-shopping site.

In addition to appearing on the PuddleDucks shopping site, the reviews are aggregated to the LouderVoice reviews website and its mobile phone applications. This doesn’t just make PuddleDucks more visible to search engines, it also enables a widely distributed conversation about its products.

Aedan Ryan, co-founder of says “We are very excited about partnering with LouderVoice to add customer reviews to our site. Since launching in 2005, a large percentage of our new customers come from word of mouth referrals and we feel that we can build on this through having reviews available online.”

Conor O’Neill, CEO of LouderVoice says “PuddleDucks exemplifies how Irish businesses should be engaging online. Their use of technology to grow their customer base and get closer to them should be a template for anyone selling online. Our customer reviews system is a critical part of an increasing number of successful e-commerce operations like PuddleDucks.”

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New Girls Raincoat on PuddleDucks

We’ve just added a lovely new girl’s raincoat to the PuddleDucks website. We’ve called it the Rose Petal Raincoat. 

Rose Petal Raincoat

Rose Petal Raincoat

It comes in sizes from 100cm (3-4 years) to 130cm (7-9 years). It costs only €26.50 and you can get all the details and buy online here.

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Using Facebook Ads to get more Fans

We’ve experimented with Facebook Advertising campaigns a number of times over the past six months with mixed results. I’ve posted about them twice before:

1. Facebook Ads and How they Compare to Google Adwords – 31st October 2008 – blog post here

2. Latest Facebook Ads Campaign – 10th February 2009 – blog post here

The conclusion from those campaigns was that the demographic targeting was great, the number of clicks and traffic we got was good but conversions to sales were poor. The reason is that it takes a lot to persuade a Facebook user to change from Facebook engagement mode to buying mode.

This time I used a Facebook ad to direct users to our Facebook Fan page with the purpose of getting new visitors to signup as fans.  It was run to coincide with a voucher giveaway which was running on the Facebook page – to be drawn from all fans on March 31st.

Here’s what the ad looked like:


And here’s the stats: I started the ad campaign on March 26th:

March 26th – 13 clicks – 5 New Fans

March 27th 13 clicks – 5 New Fans

March 28th – 13 clicks – 1 New Fan

March 29th – 12 clicks – 1 New Fan

March 30th – 12 clicks – 3 New Fans

March 31st – 11 clicks – 10 New Fans.

Overall: 74 clicks, 25 new fans, Total cost $15.05


Of course not all new fans over this period can be attributed to the Facebook Ad. It’s a failing in the Facebook page insights (analytics) that they don’t show the source of the new fans i.e. whether they came from the ad, from the PuddleDucks site or from any other referrals. We did get a great referral from Damien Mulley’s blog on the 31st March which would have resulted in a number of the new fans for that day.

So overall I think it was worthwhile spend of $15. I might do it again to sign-up more fans the next time we are running a prize draw on our Facebook page.

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