Retailing online is broken into two main groups, online stores only and bricks and mortar stores with an online presence. In many ways they are completely different even though they cross over in the same space.
For this discussion I am going to focus on those Bricks and Mortar stores as they are fundamentally driven by different requirements and serve the business in different ways than the pure online counterparts.
I will discuss these differences in another discussion on here later.
If you are running a traditional bricks and mortar business and have a website that you sell products on or are looking to sell products on then the first thing you need to understand is that your website is more than just a shop front.
The first mistake that businesses make is that they look at their website sales and determine the success or failure of it based on what income it generates through the shopping cart. The reality is if your website didn't generate a single online sale but helped to convince customers to come into your store to buy rather than going to one of your competitors then your website has done its job.
Frankly the idea of your website success being determined by the direct income it generates indicates the lack of understand someone has of the "big picture" of the online space.
Your website is not just a shop front, it is the digital representation of your business. It is an opportunity to not only sell a product but to sell your brand.
So the fact is you don't need to even have a shopping cart on your website to realise the full potential of your online presence although if you want that little bit extra I would recommend it.
Your website is your information desk, help desk, customer service centre, sales department, advertising department, marketing department, R&D department and much more.
Your website can tell you far more about your customers than any other tools available out there just by using analytics tools available out there. The number of businesses that I talk to that have analytics but don't do anything with them is astounding. All this interaction with their sites and its treated as useless or of little value but what they forget it that it is THEIR customers making those interactions. The problem for most businesses is though that they don't know what to do with the data once they have it and that is just one of the ways that SLAM Marketing helps its clients.
If your customers are central to the success of your business then don't you think understanding them better would be of huge benefit to the success of your business? I think so!
It ASTOUNDS me when I talk to business about their online aspirations to find out that they don't have a realistic budget for online. Why, because they think its just a shop front and not an integral part of the success of their business model.
Every day businesses "um and are" the expenditure required to build or renovate their websites which are ASSETS to the business and yet have no worries in dropping large sums of money into DEPRECIABLE'S like digital TVs for home or a new car for the wife. WHY???
The answer is ignorance and fair enough, the digital land scape is changing rapidly, if you looked a what the regulations and requirements were 10 years ago for health and safety or even child care they have changed dramatically and online is no different and that is why business needs to re-look at how they do business and embrace the changes afoot while they can, because there are those out there with the fore site and gumption to see the big picture and these are or will be your competitors.
If you asked me about the importance of online for your business I would tell you that if your not actively looking to your website to determine the future success of your business then your flying blind and run the serious risk of being left behind in the retail revolution happening (that also will be for another discussion).
I have been in retail for over 21 years and over 11 of those in retailing online and this combination of skills has taught me valuable tools of the trade but most importantly it has shown me how to get the best out of your online presence and how to use it to generate business success using your online presence.
The mathematical equation for adding a properly functioning website to your business is this 1 + 1 = 3
The whole is worth more than the sum of the parts. The combination of using your website with your bricks and mortar business WILL have an effect on the results that your wouldn't get if you looked at them separately.
Shaun Le Cornu is the founder of SLAM Marketing. He is a specialist in Internet retailing, advertising, marketing and search engine optimisation. Shaun can be reached at: email@example.com
Written by: Shaun Le Cornu
Sunday, 05 December 2010 23:16
Last Updated on Thursday, 07 July 2011 19:32