Ecommerce: New Horizons
In 2005 the largest ecommerce sites were for the following top five products or services: Travel Computer /peripherals/PDA Apparel & accessories Office supplies Consumer packaged goods The strongest advertiser in 2005 was Vonage Holdings Corp. who specializes in providing Internet phone options. It’s safe to say that when you look at the billions of dollars spent in ecommerce transactions there are lessons for brick and mortar stores that have resisted a move to cyberspace. For example many bookstores are closing shop due to the heavy competition of online retailers like amazon.com. Many bookstores wrongly believed they had a loyal customer base and would likely weather the ‘Internet fad’, but a lack of brand loyalty has left them baffled.
Some stores reinvented themselves and delivered a much improved brick and mortar store with sitting areas, coffee shop and an ONLINE STORE. As malls and strip malls have replaced downtown stores with great history these retailers are left to flounder in a sea of ‘what was’ and ‘what may never be’. All over the United States a retail revolution is taking place. Large box stores are finding a significant amount of their sales conducted online. Stores that added an online presence early are seeing significant growth in their online sales as their brick and mortar sales diminish.
One of the primary reasons Internet users give for conducting an online purchase has to do with the frustration of actually going to a store, searching for an item and then waiting in line to check out. An Internet purchase can be conducted privately, quickly and from the comfort of home. Brick and mortar stores may have success for a specific segment of the population that do not have a computer, find it difficult to operate or simply do not believe a computer is necessary. However, as the years go by those holdouts become fewer and fewer. As ecommerce continues to grow netrepreneurs are becoming more sophisticated in their use of online marketing terms such as SEO, affiliate relations and PPC. In many ways these terms help get the word out about your site and allow customers to find it much more quickly. The thought of starting a new business on the web can seem daunting to traditional business owners, but for those that have taken the plunge it has become a welcome source of revenue and provides a connection to a growing community of prospects. An ecommerce site will not be an overnight success, but it can be the means of shifting reliance on customers with a face-to-face contact to one that may be less informal, but adds significantly to your long-term ability to do business.