Buyers Drive The Process Online But The Lowest Price Isn't All They Want

Written by B.L. Ochman

Continued from page 1

In terms of costs, online retailers seem to have obvious advantages over bricks and mortar retailers. Traditional retailers need to spend $3 to $5 million to open a store. They usually can only pull from a 25 mile radius, meaning they need to make a fair margin. While online merchants can set up shop for less, and sell internationally, many have set prices so low that it is impossible for them to make a profit. Therefore,repparttar good deals consumers now expect won't be sustainable overrepparttar 109089 long haul. Onlyrepparttar 109090 ones withrepparttar 109091 deepest pockets can hold out, and one begins to wonder why they would want to.

Retailers are dealing with online sales in different ways. Barnes & Noble maderepparttar 109092 mistake of not being first in their category to get online. Like so many other traditional merchants, they finally realized they could not afford to ignorerepparttar 109093 brand reinforcement ofrepparttar 109094 Internet. Now they charge more forrepparttar 109095 same books in their bricks and mortar stores where overhead prohibits Amazon-like bargain prices. It seems they are betting thatrepparttar 109096 instant gratification of talking to informed sales help and being immediately able to read a selected book in soft in-store chairs is worth a higher price. They may be right.

Meanwhile, like Amazon, a handful of online merchants realize that they need to emphasize superior service. Although low prices might bring a customer to a site, discounts along won't necessarily keep them there or get them to return. "We recognize we're a price leader, but we don't say to ourselves every day, 'Let's just slash and burn," says online electronics retailer NECX' director of operations Brian Marley. "I think it would be irresponsible for all of us just to compete on price, without doingrepparttar 109097 heavy lifting that goes into creating a value-added service," Marley told The New York Times.

One very innovative online approach comes from Fruit ofrepparttar 109098 Loom, which provides not only its own t-shirts and underwear but also it competitors inside its e-commerce storefront. The company got 24 ofrepparttar 109099 nation's top 30 t-shirt wholesalers inrepparttar 109100 $5 billion industry to commit to its electronic commerce platform. Fruit ofrepparttar 109101 Loom provides consulting and software to t-shirt wholesales setting up online stores. The stores' customers then search for t-shirts from any number of manufacturers. Fruit ofrepparttar 109102 Loom only demands that its products arerepparttar 109103 first replacement option offered when another company is out of stock. Online, a store that provides complete information from a variety of sources can be more valuable than a single site that provides only its own or partial information.

NECX lets customers compare their prices to other stores onrepparttar 109104 same item. Customers were comparing prices anyway, they reasoned, why not help them. The result? NECX is losing customers but making money. Sales are up 20% even thoughrepparttar 109105 comparison engine isrepparttar 109106 site's most common point of departure.

Still, bricks and mortar merchants haverepparttar 109107 distinct advantage of giving customers what they want when they want it -- an experience that can supercede low price. Online shopping, no matter how pleasant, cannot (yet!) providerepparttar 109108 immediate reward of buying something and then wearing or using it an hour later.

There is a long way to go before Internet commerce shakes out. At this point I'm betting that at end ofrepparttar 109109 roadrepparttar 109110 lowest price won't berepparttar 109111 winner.

B.L. Ochman, is an award?winning marketer who has helped local, regional and multi?national corporations to increase awareness and sales of their products both online and off. Sign up for her marketing tips newsletter, What's Next Online, at


Written by Bob McElwain

Continued from page 1

Conglomerates May Become Extinct

People have had enough of businesses concerned about their bottom line. They are becoming increasingly concerned about their own needs. They are even now turning away from those who fail to recognize this. Business success inrepparttar future will depend heavily upon effective customer support provided immediately upon request.

Conglomerates may be dinosaurs, so huge, so driven by their own inertia, they will disintegrate back intorepparttar 109088 smaller parts from which they were created. Such companies talk of customer relationships, but often do all possible to avoid any semblance of one-on-one customer support. Smaller firms can be responsive. Those who are, will outperform those who are not.

I am excited aboutrepparttar 109089 future for Cyberpreneurs. They will understand they need their customers more thanrepparttar 109090 customer needs them. Untroubled byrepparttar 109091 constraints of contemporary business practices, they will see responsiveness to customers as an essential fundamental of their business. This characteristic of itself will give them a competitive edge over large businesses that do not.

The Future Is Yours For The Taking

One by one, creative people will consider ways in which conglomerates produce and deliver products. They will then discover a way in which they can do so more effectively. The much larger company will hardly be aware ofrepparttar 109092 tiny loss in revenue. But given many such losses,repparttar 109093 bottom line will begin to erode.

Completely new business models will emerge. They will seem so right, so perfectly attuned to bothrepparttar 109094 needs of businesses and consumers, we will wonder why they did not appear much sooner.

There will be a return to a "Rural," rather than an "Urban," pattern of living, one independent of where you choose to live. In this "reversal," there will be a return to individuals being valued. Once again, as was so prior torepparttar 109095 Industrial Revolution, people will be both producer and consumer, making a significant contribution in both roles.

The Real "New World"

I continue to hearrepparttar 109096 Web is not real. That it is nothing more than herds of impulses stampeding about on copper or optical cables. What is reality? I will leave this torepparttar 109097 philosophers. But there is no question in my mind;repparttar 109098 Web is real. A new reality, at that.

You can feelrepparttar 109099 awesome power and unlimited resources surging fromrepparttar 109100 collective dynamic of millions and millions of peoplerepparttar 109101 world over. People who are real. Our interaction with each other is real, and now unlimited by national boundaries. The Web itself is but a tool. Not unlikerepparttar 109102 telephone, but magnitudes more powerful. It facilitatesrepparttar 109103 ability to interrelate, to communicate one-on-one. And we will do so in ways not yet imagined.

Welcome to today's "New World."

(Taken from "Your Path To Success" to be released in September, 2001) __________________ *"Beyondrepparttar 109104 Information Revolution" by Peter F. Drucker, "The Atlantic Monthly," Oct 1999, p47-57.

Bob McElwain Want to build a winning site? Improve one you already have? Fix one that's busted? Get ANSWERS. Subscribe to "STAT News" now! Web marketing and consulting since 1993 Site: Phone: 209-742-6349

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