Every business needs a web site. We used to say that to business owners and get strange looks in return. "Why do I need a web site?" manager of a pizza restaurant once asked.
Of course, we now see a very large number of customers looking up their neighborhood pizza maker with search engines. They will try Yahoo or HotBot before turning to more traditional Yellow Pages. The restaurant owner no longer wonders why he should be online.
As more and more businesses get their own web sites, we're seeing a number of very smart ways to integrate an online presence with your existing business. Here are top five ways.
1. Your web site gives customers a way to quickly search through your big selection. If you have an auto parts store, you may have many square feet of products to choose from. You may have hundreds more items that can be ordered and delivered quickly.
In past, it might have been difficult for customers to easily find what they were looking for, or even be aware that you could get it for them.
Your web site makes it easy to type in name of a product, then see those products with descriptions and your prices. There are a number of fine online catalog software applications. If your selection isn't Walmart-sized, I suggest using a simple search engine to help people find what they want among your pages. Try free search service at atomz.com.
2. Use your web site to make it easy to find updates in your rapidly changing inventory. We often buy computers and musical equipment from PCMall.com and MusiciansFriend.com. Both companies provide some of lowest prices in their industries. They do so by buying up discontinued items.
For companies like these, a web site is essential. By time their print catalog is published, many of items are either dwindling or long gone. Their web sites can immediately tell customers if product is still available, even listing how many units are still in warehouse.