Selling - Blending E-Commerce and Store Front SalesWritten by John Warzecha
There seems to be misguided suggestion that e-commerce, buying or selling on Internet, will very soon surpass regular means of retail such as department stores. Nothing could be further from truth. The e-commerce industry should check out number of people that wander through shopping malls on weekends. Is a company like J.C. Penny, Zellers or Wal-Mart closing their doors and meekly walking off into sunset? No- they are expanding, rebuilding, renovating and opening new outlets in an attempt to maintain and expand their customer base. Internet marketers must do same thing. Even though electronic medium is gaining increasing importance, and there are some very impressive numbers being put up, there is still a major concern about such things as transferring credit information and dealing with an impersonal operator attached to some keyboard across world. Not every business can have a retail outlet, because some businesses are only amenable to on-line sales, but those that do have a retail outlet, should not only be involved in directly marketing their products through their web sites, but sites should be constructed so that buyers who want to see product will go their outlets first. Many people want to see products in front of them. They want to see them, compare them to other products, perhaps see how look beside other items, especially if they are outfitting an office. They may even want to do a little haggling which is difficult to do on-line. For example, if you have an Internet site where you sell computers and also a retail outlet, you must be prepared to deal, not only with customer who is willing to buy on-line, but also customer who wants to go and kick tires-so to speak. Provided that techno-babble has been kept to a minimum, an individual, after checking web-site, will come to you with his initial request. Now that number that has been recorded as a hit on your web site is someone standing in front of you. He wouldn't be there unless web-site had done an initial selling job. He is there to buy. This is where true selling begins. As I discussed in previous articles- this is opportunity to learn something about customer. Some of best sales individuals I know have a tremendous capacity to ask questions and then shut up and listen. They know who they are talking to; know what they what, and they have learned this by listening after asking some questions. You now have that same opportunity While you are finding out what he wants, you must also discover his hot buttons. You must assess his needs, but more importantly, listen to what he wants. It has been the
THE OFF SIDE OF ONLINE RETAILWritten by John Ginsberg
Many online retailers are focused on first time customer. And understandibly so, considering that in an attempt to capture their fair share of an ever-growing online consumer market, many have put aside a large marketing budget. However, in process, they have forgotten that in many cases, sales are not made on first attempt. The ability of e-tailers to offer impulse buys has been translated into assumption that all customers are impulse buyers. And they decorate front page of their web site with 1-click offers and promises of same-day delivery. But in their haste to reach masses, they have ignored large number of careful shoppers taking to net this year - many for first time. These individuals are careful about putting credit cards where their mouth is. They evaluate every negative factor of online shopping before deciding to take plunge. Will gifts arrive on time? What if I need to return an item? Will QueueHere.com still be around after Christmas, or are they a fly by night web site? These issues often plague consumer until they experience inevitable, "Oh hell, why not!" syndrome that all net shoppers have experienced at some point in time. And even then, they limit their testing to gift for their 3rd cousin twice removed on their mother's side. But even experienced net shoppers are hesitant, though perhaps for different reasons. The web is a price-shopper's haven with shopping bots constantly scouring net for specials and bargains. The convenience of comparison shopping is merely a mouse click away. It is therefore not surprising that consumers are hesitant to put their money on table, because there might always be a better deal somewhere across globe. Add that to fact that a web surfer's loyalty to an online store is relative to cost of their Internet connection - more it costs, less time they spend with each store. And web shoppers are unlikely to be as forgiving in online world as they would be in real world. Slow download times and uncooperative web sites all help to convince them that trip to local mall, despite inconvenience, might be less frustrating. So how is an online retailer to compete in an offline-dominated world? It's actually not as difficult as it seems.