Building A Better Brick And Mortar With The Billion Dollar Web

Building A Better Brick And Mortar With The Billion Dollar Web

Building a​ better Brick-and-Mortar with the​ Billion-dollar Web
More than $117 billion passed hands from Internet shoppers to​ Internet vendors in​ 2004, according to​ the​ statistical research firm comScore .​
That’s billion, with a​ B .​
Compared to​ the​ year before, the​ figure represents a​ whopping 24 percent increase in​ sales .​
Compared to​ the​ early 1990s, when the​ Web was a​ questionable commercial venture, today’s $117 billion is​ proof-positive that the​ Web is​ the​ full-fledged money-making machine .​
It seems to​ be a​ big enough pie that any merchant with a​ Web site can cut out his heaping slice.
Not so fast .​
As any merchant who’s tried to​ take a​ bite out of​ the​ Internet will tell you, turning a​ profit online is​ not as​ simple as​ throwing a​ few pages together .​
Professional Web sites cost big bucks for​ design, consultation, and​ upkeep .​
Either you have to​ hire a​ full-time editor or​ technician to​ manage your Web store, or​ you need to​ pay three-digit hourly rates to​ contract Web professionals .​
Then you have to​ face fees for​ Web hosting, broadband access, and​ IT maintenance.
Even after you expend all of​ this capital and​ launch your Web site, you’re still not guaranteed anything .​
Your site will only be one among millions, if​ not billions .​
Yes, that’s billions with a​ B again .​
The Internet, after all, is​ like a​ clear sky on a​ dark night .​
How can you expect a​ customer to​ pick your star out from among all of​ the​ others that shimmer for​ their attention?
On the​ Web you’ll quickly learn that attracting your clientele—and building your Internet-based business—is just as​ tough as​ it​ was when you first started your brick-and-mortar shop .​
It takes smart investing, creative marketing, a​ little luck, and​ a​ lot more know-how.
What’s great about the​ business side of​ the​ Web, however, is​ that your old-fashioned know-how translates quite well on the​ Web .​
a​ great example is​ the​ timeless merchant adage: Location, location, location .​
This saying holds true on the​ Web, too .​
You can place your store’s site in​ a​ spot on the​ Web where no one will discover you, or​ you could position it​ on a​ busy corner on the​ Internet.
One such spot are online classified sites .​
These sites provide similar services as​ you would get from a​ newspaper classified .​
Sellers can place ads online that describe a​ particular product for​ sale .​
Buyers browse these ads and​ contact sellers when they’re interested .​
Online classifieds, though, are far more dynamic .​
They allow a​ merchant to​ display dozens, if​ not hundreds, of​ their goods with pictures and​ descriptions .​
And believe it​ or​ not, some online classified sites allow you to​ do this for​ free .​
Yes, that’s free with an​ F.
The benefits don’t stop there .​
As a​ merchant on a​ classified site, you can enjoy:
• A store that never closes .​
Your goods are for​ sale 24 hours a​ day, 7 days a​ week, 365 days a​ year .​
The Internet never turns off .​
• A mall of​ online shoppers .​
Think of​ a​ classified site as​ a​ virtual shopping mall, with your grouping of​ ads under your own virtual storefront .​
By having a​ storefront, this allows you to​ have your own web page and​ listings, under the​ umbrella of​ the​ classified site .​
• A chain reaction of​ shopping .​
Real shoppers go to​ a​ mall to​ visit one store, but often they end up browsing through all of​ the​ stores in​ the​ mall .​
The same is​ true of​ virtual shoppers .​
Even when they visit a​ classified site looking for​ one particular thing, they’re likely to​ spill over to​ your storefront out of​ curiosity .​
At the​ very least, it​ leads to​ advertising for​ your store; at​ best, business.
• An advantage over pure Web merchants .​
Your classified site will pit you against wily online vendors who only sell their wares on the​ Web .​
This is​ where your brick-and-mortar business comes in​ handy .​
It’s proven that shoppers seem to​ trust online merchants that have a​ real address and​ a​ real store somewhere.
• A solution to​ the​ intricacies of​ the​ Internet .​
Many classified sites can help with setting up your ads and​ with designing your storefront, providing you with instant IT IQ .​
For your buyers, the​ sites offer the​ security that Web shoppers demand to​ protect them from identify theft and​ fraud.
As mentioned before, many classified sites charge absolutely nothing for​ all of​ these benefits .​
The listings, the​ shopping traffic, the​ sense of​ business community, the​ advertising—you receive all of​ these perks for​ free .​
Oh, and​ don’t forget your piece of​ the​ $117 billion dollar pie.

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