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ECT News Community   »   E-Commerce Times Talkback   »   Re: What Small Biz Gets from the Web



Re: What Small Biz Gets from the Web
Posted by: Lori Enos 2001-09-21 12:02:24
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Despite the dot-com downturn, there is still room for small offline retailers on the Web
and good reasons for them to be there, according to industry analysts.


Gartner research director David Schehr told the E-Commerce Times that the real value of
the Web to small retailers is its ability to provide an additional shopping channel for
their customers. Other sources cite the Web's use as a information tool by customers who
later make purchases in brick-and-mortar stores.


Re: What Small Biz Gets from the Web
Posted by: Jim Pflaum 2001-09-25 12:23:49 In reply to: Lori Enos
In terms of ROI, small business owners, particularly small mom and pop retailers, would be much better off if they wait a few more years before they decide to develop their Web sites.

While thousands upon thousands of small brick-and-mortar businesses now operate Web sites, most of these small businesses, however, are still continuing to incur losses from their Web site operations. The NFIB survey you cited in your article, in fact, shows that more than 70% of the small brick-and-click businesses that NFIB surveyed still aren't generating any profits from their sites.

The Net, as you pointed out, is now being used mostly as an information resource tool, not as a seller-buyer purchasing transactional tool. While lots of people use the Net to "window shop" and price-compare, only 2% to 3% actually buy anything from any of the sites they visit. Those people that do buy online, furthermore, are far more likely to buy from well known brick-and-click merchants than from the Net's small site operators.

This situation has not only financially devastated most of the Net's public Dot.coms, but it's also causing huge financial problems for thousands of small site operators as well. In my view, no small business owner today should assume the risk of developing a Web site until people develop trust in buying goods and services from small site operators.


Re: What Small Biz Gets from the Web
Posted by: Daniel Tadesse 2001-11-22 05:54:10 In reply to: Jim Pflaum
I strongly disagree with your response. "Small business particularly, small mom and pop retailers, would be much better off if they wait a few more years before they decide to develop their Web sites."

My experience, with small businesses proves you incorrect. I have been consulting small retail stores and businesses (small business owners) for over a year. I can list the benefits that website can delivers to small business owners. If, the website is developed with an e-commerce strategy. Clear goal, mission, targeted to the right audiences and the website is incorporated with the company’s business plan. etc.etc. The attitude of "you build it they will come" is no longer the driving force. The website by itself can generate revenue for small business owners, if it is approached from a strategic revenue streaming point of view to cover the website expenses.

If small business don't adopt the internet now as their third customer entry point, and wait for few more years and until proven by others as you suggested , they will be the late adopter to the net and could not only suffer loss but might even be out of business.

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