View Full Version : Where we're going with internet commerce has to change
11-17-2003, 09:56 PM
E Commerce has developed a life of it's own. We're so involved with problems of site designs, hosting solutions, viruses, bugs, worms and other critters that traditional marketing rules seem to be ignored.
Know your market, understand their needs, supply the solution.
Yes, many sites have made money with the point of view that "If you build it, they will come---if you promote it enough", but I feel there is a higher potential for the Internet.
Traditional brick and mortar businesses like the auto repair business, construction, restaurants,etc allready have the customers and these businesses need what the internet can offer. But the majority of these businesses don't use the net. Why? Well unless they're web savvy, how are they to find a piece of information or find a possible supplier without using a search engine? They can't. That's why many don't use the net. If they have an address-OK, but because they can't find it at this instant, they quit. It seems there's an attitude towards these businesses and the internet "catch up or be left behind".
To me, that's wrong.
What if individual networks were produced for each industry and it's geographic market region. All information would be industry specific, all suppliers and all manufacturers for that industry were catalogued, it would be interactive through forums, classifieds and catalogued web links plus web services like page production, product promotion and on-line training, all put together in a simple "dummies can use it" main page.
I think that these businesses would start using the net for business and the suppliers would drool over the opportunity to promote their products on this network because it would be "target marketing" like never before in history. The potential for
E-Commerce would go through the roof.
Now that to me is where the next internet revolution will come from and E-Marketing will become part of tradition.
But that's my opinion.
11-19-2003, 02:54 PM
My name is Jodi Apple I own and run my own business called Mother Nature's Web Services. I read this posting and I have to agree with you 100% because this is the sort of thing I am working with at this time. I am in the process of building a site for the Southwest Region of Indiana. This site will include listings for travel and visitors, and also for the resident's in the areas I have listed. It is designed to promote the small businesses that are off the beaten path and you would'nt even know they were there unless you were told by someone or happen to catch an add in the local newspaper.
Restaurants was a big one! I spoke with a restaurant owner that had asked me "how he could benefit from having a website?" my answer to his question was that I was building a site that would promote all the local area businesses together. Let people know you are out there advertise your daily specials and just the fact that you would have a website gives your business a more professional image.
You are right when you say it needs to be targeted and that is exaclty what I am after. The big thing I have learned is how expensive it is for anyone not just a business but for anyone to place an add in the local newspaper. This is outrageous the prices they have. I couldnt believe that a local newspaper could charge so much when you could have a website for a lot less and it would reach far more people that what that local newspaper would. Is this the right idea or what?
It is hard to convince some businesses but I think if you have something that works to show them like you said something easy that even a inexperienced user could navigate this would be the key to success in commerce websites.
Great post! I was glad to have read this when I did because my husband was even having his doubts. LOL but he is not experieced in this field at all. Just goes to show that most poeple have there doubts but this is something that can be proved and once you pull it off it will be a great success! I believe anyhow!
11-19-2003, 03:43 PM
Your points are well taken. It's a great idea.
To say that there are many options for hosting and eCommerce solutions it true. So are there for any commerce endeavors.
Building a storefront in any format, web or brick has options to be overcome.
The overall marketing to a merchant is usually from a "web designer" with the intent of making a sale to create a web site. The merchant is told to spend money on features the web designer knows how to do
and not explaining what the web "can do" for them.
When a merchant builds a site, the learning curve starts. As with any other business, they adjust to the customers requests.
I think your “network" is like an interactive phone book.
What needs to be figured is the cost to the average merchant.
There are many "regional” sites on the net. The problem again is who updates the information? If the information is not accurate the site is not used much.
Unless the merchant does the update, they will need to pay someone else to make the update.
Then, the success of the site to the merchant is only if someone will actually use it.
This has been done.. with a huge over head cost structure.
A web address posted in a business is avery powerful tool. In 1996, car ad's on TV had a small text display of their web site URL. Now, for many their web site is the ad!
The key I think, is to just get the merchant involved on any level. A web site is like another type of business card or flyer. The cost is too low ( with the right webmaster ) to pass up.
As they say to "think outside the box" is what I believe drives the net.
11-19-2003, 06:49 PM
Hi There Anna here... to all who are venturing forth into this brave new world of ecommerse, and targeted marketing, all the very best to - projects like these tend to by mamoth, and while it can take a long time to get the businesses on board, I am sure that when they are on board, they will see the benefit, and others left behind in the first wave will no doubt catch the second wave.
Jodie, don't give up on your prrject, ultimately I do believe it will succeed.
Good Luck everyone.
11-19-2003, 07:21 PM
I can't fault what has been posted thus far. From a business point of view all is well said and taken.
I do have one little observation though.
At the moment the Internet is struggling to “become.”
What it becomes will be seen only in hind sight. I still remember the furor over the first Internet web site that sold anything! Sure there had been some low key sales and advertising pitches but sales were just not done.
Now the Internet appears to be an advertiser's dream come true. All the classes and seminars can be tested in a cheap and forgiving market place. Along with this, technical challenges have multiplied exponentially. Uncounted opportunities these challenges have created exist everywhere.
One only need look at the software companies, especially the “mom&pop” small stores to see the plethora of digital product that has come to market in just the past year to gain some sense of the unforeseen explosions that are occurring. Web designers and Internet marketers are new to the history of business. Yet each will help write what business becomes in the future.
The sale of information has become an enormous business. I fully expect this to grow by leaps and bounds for many, many years to come. In the process digital and electronic products that are not even thought of will appear- new challenges= new products.
Yahoo was at one time a non-profit search/junk site. It is mega-power now. Small companies that didn't stand a chance in getting exposure prior to the Internet can now have a thousand people look at their product in a month or a week.
What will not change is basic business.
Product, customer, delivery and somewhere in this short line is presentation. Presentation drives web masters mad and is a web designers delight. The Internet is presentation.
Sure content matters, delivery matters, customer acquisition matters but all of them eventually course through presentation. Visual Psychological triggers are more important to business than ever before. Subliminal messaging is here.
Coca-Cola was sued many years back for running subliminal advertising in movie theaters. The advertising genius that cooked that up must be rolling over in his grave today. Subliminal cassette tapes were a big market for years. They wouldn't hold a candle to what is just emerging. Visual presentation has always and will always (for the foreseeable future) be king.
Back to the bots, the pain of search engine “optimization,”virus attacks and the rest~ be flexible and be proactive.
I have seen many regional sites and one common problem is they are not kept up to date.
One would not only have to sell businesses on what the web can do for them, but also persuade them to spend the time to keep information up-to-date, answer emails, etc. Many small businessmen don't want to do this. They look at a web page as an advertisement in a paper that is put there and forgotten. Without updating and interactivity you might as well not bother.
11-20-2003, 04:14 AM
I started such a site three years ago. My site is focussed on a particular industry that is international in flavour and web aware. The site is updated with industry news daily, and works globally. There is a section for suppliers, contractors and others that service the industry, with companies from Europe (Greece, Germany, UK, Denmark, Sweden. Ireland) Australia, India, the US, Canada, Mexico all represented. The site provides interest to attract the people these companies supply to, and growing evidence supports the fact that this is working.Contracts havce been won through the site in the UK, US, Kenya, the Gambia, Latvia, Finland, the Caribbean and many other places.
It seems to me that there are no rules for success here other than to provide an interesting site to the target audience; to market it constantly; and to provide an expert context and content to attract the users back again and again. Do not expect instant results, it is a patient process and needs stamina and determination to succeed - just like any other business.
Other business problems can be more marked on the web - bad debt is a larger problem, and a lack of understanding of the difference between marketing and advertising can also be a hindrance (I believe that the web is primarily a marketing medium not an advertising medium). Deliver added benefits to your readers and to the people who use your marketing services and you will gradually build a core of loyal users who will find your site increasingly effective as you learn to apply the technology to making your site work for them.
It ain't easy, nor is it 'get rich quick'. It is enjoyable and satifying to watch your statistics climb (my site grows at a rate of 50% a year). It is in many other ways just like growing any other business.
11-20-2003, 10:29 AM
Basically, its communication.
The difference is the speed and its interactive capability.
The reality is simple yet frustrating. The internet/web is only a tool. Its design is to provide fast information and entertainment with a personal "one on one interactive" response from the viewer.
Some local business services will not benefit from the advantage of what the internet offers. Business of a more specialize nature providing products or services seeking a wider market base need to adpath and have a web presence.
In truth this opens up a new area of business opportunity. The fact that a person or business has a web site dosn't mean it will be seem. Another factor is the community or geographicial area must have the inter structure to support this new techology. Some parts of the United States only have dial up connection at best.
One thing is very clear. As a photographer and web designer thanks to this site I improve my web presence. I obtain information and services which has improve my web presence and position. All this and more without being taken to the cleaners.
The nice thing about this site, its a network of people interested in developing this new media by providing straight foward answers in a simple to understand language. This here is the beauty of Web Pro World.
11-21-2003, 01:47 AM
Thankyou very much for your responses and I thank WebProWorld for taking an interest in their members' point of view. It's refreshing and I'm honored.
The reason I wrote the post is because of two reasons. First, just like publicgadfly said, "At the moment the Internet is struggling to "become"", so, before we get lost in the evergrowing Internet confusion, shouldn't we stop and think of where it's going and how are we going to get there? The desisions each of us are making now is what's forming our destination. To me, a good decision is one that not only will benifit me but also benefit my industry.
Second, for two years this concept has been churning in my head and before I explode (not literally) I have to open up and welcome feedback.
To Jodi Apple, "You go girl". What you are trying to do is precisely what I had in mind. Representing all the retail businesses in your market is key. If you offer them technical and management tips, classifieds, forums and links to their suppliers, that will keep them coming back every day. The suppliers will, in turn, want to take full advantage of the "target market" opening you will supply.
Email me if you wish to talk further.
SecureCart said "I think your network is like an interactive phone book". You don't know how right you are. Everyone can use a phone book, it's regional and everone's in it. So, everyone will use it. Some will spend more for ad space than others and it's free to use. The difference here is that the members update their own information.
It's the retail businesses and their suppliers who would benifit the most with what the internet can offer. But, it has to be structured so they can use it.
But, that's only my opinion.
IMO, sublimal advertising, creative and interesting content, the pre-sell and the final sale are all things to be considered when designing an ecommerce site.
Promotion through other means which will include the mention of the site is another factor. Viral marketing should never be underestimated.
I believe most business persons can be more receptive to having a site, if they understand from Step One that it is a powerful tool in increasing their sales and branding. Or, to view the site as being a long-term asset as opposed to being a blaring flashing ad that's as disposable as yesterday's newspaper. Professionals in any field tend to keep their tools all bright and shiny.
Balance between the priced items and the free items will bring more in the long run. Priced items are the products. Free items are the services and creative content that brand a business to the point where they eventually stand out among their competitors.
As the Internet is becoming whatever it will become, we can help to shape it, if we make a conscious effort to preserve and strengthen the potential of this medium.
- Mili -
11-21-2003, 11:39 PM
This is one of those threads where I just shake my head.
I get to read things like:
"But the majority of these businesses don't use the net. Why? Well unless they're web savvy, how are they to find a piece of information or find a possible supplier without using a search engine? They can't."
*** Are you serious? Do you really, truly believe that businesses can't find information or suppliers without searching the Internet? That there are no other ways to find information? That businesses are ignorant and without other resources? My goodness...how could they possibly have survived before the Internet!! (Much less thrived.)
"Representing all the retail businesses in your market is key. If you offer them technical and management tips, classifieds, forums and links to their suppliers, that will keep them coming back every day. The suppliers will, in turn, want to take full advantage of the "target market" opening you will supply."
*** Do you truly believe that businesses can't function successfully without your website or one like it? That it never crossed their minds to bookmark their suppliers' websites...or have their darn phone numbers in their Rolodex...or simply memorized? That all those brick and mortar business owners are going to spend their time on forums? That they are going to check your regional directory "every day" to see what you have to offer? (As if no one running a brick and mortar business has a clue how to run a business without those technical and management tips offered by a webmaster.)
Come on, folks. Get real.
The Internet has a role to play. It's not the entire production.
So here we all are making our opinions known as to what marketing is and was on the net, where it's going, what works and what doesn't. I've just read through all the posts on this thread. The phrases
"subliminal advertising", "web saavy", "e-business" and "interactive capability" (to name just a few) have been used in this thread.
Yet when I made it to the end of many of your posts,
you who are involved in , represent, or own a small business nearly half of you didn't use your web signature to end your post. Just an observation...
11-26-2003, 05:48 PM
Ok after I have read some of the reply's on this topic I have something more to say in reply to some of the comments that had been made. I really enjoyed this forum first of all. I'm glad that fendermate brought this subject up as it is a very good one.
I want to thank also all of you have belive it can work this gives me the extra confidence in doing it all together. I have to agree that I believe over time it will be successful!
To "Red" who replied saying that we didn't use our signatures, I have to say this, For one this is a webproworld forum. Most of us here are more than likely to be in a business of some sort that deals with the web and I don't find it neccessary to advertise among other's who if they really wanted to could take a look at my site by using the WWW button below my post.
To "Acorn" you say that we need to get real, I think you need to open your mind a little more to understand what exactly is being said. I don't believe you have a full understanding of what is being discussed. You are entitled to your oppionion and that's fine but I feel you are not looking it the big picture on a couple of things. For 1 I don't care what kind of business you are every business always looks for some kind of tip no matter it is. Weather it be a Restaurant owner looking for marketing tips or what have ya. Yes, I do belive I am a business owner and most of you as well what are we all doing here? Aren't we discussing business? Aren't we finding new ways to make our businesses work? Isn't this the whole point of a webproworld Forum? Correct me if I'm wrong but if you are a business owner yourself and you said to everyone here that we need to get real that "we think business are ignorant without other resources" well what exaclty was your purpose here to begin with then?
To "Rhys" your point is well taken about most regional site's not being updates and they are just plain lousy! This would make a person want to give up on this project however, if the person was making this their business it makes more since that you could imagine. It's not about having to updates and all... You would get paid to do the updating. You would run the site as your business as it's the site that would be keeping you in business. To offer something that will cover a wide range of things but limited to a certain region. It's opportunity knocking! Maybe some of you can't see that but I belive your reasons for not seeing is because of the failure's of the other site's you have visited. I know what it's like to go to a website and have information on it that hasnt been updated since 1999. It's very agravating. That's the purpose! Take the aggravation Away!!! Produce a good source not just for businesses but for consumer's and traveler's and everyone! For the business it will not only be an advertising benefit but it would be a place where a business could go to find out who there competitors are and what they are up against. We all know this is something that has to be looked when you are running a business wouldnt that make your investigating a lot easier? Just open your mind you'll see...
Thanks again to all who belive in this! It really lifts me up.
Mother Nature's Web Services
Owner, Developer, Designer & Photographer
New Site in the works!