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The Shocking Truth About Internet Sales

Internet Sales

Internet Sales

Go ahead; take a guess as to how much business is done via the Internet. If you’re like most Americans you’ll probably guess a pretty high number. After all, since the Internet went live more and

more of us are purchasing products with our hard-earned cash online, right?

News flash, according to Forrester Research, e-commerce sales between 2012 and 2017 will only account to about 10% of retail purchases. Of course this means that 90% of retail sales come from traditional brick-and-mortar providers.

Think about that for a moment. While we’d like to believe Internet giants like Amazon.com are destroying traditional businesses, the truth is they account for a very small total of the aggregate. Don’t get me wrong, Amazon still accounts for a good share of the $3.6 trillion dollar retail market but in the big scheme of things this internet juggernaut is small potatoes.

What IS happening now and projected to happen in the future is the continued growth of sales, but more importantly, the amount of research consumers’ conduct online before making purchases.

As most of you are well aware, shoppers are using the internet to research future purchases and are becoming more comfortable with the information they find online.

Social media, retail websites, and online forums are just a few of the examples consumers use to help make buying decisions.

What does this mean to you as a business owner?

First and foremost it further solidifies the need for an online presence. But it’s more than just an online presence. How we sell our product or service whether online or offline is somewhat irrelevant. What is relevant is the information your website provides ABOUT your business (your brand) and your product or service.

When a consumer performs a search on Google, Bing, or Yahoo about your company or product, where do the search engines send them? Is it to a highly informative website with clearly defined information about your company and what it provides? If a consumer searches for your specific product are they directed to an informative webpage that answers the questions they may have about your product or do they have to wade through page after page of irrelevant junk? If the answer is the latter, you’re losing business.

What about social media? If someone tweets about your business do you know what they’re saying?

Not too long ago we were given the runaround by a major electronics store. We waited in line for nearly an hour only to find out they didn’t have the reservation we’d made the day before. I sent out quick tweet about what was happening and within minutes a representative was not only tweeting back asking for details but also called the store and contacted the manager. I have to tell you we didn’t get a good resolve over the issue, BUT I was impressed with how quickly they responded to a negative comment on social media. By-the-way, I did get a call from the corporate office the next day and was offered discount coupons for our trouble.

I tell you that story to hammer home the fact that while these brick-and-mortar stores (they have an online store as well as offline stores) probably account for nearly 90% of the chain’s business they know perception is reality and go to great lengths to cultivate good customer relations online.

So it must be with your business. Whether you have a traditional brick-and-mortar store, a brick-and-click operation, or a 100% online sales operation, your online presence and its perception is your lifeblood.

Just because your actual sales may be 100% offline, and while most sales are still taking place offline, in today’s market you can’t neglect your online presence.  You do so at your own risk.

Here’s to your success!

Does it surprise you to know only a small percentage of sales actually take place online? Please comment and share with our readers.

 

Keith is the resident writer and troublemaker at Empowered Pros.
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