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  1. #1
    SitePoint Zealot Jason_Therrien's Avatar
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    Howdy!

    I run a design and development company along with a site that helps small businesses get onto the web. Over the last few months, I have seen a trend where small businesses want to sell on the web even if they really shouldn't be/aren't ready for it/have a product that won't sell on the web.

    I try to convince some of these companies that they should be approaching different avenues with the web that might be more beneficial. A few have insisted that I do the site (and I have), or they take it to someone else, then a year later they end up taking down their e-commerce sites because they can't make it work.

    Has anyone had success in dealing with these types of companies and steering them clear of a almost certain failure? This is obviously with the belief that not everyone should be selling their products/services online. Or do you think anyone can?

    Thanks for any input!
    Jason
    www.SmartWebBusiness.com

  2. #2
    SitePoint Zealot JamesCross's Avatar
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    I think ultimately all businesses will rely on their web sites as much as they currently rely on a fax or telephone.

    Whether they should offer ecommerce, really depends a lot on the product or services they offer.

    Common sense has to come into play here. If for example, your a bar, you don't really need an online ecommerce operation, but a series of static web pages might help you promote events and prices.

    I'm happy to hear that your still getting customers that realize that the current bad press relating to ecommerce is just a medium term problem.

  3. #3
    ********* Addict jaiem's Avatar
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    Can you give an example of a kind of business you think shouldn't try to sell on the web?

    IMO as long as you carefully manage your clients expectations about sales, let them know it will take time to build an online consumer base (and put it in writing for them to agree to just to CYA), having to be responsive to email inquiries etc. then why would you want to discourage them from trying?
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  4. #4
    SitePoint Zealot JamesCross's Avatar
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    Originally posted by jaiem
    Can you give an example of a kind of business you think shouldn't try to sell on the web?
    Selling your service by using the web as a marketing tool is applicable to all businesses, but the physical sale of goods and services via a web site is not always appropriate.

    Eg.

    Bar
    Doctor
    Dentist
    Hairdresser
    Restaurant

  5. #5
    SitePoint Enthusiast
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    I sure can relate. Although we offer an ecomm package, it's all too often people will come to us just after reading about the amazing profits ecomm sites rake in. Not a client has come by that I've not given the "truth about ecommerce" speech to. I also wrote up secrets-of-ecommerce guide that I make them read. It tells the good, and the bad things about merchant status and the like:

    http://help.ez2ba.com/html/guide_to_...e_secrets.html

    If they still want an ecommerce site, we are happy to help them out knowing that their eyes are open to the truth rather than the sales pitch. I just hate how so many companies sell ecomm sites as if they were the answer to success.

    (please note the data on the link above is copyrighted 2000- 2001 by EZ2B LLC www.ez2ba.com)
    Thomas
    http://www.EZ2ba.com
    Making it "Easy To Be A Dot-Com"

  6. #6
    Serial Publisher silver trophy aspen's Avatar
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    I also think most businesses could use e commerce.

    As long as they're selling something tangible and not providing a service they could sell it online.

    A few obvious exceptions would be things that

    1. People like to touch - feel - try on - before they buy

    2. Are too big to ship

    But lets say you sell snowmobiles. Well Sure you can't sell snow mobiles online - you can let them browse your inventory but to buy one they will come to the store.

    However you can sell accessories and helmets online without a problem.

    The Internet has 2 scales.

    1. Global - Do you want to compete in the Global Marketplace?

    2. Local - Do you want a website to give you an edge over local competition.

    In the first case thats when you want an e commerce site - if you want global or national customers.

    In the second case is where you want a site that simply showcases your business and entices people to visit your store.

    You're not going to be a book seller and compete in the global marketplace - Amazon will slap you silly.

    But if you're an Antique or collectables store. Maybe what you sell is custom made birdhouses. Then you could compete in the global marketplace because of your uniqueness.

    If you offer a unique product line you should go E commerce

    If not you should just showcase your business.
    Chris Beasley - I publish content and ecommerce sites.
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