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Should I have an Internet Presence?

E-Marketing

I WANT TO SETUP A 24 HR BRANCH OFFICE

Many people see the internet as an advertisement tool. However for a business, a website can be considered as a “branch office” that operates 24 Hours a day, 7 days a week. This is because it has all the facilities that an office has to explain the product, explain the company and in most cases to take orders. It is never possible to get a 24 hour sales person, but you can get it with the internet. Then again, the web site is a fraction of the cost of a branch office. What more can you ask for?

What can people expect to receive at this “branch office”? People can stop in at their convenience any time they want and browse through your offerings. They will be able to :-

* Read the brochures in the rack by the door,
* Pick up a copy of your “Common Questions People Ask About our Business,”
* Solve their own problems with your detailed Troubleshooting Guide,
* Scribble messages on the pad of question forms you’ve provided,
* Look at detailed information and specs about each product you offer, and, if you have a vending machine in your lobby,
* Make purchases day or night.

What’s the monthly rent? Somewhere between $100 to $300 per month for smaller to medium businesses. And the initial build-out of your branch office costs only a few thousand dollars. Sure, you’ll need to remodel every year or two to keep it up-to-date, or some offices allow you to remodel it yourself without any fees! But that’s a small price to pay for the new customers your branch office will bring. Remember, don’t think “advertising,” think “branch office,” and you’ll begin to grasp the Internet opportunity.

I WANT TO GO GLOBAL AND REACH THE WORLD.

On the Internet, geography has ceased to be a barrier. A small business market used to be limited to a one hour drive from its store or office. No more. People now shop a global directory on the Web and let the best site win. People can buy items that they can’t normally get in their local store and get it delivered right to their doorstep. You do not need a worldwide office to sell, you just need a web site with the right information and marketing.

I WANT TO SELL DIRECT

That is one other advantage the internet has. You can jump the existing distribution chain that sells sky high prices to end users. Many online-only businesses are essentially order-taking front offices. Product fulfillment is through manufacturers and distributors who agree to drop-ship directly to the customer. This way the Web retailer doesn’t incur expenses for inventory and warehousing. A really scary development to many manufacturers is the growing temptation to sell directly on the Web and by-pass the complex distribution chain they have built over many years. The manufacturer doesn’t want to anger distributors and dealers. But increasingly, competing manufacturers sell direct from the factory and undercut the price to the end user. For many manufacturers, it’s a decision to either sell directly or lose marketshare. Agony! What do you do when the Dell Computer equivalent in your industry sells directly over the Web, pulls in $14 million per day in revenue, and grows faster than any other competitor? You sweat bullets, and finally bite the bullet. Direct retail sales via the Internet is growing exponentially. What an opportunity for your business! Whatever your reasons for going online or not going online, the simple fact holds true – there is simply no harm in letting others know your company exist and mean business.



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