Your customers know more than ever since they went online. They know your competitor's prices. Their product specs. and delivery options. Their Terms and values. And since people know more, they expect more.
They expect to be informed when they go online. So you must inform them. They expect to be heard. So you must interact with them. They have more options. So you must work harder to grab and hold their attention. Even if you don't actually sell your goods and services over the internet, what you do on line makes the difference between winning and losing customers.
People used to talk about what they saw on line. Now they talk about what they've done. What products they compared. What swatches they tried. What stock levels they checked. They expect to do more. So you must help them. Or someone else will.
Home shopping sales have grown three-fold since the internet came along. Remember catalogues?
People use the internet because it empowers them. The internet gave people the power to compare and choose. It gave them all the information they wanted. It gave them interaction. It gave them the power to do more. The confidence to buy more.
An interactive website isn't just a shopping basket. An interactive website is like a digital sales assistant. It establishes a relationship with your customers. That's why shrewd retailers have gone interactive. John Lewis trebled its clothing sales by making its fashion website interactive.
An interactive website cossets online customers like they had walked through the door. It answers customer queries over live video links, demonstrates products in innumerable combinations, listens to customer feedback. It's easy to do. It will boost your numbers. And invigorate your brand.
Even brands are becoming interactive. They have literally come alive. Take Burberry, makers of macs worn by famous people. They had a traditional brand. They did traditional marketing. They used to print pictures in magazines. Now customers print pictures on Burberry's website.
Brands are no longer aspirational. They're interactive. More than ever, your customers are your brand.
Large retailers have realised how important it is to up their online game. Their online sales are booming. And we're in the midst of a chronic recession. It was hard work for them. But it needn't be. Smaller companies can do it too. And at a fraction of the cost.
John Lewis showed how investment online can pay off. (ref computer weekly) It's biggest ever IT project was its online shop. It's biggest selling shop is now its website - bigger even than its flagship on Oxford Street. The opportunities are huge for those who reach for them.
You can digitize your business without spending truck-loads of money. The new internet technologies are extraordinarily affordable, and yet incredibly effective.
The new wave internet technologies are designed specifically for small and medium firms. They are solid and dependable. And they are every bit as powerful as the kind of systems used by large retailers. This is good news for you, because it means you can be up there with the best online. And that is important, because customers return to the best websites.
Online sales are growing three-times faster than shop-counter business. And this is in the midst of a recession. Almost everyone shops online nowadays. But if you think only cheap commodities sell online, think again.
Electricals, fashion, holidays, clothing, music, wine and spirits, footwear, beauty. Yes, they all sell. Cheap deals? Them too. But that's not all.
Almost everyone with an internet connection in Europe researches their buying decisions online - especially the big-ticket items. Even if they intend to go to a shop, they still look online first. That's what three quarters of all Europeans do. That's 178m people.
Half of all online shoppers still actually make their purchase in a shop. That doesn't mean they didn't find what they were looking for on the internet. On the contrary - half of all UK shoppers have switched brands after looking online. It is crucial that your website makes a good impression.
When it comes to winning business, it's not what you know but who you know that makes the difference. What you know counts only after you've got that all important introduction. Social networking makes it easier to get introductions - so yes, it will boost your sales. Here's how.
Social networking is a particularly helpful tool in a volatile economy, when it is more important than ever to find your next lead. Clients usually come through referrals. And referrals are the very blood of a social network.
Online social networks are an easy way to build a community of trusted contacts. Since every node in the network is a free agent, your community will be constantly alive with activity - constantly growing and evolving; constantly throwing up new opportunities.
All you have to do to get started is create a profile with your interests and capabilities. Then you establish contacts with others with whom you have things in common. That will first be those you know: your clients, industry peers, former classmates and co-workers.
A strong, resourceful network is built on a foundation of links between people who know one another. It is one that will act naturally in greater support of your aims. Whether you have an account on Facebook or LinkedIn, it’s wise to manage your social network accounts strategically.
Turbulent times. They can make or break you. How you react makes all the difference. The markets are overcast. The internet has whipped up a whirlwind. Hide until the storm passes and you will miss your chance to evolve.
The fittest survive because they adapt. Their environment changes, they change. They are the best fit. The fittest. They adapt. They thrive.
The winds of change have electrified the business environment.
The internet has put a fizz into everything. Competitors on the other side of the world are just a click away. Customers travel at the speed of light. One minute they're visiting your competitor, the next they're looking at you. They're sizing you up. How do you compare? They need to know. Now. Are you their best fit?
The internet has changed business forever. A website used to be an electronic shop front. A window display. It was all style, no substance.
Websites today have style and substance. They do more than mere ecommerce. They interact with your customers in more richly rewarding ways than merely exchanging money.
Websites are still window displays. But they are the shop floor too. The shop assistant and the store room. And the reference book under the counter. A website used to be something you stuck on your businesses. Now your website is your business. Every part of it. Living and breathing online.
Welcome to the 21st Century. It's digital. It's interactive. And the game is changing fast.