The World Wide Web Still uncharted waters for many
By the end of 2000, nearly everyone was familiar with the
Internet. But while most companies recognized that the Web had become a
viable and convenient way to do business, many collectible and niche-market
firms were staying away, deterred by the expense and difficulty of fielding
an effective online presence. That perception was justified. Many companies
that made the jump early on were disappointed with the results.
the Web requires an approach radically different from that of a brick and
mortar store. It takes much more than just being there with a Billboard
or even with an interactive site to achieve success. Yes, customers are out
there, but without extensive and costly promotion, most merchants have little
chance to be found among the glut of sites competing for attention.
Is auction the answer?
Because of the difficulty of attracting buyers, many
merchants have focused on the large number of customers being drawn to
on-line auctions, most notably eBay. Some found success with this medium but
soon learned that not everything sells and not always for a profitable price.
More often than not, higher priced items fail to get any bids at all. And as
the number of items on eBay has grown, sales volume and customer quality has
fallen while listing fees have become more expensive. This highlights the
need for alternative ways to sell merchandise effectively, especially better
quality, fixed-price goods.
Should a flea-market venue be your only Web presence?
eBay has begun offering their sellers simple Web Stores
on which to offer non-auction merchandise. But with the same format and
audience, these stores are little more than fixed-price versions of eBay
auctions, complete with similar listing fees and sales commissions. And while
eBay may draw plenty of traffic, its clearly price-conscious visitors
generally lack the product knowledge needed to be informed buyers hardly the
serious, knowledgeable customers you want if youre selling high-quality
collectibles or specialty items.
Target your niche & broaden your exposure