The Internet can be fairly intimidating for business owners and managers, especially those who specialize in offline goods. However, with the proper planning and the willingness to learn, an online sales channel can also cause your business to grow exponentially.
Companies of any size, even those offering the most antiquated of products, can build a successful sales channel online.
Plan Your Web Presence
Would you put a product on a store shelf with spelling and grammatical errors on the packaging? Would you mail a catalog or direct mail piece that looks like it was drawn by an elementary student? Probably not, right?
When you set out to create a web site for the first time, or redesign an existing platform, you must first determine what you want your web presence to accomplish for your business. Is the only goal sales? Do you want to extend the reach of your brand? Or help customers make an informed decision?
Make a Proper Effort
Too often, companies simply assign the livelihoods of their web channel to the biggest geek on their staff or the first outsourced company with the right price tag and expect them to work in a vacuum, with little to no support, authority or resources. Unfortunately, the level of success you can achieve with your Internet sales channel is almost always directly linked to how involved your top minds stay in the project.
The ideal web presence involves everyone from the front lines to the front office in some way, shape or form. Whether marketing, merchandising, production or customer service, the department who fails to be involved will be the area of your web presence with the greatest need for improvement.
Rinse, Lather, Repeat
When you set out to build an online presence for your business, it is extremely important to realize that just like your catalog, direct mail, tv ads, and all other forms of marketing, your online sales channel will not be a build it once and be done endeavor. Your web site will need improvements made as technology progresses.
On top of routine upgrades, some of the most successful web sites employ the art of testing new copy, offers, graphics, etc on a regular basis, continually trying to improve performance. Fine tuning the message and ensuring usability are essential to ensure your customers continue to get the most out of your site.