Success in On-Line Business


Here is a story of four traders who each started with a website built by us, retailing the same products Australia-wide from different cities. It's hard to compare businesses with different products in different markets, but these four businesses had all those factors in common.

Start-up:

  • Trader A started with a website and a spare room at home, and became so successful that he needed to open a shop.

  • Trader B (in another city) liked Trader A's website, so he also started with a website and a spare room at home, and became so successful that he also needed to open a shop.

  • Trader C bought Trader A's website, shop lease and business and employed someone to run it for him.

  • Trader D (in a third city) liked Trader C's website so started with a website and a spare room at home.
Current status:
  • Trader A, after a break, started a new website and a shop with the same products (but a different part of the city). He now has two retail stores plus he is starting a wholesale division.

  • Trader B is very successful and happy with one shop.

  • Trader C has closed down.

  • Trader D is still struggling.
So, four businesses starting with similar websites designed by us, with the same products, in the same market, in the same country, have four different results.

Observations:

Service: - Traders A and B are always available to give personal service and advice by phone or email on their products. They each told us that this was as well as their having full information on their websites and FAQ pages answering most questions. Trader C's employee was often out of the shop and left customer enquiries unanswered. Trader D was working elsewhere during the day, and relied on potential customers either placing orders on-line or leaving messages on an answering machine.

Range: - Traders A and B carried a full range of inventory. C advertised a full range but was often out of stock. D carried only a limited range.

Competition: - The same products were all stocked by large chain stores and other on-line traders, so the fact that Traders A and B prospered indicates that their personal service was able to attract customers away from the impersonal chain stores and other on-line traders.

In our own business of developing websites, even though large projects can and are carried out using email only, a number of clients have made contact with us by telephone in the early stages, even from 4,000 kilometres away. We have a lot of information on our website, but perhaps people need reassurance that there is another human, not a robot, at the other end. Different products have different issues. But the above story shows traders with a full range of products, who know their products and can offer personal service are ahead of others.

More information for small businesses is found at platypus websites - www.platywebs.com.au.

Ken McKay designed his first website in 1997 and, through Platypus Websites, has been building commercial websites since 1999.

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