I write this article in the midst of the Holiday Shopping season. It is too early for totals, but one thing is for certain; Online Shopping is here to stay! While some extenuating circumstances such as weather and recent high profile crime sprees may have contributed to the increase in the number of online shoppers this year, one can not ignore the simplicity of online shopping. For people like me that would rather go to war than to a Mall, the ability to shop a major department store via their website is definitely an option worth exploring! The Internet Industry is shaking off the concerns of the dot com era and is quickly becoming common form of communication.
According to the AC Nielson Ratings, online shopping grew by 22% last year. Stronger gains are expected this year. The Atlas Institute revealed that online retailers experience almost as much revenue in January as they do in December due to people looking to cash in on post holiday sales and wanting to ‘treat themselves’. A majority of online shoppers are actually shopping from work. Weekdays are the busiest times for online retailers (Wednesday is #1) with the peak times being between 12pm and 3pm.
The Internet is not just used for Christmas Shopping, though. When I was in school, the only way one could research for a project or report was to go to the Encyclopedias or spend the day in the library. My problem was that the library was too far away and our Encyclopedias had gotten my parents through school and were a little outdated! Today, the Internet can provide you with almost all the answers to just about anything.
My nine year old son was telling me that once his class collectively found 400 homophones, (two or more words that sound a like but are spelled differently i.e. Bear and Bare) the school would buy the class a Pizza Party. I told him to get online and do a search for homophones and within 30 minutes he had written down all that he needed. He wanted to simply print the page but I thought it would go over better with the teacher if he wrote them out!
A few months ago I had a client that had an off shore boat up for sale and asked my company to put it on Ebay. While it did not sell, the auction ended over $30,000 and the auction had over two thousand visitors! His boat could not have experienced that kind of exposure by simply placing it in front of his home or business. Other clients use Ebay as a way of liquidating older inventory. Rather than hauling it to the auction and taking your lumps, Ebay has proven to be a way to move that same inventory relatively quickly and for a profit.
One of our newest clients recently opened his doors for business in Madison County when he contacted us about managing a website for him. I asked him why he was so eager to get his site up so soon and he said, “Having a website is as important as printing business cards. Nobody comes in and says, ‘I found this business card so I thought I would come in and buy a car’, but every car dealer has business cards.” Having a website makes me available to anyone who wants to know when I am open, wants to call me, wants to get directions to my lot, and wants to see the vehicles I have for sale.
We are all looking forward to Tax Season and many of us take this time to do some planning for the next calendar year. For those that already have a website, now is the time to review your site. Make sure it adequately reflects the image you have in mind for your business. Put yourself in your customer’s shoes and verify that your site would answer all the questions any customer would have. Contact your Webmaster and get your site ready for 2003. Be sure you are utilizing all the tools available to you.
If you do not have a website, now is the time to consider one. It usually takes JTZ Enterprise 3-4 weeks to build a website. The expense for a Basic dealership website would equate to less than $80 a month. Unlike other forms of advertising though, this one can display your entire inventory 365 days a year as well as provide a map and directions to your lot, introduce you and your staff, and even collect payments from current customers!
Happy New Year, everyone from JTZ Enterprise!