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Some wise words from Michael Porter
[Newsletter 8]
Why your web site doesn't deliver customers - Some little known facts
 

Why Your Web Site Doesn't Deliver Customers
the Way You Thought It Would

Most web sites do not deliver customers

Talk with any business owner on what his website is doing for his business and the answer is almost always the same. "We got 7000 hits since January but only a handful of direct contacts from these visitors and not a single sale that I can be sure came directly from the website." Most feel that it would be very difficult to justify the cost of the website as a communication tool, versus other more tangible sales tools. On the other hand, they know they must have a website, since it has become an essential signal of a company's credibility. What they have not understood is that the Internet has caused a fundamental change in the way business is done.

Some Facts

A Statistics Canada report published in November 2000 on business usage of the Internet in 1999 shows the following highlights:

a) The Internet was used by 52.8% of enterprises, accounting for 75% of economic activity.
b) The proportion of enterprises with Web sites was 21.7% accounting for 44.8% of private sector economic activity.
c) Among other uses, the Internet was used to purchase goods and services by 13.8% of enterprises and by 10.1% to sell goods and services.

Giving the rapid growth in usage, it may be assumed that all these figures would be very much higher now in 2001.

What do we learn from these facts

There would seem to be a paradox between the "facts" cited in the first section - few sales from websites - and the StatCan facts. But you may note that in 1999, more businesses were using the Internet to purchase than were using the Internet to (try to) sell. Therein lies the answer. The Internet can provide information. The Internet changes the relative power of buyer and seller. Whereas before the Internet, purchasers had to meet salesmen, this is no longer the case.

The Internet is a one-way mirror for buyers as they check out the market place

With the Internet, a purchaser can find most of the competitive offerings, which are available. Each can be evaluated to some extent before the seller even knows that the purchaser is interested. The purchaser is even more in control of the process. A long list can be cut down to the 3 or 4 most likely suppliers, before any seller knows what is going on.

The Internet can be a wall to keep out the salesmen

Electronic telephone switchboards and voice boxes made the seller's task of contacting the potential purchaser almost impossible. Now the Internet increases the difficulty by an order of magnitude. Purchasers can insist they wish to check out a website and receive information by email. How can the salesman ever get to apply the selling skills he has developed to maximize sales?

One solution to beat "the wall"

The only real way to beat "the wall" is to get invited in through the door. To get the invitation, the company must be seen to stand out from the competition and give some unique value that is not provided by the competitive offers. That unique value can only come from a clear and effective Marketing Strategy, which responds to the real needs of the purchaser.

If you wish to use this approach, SMM will be happy to work with you. Our help can be configured to meet exactly the needs you have. Our strengths, experience, creativity and practical common sense can complement those of your company. So write us a Fast Message today, , on what you're looking for.

Barry Welford

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Some wise words from Michael Porter
Why your web site doesn't deliver customers - Some little known facts
 


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 Copyright 2001 Barry Welford, Montreal, Quebec, Canada