7. Get on top of it or get run over
You are facing a revolution. If you don't get on top of it, you may be left behind by those who do.
A few years ago nobody had heard about the Internet. Today everybody has. Many even prefer it to TV. It is as simple as that. The fact that you are reading this book shows you are taking things more serious than many of your competitors. Congratulations. Because with all these people shopping on the Internet, you'll at least need to know what is going on.
Granted, you could just ignore e-commerce, continue with business as usual, and it mightn't even hurt you - for now.
But shopping habits are changing dramatically. Customers expect more and more service. Among these services access via the Internet rates high. Because it saves time. Remember how no one thought fax machines where needed? Or mobile phones? By providing e-commerce as a service, you ensure your customers stay loyal to you - and you will gain new ones.
Research in the USA has shown profits increase by up to 10% in brick and mortar shops, who also opened a shop on the Net, and promoted it to existing clientele. This included purchases by many customers who checked out the products on the Internet to save time, but then purchased them in the real shop, anyway. Keeping in mind it only costs a few hundred Rands to get involved, it sounds like a good deal to me.
And just think of all those businesses which successfully sell only on the Internet, competing and surviving against the big chains.
Get your foot in the door
e-commerce is still young. But it is continuously growing. More and more consumers go online every day. Most of them have more money to spend than the average consumer.
Your Internet shop can be a sideline to an existing business - or a new venture.
Your Internet shop can generate direct sales - from people ordering directly via their computer - and indirect sales - from people who browse your web site and then visit you in the real world to buy or call you up. So even if you don't sell much via the online shop, your overall sales should still go up if you promote your Internet shop properly.