Written by Doron Levy,
I’m an Ops guy. Always have been and probably always will be. I succumbed about 5 years ago and started to embrace the internet and it’s usefulness in retail. I want wrap up my discussion on the Internet back in the store.
I actually did open up my recent ValPak envelope because we are looking to do some enhancements to the front entrance to our house. Where else is there to look for such things? Flipping through the little flyers (which do look good but are stale in comparison to a really effective website) I noticed a business just down the street from us that specializes in household demolition and porch design.
The website is prominently displayed on the front, so being the online guy that I am, I checked it out. Absolutely gorgeous site. Flash intro, colorful backgrounds, hi res pictures of their work, testimonials (which are also really important to have on your site) and a small ‘design your own porch’ interface that was very easy to use.
I will spare you the gory details but upon arrival at the store, I didn’t even think I was at the right place. The store had no sign on the front, the salesfloor was dark and dingy. The ‘customer service rep’ sitting (I should say slouching) at the desk seemed less interested in helping us and more interested in the Ho Ho he was scarfing down. Being the only customers in the store, we were provided ample (and when I say ample I mean infinity) time to browse.
After my experience, I showed that site to a web design colleague of mine and he mentioned that he would charge upwards of 10K plus plus plus for a site like that for a small business. What the heck? You are telling me that this business spent a huge chunk of cash to get a gorgeous site and put no money into the store? Doesn’t add up in my opinion (my spidy Ops senses are tingling).
The bottom line is that you if you are going to use the Internet to market your retail businesses, you better have a store that reflects what you have on the net. In fact, I would start with the store first, then work outwards. Turns out Ho Ho boy was the owner and has an awful reputation in the neighborhood. What you see is what you get.
Doron Levy is president of Captus Business Consulting. Captus provides support to the retail industry. His blog can be found at www.gocaptus.com/blog and can he can be reached at email@example.com.