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Internet And Businesses Online And The Expansion Of Main Street

Feb 28, 2008
How can the Internet help traditional brick and mortar stores?

To get the best answer for that we need to review some of the dynamics associated with conducting business on the streets of any country.

At one point in time a singular business in a singular town resulted in trust among the residents of a town that benefited the business. In many cases if a business offered a specialized product or service other businesses in town did not try to duplicate. This resulted in more stability for the business and more customer loyalty.

In time larger retail stores came to town offering a variety of products and generally at a price that was less expensive than a business that may have been in existence for an extended period of time. In many cases the price leverage of the larger retail outlet caused the smaller local business to close shop.

As mergers and acquisitions take place around the world it is a web-based business expansion that is allowing some struggling businesses to remain viable.

The most simplified answer to how this works is that the business opens itself up to a global customer base. Interestingly it is niche market products and services that may benefit most from expanding online.

These brick and mortar stores can continue serving their local customer base, but they can also develop a product fulfillment division that can manage the orders that are developed from your online business profile.

This can't be viewed as a quick fix because it can take some time for your site to be indexed and for online users to find your business, but they will.

Many struggling local businesses in the United States and abroad could improve their bottom line if they considered a much larger potential base of customer support.

This will require some new skills in developing an online business and marketing, but it holds the best promise for producing longevity in your business that can allow your local customers to continue visiting your store while online users have the opportunity to access the unique products or services you make available.

In many cases the online branch of a preexisting business may develop such a following that it outpaces the local brick and mortar receipts.

That isn't just a pie in the sky platitude. This exact scenario is happening around the world. Even retail stores that may have unintentionally usurped many local businesses are finding the value in an online store. You would be hard pressed to find a major retailer that did not also have a web presence. These stores serve to fill in the gap, appeal to those contemplating a trip to their store and to those who have no access to the store, but want their products.

There is no reason why a more local or regionally based company can't find nontraditional customers in the same online environment.

Sadly there will be many businesses that will close their doors this month that never considered the possibilities of offsetting losses with more customers - online.
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