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An Online Storefront Can Level the Shopping Playing Field

Jan 30, 2008
An online storefront can offer customers plenty of options and make shopping online easier and quicker than ever before. Most small business owners don't give these online storefronts the credit they deserve for another advantage that they offer, however. The real consumer revolution is the ease with which small to medium size retailer companies can implement an online storefront and successfully compete with the big dogs of online shopping.

Stores like Amazon, Overstock and a handful of other big box stores offer tons of specials and an easy-to-use template for shopping, but they are getting some stiff competition these days from smaller, regional retailers and specialty boutiques. A few decades ago, this wouldn't have been possible because the regional stores had a limited reach and weren't as easily accessible as large chain stores. Today, however, the no boundaries realm of the Internet means that you can sell your product to customers around the world regardless of whether you're operating from a huge warehouse just outside of a major city or your basement in a midwestern small town.

In the early days of the Internet, many small businesses and boutiques tried their hand at online marketing but weren't as successful as they had hoped. Part of the problem was lack of expertise in designing an appealing website and part of the problem was the lack of an easy-to-use customer interface for a shopping cart. Without the kind of money needed to hire top-of-the-line developers or the know-how to do it themselves, the smaller boutiques and mom-and-pop shops quickly lost customers' interest because it was difficult to browse, order and purchase online.

Fortunately, there are many sources today where businesses can purchase professionally designed templates for online storefronts at reasonable prices. These templates are polished, attractive, professionally designed storefront solutions that can be tailored to the individual needs of any company or service. Small businesses and stores no longer have to rely on inexpensive solutions that end up looking cheap compared to the mega stores they are competing with. With an online storefront, a two-person operation can look as slick and modern as the multinational competition.

The latest storefront solutions offer hundreds of different templates tailored to all kinds of industries, including interior design, medical and legal, apparel, electronics, business-to-business and personal services. With a wide array of templates to fit a company's specific industry, customizing it for a "perfect fit" is easy to do and can give exceptional results. Stunning colors, outstanding graphics and professional photography are now within reach for even the smallest boutique-style website, giving them a huge presence and massive appeal. Customized color options, lettering and the option to upload your own company logo or showroom photos mean that a website designed using an online storefront template looks just as good as those designed from scratch by high-priced private design firms.

One of the problems smaller businesses can have when they establish an Internet presence is how to give plenty of options that will make shopping easier for the customer without breaking their operating budgets. Online storefront packages offer a great solution. The code is already written, the ability to make changes remotely is built-in and the designs are extremely intuitive for shoppers. If an online boutique tried to have a complex shopping system built from the ground up, it could cost in the tens of thousands of dollars. But a shopping cart template included with an online storefront program can offer options like the ability to add new products and services whenever needed and easy methods for changing photos and descriptions as inventory changes. Programs can also include inventory tracking, purchase, discount and exchange features that are easy to use and even sales, coupons and special discounts for customers.

Check out some online retailers the next time you're browsing the Internet. We bet you'll be amazed at the impressive online storefronts you'll find being operated by small businesses, if you can figure out which ones those are.
About the Author
AspDotNetStorefront is a premier online storefront and shopping cart provider.
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