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Wednesday, Mar. 28, 2007 at 7:02 am

Are Websites Just for ECommerce?

By Michele Miller
March 28th, 2007

storefront.jpegThis past weekend, I had the pleasure of presenting a seminar on the topic of marketing to women, to the National Association of School Music Dealers. During the segment on the importance of effective websites, a participant raised his hand. “We don’t have e-commerce on our website,” he said. “If we’re not selling online, is it really important to invest in a good website?”

I could have given several answers, but with limited time, I simply presented him with one statistic. According to a recent study cited in, 58% of broadband users who did research on a product made the purchase in a store.

Not surprisingly, the room became very quiet. I had just provided a wake-up call.

You may not be selling product online, but you’re definitely selling your brand. You’d better do a good job convincing me online that you’re my best choice; otherwise, you probably won’t see my face in front of your cash register.

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Comments (3)

  1. This is a big wake-up call for many people who have been ignoring the issue. My parents run a retail store in Washington, D.C. and their website and emails drive several million dollars a year in retail sales- all of it instore, because they do no shipping or sales from the website.

    I’m wondering what your thoughts are about the ‘medium jump.’ Meaning moving people from one medium (online) to another medium (bricks and mortar.) Or from a postcard to a website to the retail store. Or, or…

    Any insights you can share about what it takes to get someone from one medium to another?

  2. Thanks for commenting, Mark. Your question alone could be an afternoon seminar! I’m delighted to hear your parents are having such tremendous success, and would look to see what they’re doing. I would suspect:

    1. They have a clear vision of what their core values are (as opposed to a mission statement) and everything they do and say through their business resonates with those values.

    2. In sharing their message, they are consistent through all mediums. Saying the same thing in the same way that compels a customer to take action is no small challenge.

    3. They are aware of slight differentiations in language required through each medium. While all mediums try to do the same thing (convince a customer to take action), they each carry limitations… of size, etc. If you’re at all familiar with the Eisenberg’s book “Waiting for Your Cat to Bark?” you know that it’s not enough to put copy on a website. Different people come to websites with different needs. The magic happens when you create web copy that speaks to all needs, creates a “scent trail” for the customer to follow, and leads them to follow-through. In the case of your parents, it’s driving customers into the retail store.

    Bravo to them, and good luck to you!

  3. Here’s another argument: Promotional brochures and TV ads can’t accept payments either! You still try to do a good job and invest money presenting yourself through those mediums …

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