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Jeffrey Gitomer: Don’t even try to escape the net

I JUST heard some talking head say that last year’s increase in online holiday purchases was because of bad weather and high gas prices. What are they going to blame it on next year? Halley’s Comet? Hello! One thing has nothing to do with the other. It was 32 degrees in Miami, and people were buying online. If petrol was half the price, people would still be buying more online. It’s called reality. Wake up and smell the websites. Online purchases are going to increase forever. The experts trying to deny the inevitable are the ones with rotary dial telephones, who are “thinking about” getting a laptop; or businesses with their head in the sand, like fax machine manufacturers, or phone book printers. The question is not why are more online sales occurring? The question is: What are you doing to get your share? What can I buy from you, what can you inform me of that has value to me; what can you do to make my life easier and better; what can you do to entice me; how easy can you make it for me; how can you prove it to me; and how can I trust you enough for me to enter my credit card number and pull the trigger to purchase? Think about the things you have bought online in the past year. Wow! You wanted something, or needed something that did not have a today deadline, and you went to www.something.com, and bought. And you’re probably doing it more often than you ever did. Convenience, availability, ease of purchase, fits your timeframe, and you trust the seller. And if your need is greater, or more urgent, many sellers offer overnight delivery. About the only thing you can’t do online is reach through your computer and pull out the product. And isn’t it fun when the package arrives? Almost like Christmas in July. Let’s go back to why, and get to the root cause. People trust the internet more than ever. Microsoft, Yahoo, google and other search engines have made the internet the first place you go to get information – anything from a plane schedule to the weather. Anything from the date, time, and place that Mickey Mantle hit his 536th home run, to the perfect recipe for chocolate chip cookies. The internet has become prolific. Anything you sell in your store or business can be bought online. The only question is, from whom? The internet is now a trusted resource for information, and purchase follows trust. Think about your last car purchase. Did you go online to get information before you bought the car? Of course you did. You went online to gain or reinforce information to make an informed purchase. If you can gain all this information so easily, why not just buy it online? And so you do. But here’s the kicker: Each year, a new pool of computer literate (computer savvy) people enter the purchasing marketplace. They understand the immediacy and power that the internet provides. The new generation of kids entering the consumer marketplace thinks of the internet as the place to buy stuff. They don’t care about the weather, and the price of petrol is not going to affect their desire to purchase online – their decision to buy online is based on personal choice and convenience. Value offered, and value perceived. Reality: All brick and mortar stores have hours of operation. Nine to five. Nine to nine. The internet doesn’t. Internet hours of operation are: 24-7-365. I buy stuff at midnight. And so do you. I buy more and more stuff online. And so do you. And so does everyone. It’s not something to ‘measure’. Rather it’s the new reality; and getting more real by the click. Reality: Internet growth is in its infancy. It has no place to grow but up. And it will, and it is. The only question you have to ask yourself is: What are you doing about it? How is your business taking advantage of it, and how prepared are you to capture your share of it? My website, www.gitomer.com, underwent it’s fifth transformation this past year. We improved everything, including making it easier to purchase. We added video descriptions for every product, and made the customer experience more informative and more fun. And the result of my six-figure investment? Online sales have doubled. Note well: My website is also a resource for the sales and customer loyalty information I know my customers want and need. And a lot of it is free. People come to my website by the thousands to get my valuable information at no cost, and then they buy something while they are there. If you want more ideas on how to make your website more valuable, go to www.gitomer.com, register if you’re a first-time visitor, and enter the words SITE VALUE in the GitBit box.

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