Business Diversification

Business Diversification: Diversify your business or Die!

business diversificationI was trying to think of some catchy phrase to talk about the importance of diversification and the importance of keeping a pulse on whatever industry you are in. The Internet is no exception.

Recently, a friend informed me that we was closing his brick and mortar business that had been part of a local community for roughly 20 years. I’ve got similar stories from other friends with brick and mortar or service related businesses.

Here’s a fact: Business is constantly evolving. You and I must evolve with business cycles.

One of the major technologies that has changed the way business is conducted is the Internet, but I’m amazed at some of my old-school friends and business associates that fail to take advantage of or evolve with the way their particular industry is changing.

Everyone knows that having a website for your business today is important, just as having a business card was a no-brainer.

For nearly everyone of my personal friends or business associates that has run into roadblocks with their brick and mortar or service business, some of those issues could have been avoided or minimized if they had diversified via their website. Selling products or services, up-sells, cross-marketing, etc.

How has your business been affected by the economy or technology changes? Did  you diversify your business or did you miss the boat?

Share your story with our visitors below.

Business Diversification:

Wikipedia

Auto Dealers Turning Customers Away?

auto dealer internet leadsIf you are a sales manager at a dealership or a GM and you discovered that your salespeople we turning people away how would you react?

Let’s say a potential customer walked into your dealership and asked a salesperson about a 2010 victory red Camaro, but you sold it the day before or just hour before the prospect walked through the door…and the salesperson replies; Sorry, we just sold that vehicle, but thanks for stopping by.

The typical “sales” approach most dealerships would take would be to ask the prospect a few of the following questions:

  • We have a 2010 green Camaro or a 2011 victory red Camaro in stock now. Would you like to take a look at those vehicles?
  • Ask, are there any other vehicles we might be able to show you today?
  • If I can find you a 2010 victory red Camaro how soon would you be looking to purchase?

Most sales managers or GM’s would show a salesperson where the door is if they did not make some attempt to engage a visitor to their brick and mortar dealership…so why are some auto dealers turning online prospects away looking for used vehicles?

While working on a used car project recently, we discovered that many if not all used car dealers won’t accept a vehicle inquiry if they mark the vehicle for removal from their database. The visitor inquired about a specific vehicle, but the dealer won’t accept the prospect’s online inquiry because they already sold the vehicle possibly. What if the dealer had the same vehicle in the same color, or only a year or two off from the vehicle in question? The dealer will never know because they never let the prospect through the front door.

Most auto dealers would never do this to a customer walking through their front door, so why are auto dealers turning online customers away looking for used vehicles?

If a used car dealer crunched the numbers they would still have a respectable ROI for used vehicle inquiries while adding some names to their marketing list.

I’d be interested in hearing from used car dealers, General Managers, or even some owners to get your perspective on why you don’t want a used vehicle lead if it is marked for deletion from your database.

We’ve been working with auto dealers for five years helping them generate quality leads with a great ROI. Got questions about generating online leads for your store? Drop us a line and we’ll be happy to answer any questions you might have.

eCommerce Outsourcing | Outsource Your eCommerce & Shopping Cart

eCommerce outsourcing; Should you consider it for your business?

Just this week I’ve met with two businesses that have been around for quite some time. Successful businesses in their own right, but they’ve never done any business online. Over the years I’ve built many ecommerce sites utilzing open source products such as osCommerce, Zend, and a fairly new shopping cart system from Magento which is gaining market share very rapidly. Back in the day I set up CGI based ecommerce forms that would generate an order number, but nothing like what today’s open source shopping cart tools offer.

Do you have a brick and mortar business? And have never tried e-Commerce. If you’re like many small to medium size business owners, you’re probably intimidated, scared, or just don’t know the right questions to ask. Here’s why I think ecommerce outsourcing can be a win-win for the brick and mortar store or business with product to sell:

  • No huge out of pocket expense to the business owner
  • Performance based relationship – If the marketing company you work with does not perform, they don’t get paid
  • Shared risk by both the business owner and marketing company managing shopping cart
  • Business owner is freed up from having to learn everything there is to learn about ecommerce and online marketing
  • Reduced time to market and performance

There are many companies that can manage just the marketing side of the equation, and other companies that can handle the shopping cart side and all the minute details associated with setting up your ecommerce website. Search Engine Pro can handle them both.

If you’re thinking of setting up an ecommerce site for the first time, and possibly outsourcing your shopping cart management and/or online marketing give us an opportunity to see if we might be a good match for your product line. If we’re not interested, we’ll tell you right up front. We’ll also be happy to share with you our 10+ years of knowledge in working with ecommerce websites and online marketing.

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Mobile Search and Product Convergence

With all the promise for mobile search, 2D bar codes, bar code scanning, etc. I thought I would share a personal experience today and my personal thoughts on where I think mobile search and product convergence will be an amazing step forward for consumers.

I have a large screen projection TV; the bulb blew out and I wanted to replace it. While I found many online places I could have purchased one and waited for delivery, I wanted to purchase one locally within a 25 mile radius. This was also an experiment of sorts. After making several phone calls and discovering that local stores were closed or do not stock bulbs or parts for TVs 2 or more years old I tried something different in my searching.

My initial Google searches and authorized repair store searches came up empty. The store I’ll plug for free is Fry’s Electronics. When I went to their site, my initial search by part number came up empty on both the TV model # and the bulb model # I was looking for. After doing a broad search on the site by TV brand, I stumbled upon the bulb # I was seeking.

Once I found the bulb, everything else was awesome; I was able to check for in-store pick-up before I jumped in my car.

Conclusion: Brick and mortar sites both on local search and internal search fail to deep link effectively for mobile local search. At the point in which brick and mortar stores have internal search that is deep enough for consumers to find parts or products easy, both desktop and mobile search will be limited in their effectiveness to help consumers find the products they are looking for via mobile device.

For mobile local search to be powerful for brick and mortar stores, they will need to make sure their products are deep linked on the web. A category level only web presence will not have maximum effectiveness for mobile local searches. Once brick and mortar stores allow their products and parts to show up on the web for local search based on a part number, zip code, sku, etc. they will start to realize the power of local search on mobile devices.

Read my 2nd product search on the same day…

Continue reading “Mobile Search and Product Convergence”