It is important to define the products and services you want to promote online. Sometimes the products and services you offer offline in your physical store are the same as in your online store, but quite often there are differences.
Business owners that have a bricks-and-mortar location sometimes assume that their online storefront is an extension of their offline storefront and that they will provide exactly the same products and services online as offline. In some cases, fewer products are offered online than in the physical store. This is often the case if you are test marketing, but also if some of the products you sell in your physical location are not appropriate for online sales because of competitive pricing or shipping logistics.
In other cases, your online store might offer more products or services than the bricks-and-mortar location. For example, your offline bookstore might not offer shipping or gift wrapping. If your online bookstore does not offer these services, you will lose a lot of business to your online competition. When a site’s product offerings include items that are appropriate for gift giving, it is essential to also offer wrapping, customized cards, shipping to multiple addresses, and shipping options. The consumer is “king” and is very demanding. You have to meet and beat your consumers’ expectations online to garner market share. People shopping for gifts online are looking for convenience, and the site that provides the greatest convenience and the greatest products at the lowest prices will be the winner.
You will want to look at how to get a “greater share of wallet” with every online sale. Are there opportunities for you to up-sell? Is there an opportunity to show purchasers things like “Customers who bought this product also bought . . ” to encourage additional sales. Once customers add a product to their shopping cart and click “Continue Shopping,” what landing page are you sending them to?
Once you have clearly defined your online objectives, your target markets, and the products or services you want to promote online, you are ready to move to the next phase of planning your Web site—doing your competitive analysis.