Business and the Web

There was an article in yesterday's Roanoke Times in the Business section about a new firm in Roanoke that is selling late model used cars with a "new car showroom" approach. The owner is trying to overcome the stigma associated with the stereotyped used car salesman by offering only late model cars in excellent condition, and using a high quality presentation.

What was interesting was the owner's remark about his Web site. What he said was that he had put a lot of time and effort into the site because buyers checked out a business by taking a look at the Web site before visiting the physical location.

This businessperson has it exactly right, and has figured out that Manufacturing Economy sales techniques have to be updated to reflect the new kinds of tools that consumers have at their fingertips--literally. This firm has a large, expensive product that is typically sold in person,but the company is using the Web as an integral part of the sales experience.

How about the retail businesses in your area? Are they putting appropriate and regular time and energy into their Web sites? Do they understand the potential for expanding their business into new markets and attracting new customers? Have they figured out that the Web is now important to help keep their current customers? Does your economic development authority have regular programs for local businesses on how to use the Web?

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