Selling online: A tale of two attitudes
This article first appeared on August 16, 2011
It's an age-old adage. And it's not just new age positive speaking spin.
"Every cloud has a silver lining".
Or put another way, "every threat provides a golden opportunity".
And it's a perspective that sorts out the successes from the failures. Time after time throughout history, it's the entrepreneur or visionary who recognises the thread of opportunity where everyone else sees doom and gloom.
Now it's happening again with the boom in online retailing, or more accurately, a comparative boom when one considers the state of "traditional" retailing.
But what is it that allows two people from the same industry to have entirely opposing views on the same situation?
It's like that old chestnut about the two shoe salesmen sent on a sales reconnaissance to Papua New Guinea. One comes back and says to the boss, "There's no hope, nobody wears shoes". The other comes back and says, "It's amazing! Nobody wears shoes!"
By way of illustration, two responses were made in different online forums to the online selling boom.
The first appeared in The Age last week as a response to the story headlined: Booming internet hits $80 billion.
The very first public response to the story, from Ms Dalma Smithy of Queensland went like this:
Yeah, yeah, yeah – good news for the Tax Office. How many of these at home workers pay GST, insurance, workshop, health and safety issues payments? Then there are the shonks who sell from home and refuse refunds, giving an exchange, and often valueless docket so you have to keep buying to redeem your expense? The market is riddled with shysters who pry on the vulnerable – no wonder it's a booming business.
In reality, they are putting the retail industry and thousands of honest workers out of jobs – maybe your son or daughter perhaps?
The second appeared the day after in a LinkedIn Group called Australasian Retail Professionals from Sydney custom t-shirts retailer Mr Kevin Rack in response to a discussion question: "Will technology be the saviour for bricks and mortar retail in Australia...thoughts?"
Yes, technology can be the saviour for traditional retail if shop owners recognise the changes that are occurring and do not have fear in changing.
Retail bricks and mortar is undergoing a change driven by the consumer's online shopping trend and this is one of the fastest growth areas.
(My business) Mabuzi was primarily traditional retail business and three years ago we launched our website with an eCommerce module. The website has been the biggest growth area in turnover and is more profitable even though we offer the products at a better rate online. We now have an in-store kiosk ordering system too for those customers who still wish to see the products before they buy. Customers will visit the shop then continue to purchase online.
There will come a point where you can decide whether being in high rental environment is financially sound. For Mabuzi, the web is giant retail precinct with shop window displays been the website itself.
We are a successful retail hybrid module achieving our sales targets even in these times.
Embrace the change.
Time will tell as to which attitude prevails!
Has Ms Smithy any real reason to fear, or is Mr Rack one of the technology savvy few? Tell us your thoughts by commenting below.
In addition to being a leading eBusiness educator to the smaller business sector, Craig Reardon is the founder and director of independent web services firm The E Team which was established to address the special website and web marketing needs of SMEs in Melbourne and beyond.