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The Online Store Question in Web Marketing

To support your web marketing efforts you may be considering a storefront, but what type ? Online stores come in two forms: pure-play stores that exist only online and bricks-and-clicks stores that supplement a real-world storefront with a cyberstore. Both require the careful decision making that businesses routinely devote to opening a new location on Main Street. Online stores achieve maximum value when they're customercentric, anticipating users’ needs and filling them.

According to a 2011 U.S. Department of Commerce report on retail e-commerce sales, 2010 was a banner year for B2C (business-to-consumer) online sales, with a 7 percent increase from 2010, almost twice the overall growth of retail during that time.

The 2010 dollar value of $165.4 billion in online, nontravel sales represents 4.2 percent of all retail sales, up from 3.9 percent in 2009. (Add to that another 85.2 billion in online travel spending.)

When excluding sales in categories not commonly bought online — automobiles, fuel, grocery, and food service sales — Internet Retailer calculates that e-commerce accounted for 7.6 percent of total retail sales during 2010, up from 7.0 percent in 2009.

In spite of these numbers, don’t get snookered by TV commercials that show money rolling in from online sales the minute you go live. Success requires a realistic estimate of how much time and money you need to invest. You must also apply what you already know about retail marketing to your cyberstore.

If you’re interested in finding out more about setting up an online store, check out Starting an Online Business For Dummies, 6th Edition, by Greg Holden (John Wiley & Sons, Inc.).

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