Connections - Lessons in Cyberselling
Beyond the spectacular numbers, the latest online holiday season delivered lessons that hint at the Web's role in future sales strategies for brick-and-mortar giants, specialty retailers and Internet-only purveyors such as Amazon.com and eBay.
When the e-commerce frenzy began, attention was focused on the new breed of Internet-only merchants. But recent experience shows a victory for "brick-and-click" merchants who can parlay existing store relationships into cyberspace success. Best Buy, for instance, reports that one-half its customers now check its Web site before visiting a retail store.
Wal-Mart found its online formula through trial and error. It now sells about 4,000 items through its Web site, compared to the 25,000 products offered when it began its brick-and-click arrangement. That's a lesson in focusing on the right products; you need experience to make such decisions.