She quotes a Jupiter Research report which states:
Jupiter found that 2007 online holiday sales — which hit $39 billion in the United States — increased 20 percent from the same period in 2006 “while off-line sales remained dismal.” Jupiter concludes that retailers must upgrade their Web sites in order to boost holiday sales during the 2008 holiday season.
Your Web Site Is Not A One-Way Street
I’d like to add two suggestions. First, if you have a “Contact Us” link on your Web site for customers to get in touch with you. Respond to them. Some customers will have complaints, some will have questions, and a few will have suggestions, which might make you money. Failure to respond to these queries damages the relationship you have with your customers.
They’re Talking–Are You Listening?
Second, what are your customers saying about you in the online world? What if an angry customer decided to get even with you by trashing your business on the Internet? Would you even know it’s happening? It is not difficult to subscribe to Google Alerts or to use various search engines to find references to your business. Assign that task to a manager trainee or an administrative assistant. Once they see something, they can bring it to your attention.
Dell Computer is still recovering from the negative comments made about it years ago on the Internet. There’s no telling how many sales they lost. (Although, in that case many of the comments were justified.)
Being proactive in the online world is not all that time consuming and can help you build customer loyalty. Remember, it’s cheaper to retain customers than gain new ones.