Making The Web Work For Your C-Business
By Ron Goldberg
Ask any 10 custom professionals if their company has a Web site, and odds are that you'll get 10 affirmatives. Now ask the same 10 what the purpose of their company's site is, and you might get 10 different answers. Nearly a decade since the commercialization of the World Wide Web changed the planet forever, many C-businesses are still struggling to understand how to use the medium to their best advantage.
Custom is an industry based on the sale of technology, convenience and service. When properly deployed, the online environment can be a completely natural showcase for all these qualities.
But for a variety of reasons, many (if not most) C-tailers and system integrators are still under-utilizing a tool that, at its best, can efficiently acquire new customers while servicing existing ones; demonstrate past, present and future work; deliver estimates and quotes; alert customers to new products and upgrades; and even recruit new employees. Not a bad return on investment for something that can be built and maintained at a relatively nominal cost.
A smart Web presence for the C-tailer or system integrator means more than a static promotional page with a handful of digital pictures, a guest book sign-in and text that's indistinguishable from that of your competitors. As long as you've gone through the trouble and expense of putting up a site, it's time to make it work for your customers and for your business.
DEFINING YOUR MESSAGE
Much of the spectacular rise and fall of the dotcom phenomenon was based on the concept of selling things online, better known as E-commerce. That's never been terribly relevant to specialty C-tailers or integrators, who typically don't depend on (or even offer) online sales, and in any case, often focus on protected lines. But the E-commerce phenomenon has left behind a leg-acy of Web site design orientation that remains prevalent throughout CE sites everywhere. Sites that fall into this legacy thinking put the focus on the products and/or services that are being sold, rather than the seller itself.