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January 14th, 2011

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11:24 pm - Businesses without websites
In the 90s and through the dot com bust, there was an obvious trend that every business wanted to have a website if not an online store. Many jumped on the bandwagon and business was great for web developers of course.
Then there was a trend to downscale, and many businesses shut down their online stores to cut down on costs. Now I see a newer trend of businesses shutting down their websites in favor of Facebook or Twitter!

I have no objection to having social media presence, but they should be complementary not instead of. I remember once looking for a restaurant that I liked and wanted to know if they were open at the time or not. They did not have a website, and their hours were not listed anywhere, so  I had the choice between driving all the way and risking a disappointment or just going elsewhere, the decision was made easy, I just went to a different restaurant.

Well, perhaps small businesses don't really understand that the website is an important communication tool for your existing customers. It might not be very useful to get new ones unless they invested heavily into optimizing it for search results. However, major retailers shutting down their online operations makes no sense at all. Do you ever do you research before making such a drastic move? For example Zellers and the Bay shutdown their online store a while back. I was just thinking yesterday that my visits to zellers have dropped to less than 10% of what it used to be. Similiarly the Bay, I now only go when I know I can find the item there. Pricing and availability are very important, online shopping might be not working well but that is not how you should measure the effectiveness of your online store. Many people look for things online then they go to the store to buy them, and honestly if there is no way to find if that item I am after exists at a certain store I am not going to waste my time to go check, this is why there is internet,

I hope one day Zellers will get it, especially with the new buyer ins place

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