Strategic Web Design. Oshawa Retail Business provides lesson for us all

Strategic planning precedes web design. In Oshawa recently, I had a meeting with a business that had the variables one requires to capture a Canadian vertical market. Even though we’ve done hundreds of websites, I got excited about this one! Here are the variables with this project that we can all learn from. It’s for those small owner-operator retail operations that wish to capture business through their website:

1. A specific niche that doesn’t have a lot of Canadian competition

It could be a specialty product or higher end service. The more unique, the easier to optimize a website inexpensively.

2. A brick and mortar operation.

People are more comfortable ordering from a “real” store. It's even better when the competition is only online.

3. A US firm that wants a Canadian distributor for their product

We’re actually healthier up here than in the States. U.S. firms are looking to sell products. If they are willing to drop ship for you (you get the order, they deliver to the customer), even better.

4. A growing reputation as an expert in the niche you’re after

Your audience needs to know you. They like dealing with the best or most knowledgeable. Your suppliers are more comfortable working with you. You are a leader within that niche community. Others speak about you.

5. You have a price advantage

Maybe you can sell lower than MSRP. In this particular case, the business was going to install the product making a profit. This allowed them to lower the parts cost a bit and capture market share. The supplier still gets the sales, but eliminates having to deal with customer service issues.

6. The Business was owner willing to invest and act

Ideas are a dime a dozen. Real business owners see an opportunity, invest in it and then act. Others navel gaze.

The addition of a website to the strategic marketing mix has added additional complexity, but also added opportunities unavailable before their arrival . We’ve been fortunate to see what works and what doesn’t when it comes to website strategies and web design. In Oshawa last week, I was reminded how much opportunity is still just laying there ready to be snapped up for those businesses ready to act.