The last few years have seen the rise of "online market places" such as eBay and Amazon with them taking an ever larger share of the lucrative online shopper traffic. This provides both a threat and opportunity for smaller retailers that are making a living on the internet. Catch the slipstream of the big guys and it can be great, be on the motorway as they thunder over you and it's not so enjoyable.
Perhaps it's not surprising that over the last few weeks people's eyes have been firmly focused on London 2012. I can't remember a time when the nation's mood has been so upbeat, which is great tribute to everyone involved - athletes, organisers and, of course volunteers. If I'd been allocated any tickets, I might even have praised the agents as well.
When you buy an iPhone from Apple, you may not know it, but you are in fact buying something that has been made with parts from many suppliers, including Samsung, Apple’s bitterest rival in the mobile space. The touch screen glass is made by Corning, the electronics come from a variety of manufacturers and assembly is done in China. Even the software, which you would think was one hundred per cent Apple, historically used mapping from Google and voice recognition application “Siri”, bought in by acquisition. This is the new world, where companies compete and co-operate together, and where the top skill isn’t being a designer or manufacturer but being able to integrate things from a variety of sources in a seamless way.
Many years ago I worked for Mercury Communications which at the time was the sole alternative to BT for phone services. We naturally hated BT (how little some things change!) and were irritated by their “Come back to BT” campaign. We had won a contract to supply a phone connection to every traffic light in the country, which was used to monitor them. After BT green-lighted their direct mail campaign, they sent a letter to each of the thousands of lights, urging them to return to BT. Too bad the traffic lights couldn’t read. I still find this a funny story, but it has some up-to-date lessons. Sure, be aggressive with your sales and marketing. But make sure you get it right, and don’t push things too far. It may backfire.
Simon Armstrong, marketing manager for online E-Commerce specialist, Sellerdeck, continues our series on setting up an online shop by looking at how you can open up new sales and marketing channels to build on a successful E-Commerce venture.