Put it on the web, and they’ll buy it.
That’s been the motto of many a failed dot-com’r. And, incidentally, a motto we’ve been preaching against for many, many months now. Flying in the face of conventional wisdom is nothing new for us here at INFONETICS (for instance our no monthly or annual support contract policy), so it shouldn’t surprise you that we’ve been touting the radical use of the Internet as an extension of your own great customer service/value add. iCat, our Internet Catalog technology is a great example of that. A simple, low cost, yet effective “picture book” targeted for your existing customers to browse and buy from. It’s not necessarily targeted towards a worldwide customer base, but instead to those in your own backyard.
Recently, we “iCat powered” our own web site so that you too can place orders for equipment right on-line at infonetx.com. We posted an order form, one piece of product literature, and waited for the orders to roll in. Only a few days had gone by, and we received our first order! With anxious fingertips we opened the email order. Who could it be from? How’d they find us? Is it a real order, or just a test? Will we be able to keep up with this new level of demand? Lo and behold, it came from one of our existing customers, in fact, from right here in Columbus, Ohio. How’d they find us? We TOLD them. Was it a real order? Yes, it was, a real small order in fact. But it was our first order taken on the web, and we’re as proud of it as we are our first software sale.
The morale of this little story is this. If you think you need a web site so that you can sell tons of stuff by year’s end, you’ll probably be disappointed. But, if you think you can put off building a good web site with order taking capabilities, you’re definitely going to be disappointed. The Internet is here to stay, and doing business on it is becoming as natural as the fax machine, voice mail and cell phones.
–David J Frea