U-C WEBS' founder Nardo KuitertBy Nardo Kuitert, U-C WEBS
[Published in The Wellington Advertiser, November 2007 for the Centre Wellington Chamber of Commerce]

Are you ready to sell your Christmas gifts online? A recent British survey indicated that no less than 90% of respondents planning to do at least some of their shopping online this year. The Canadian situation will not be much different, I think. Convenience is still on the rise, and online shopping is one of the indicators. Benefits are obvious: no problems getting to the shopping mall, no elevated blood pressure when fighting over a parking space, no long waiting at the cash register and…no Christmas music! (and when you do stumble on a site which cheerfully surprises you with “jingle bells”, you can always turn your speakers off!)

It is not just the younger folks who buy online: the report showed that 55% of the over 55 age group was planning to spend more then a quarter of their Christmas shopping online.

It is too bad that local online shopping was not included in the survey. I have a feeling that many people would buy locally online as well, provided that the prices were at least somewhat competitive. Yes, local merchants can try getting some of that online spending pie. It is feasible but there are a few challenges, such as: customers not knowing about local online alternatives, not being able to find them in the search engines if people do know that local websites exist, or local merchants not even having a website to begin with.

So put a website or webshop on your Santa wishlist this year. Whip up an online promotion plan for 2008, and consider things like offering coupons online, advertising online or even building a local online customer list by offering value-added memberships.

The world is changing rapidly – are you changing along with it?

Nardo Kuitert is an Internet Consultant with Fergus Website Development and Optimization firm U-C WEBS (www.u-cwebs.com). U-C WEBS also offers Internet advertising opportunities on www.ferguspages.com. (link opens in a new window)

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