Thursday, November 17, 2005

Small Town Shops and the Web

An article in yesterday's New York Times discusses how "the Internet is allowing small stores...to develop the niche products that shield them against big-box retailers." Small-Town Shops Bulk Up on the Web gives several examples of small-town shops meeting success through a combination of Internet sales and Main Street store fronts.

In upstate New York, downtown Ithaca is a hub of new retail activity and tourist trade generated by Internet marketing and sales. "There's an upside and a downside of marketing on the Internet," said Gary Ferguson, the executive director of the Ithaca Downtown Partnership, a business development group. "The floral business has been changed dramatically by the Internet. More and more people are buying flowers online. We had a business called Plantations that had been here for 30 years and had a hard time with the transition and didn't make it. "On the other hand, we have three used-book stores, and they do half their business on the Internet," Mr. Ferguson said.

Of course balancing Internet sales with the day-to-day management of a retail store is not for everyone. Small businesses need to understand the ins and outs of e-commerce before jumping in with both feet. To learn more, click on the title of this blog to read the article.

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