The months following 911 were very bleak. In the midst of Bushs' war there was a very interesting economic seed being planted in the background. Not many people noticed but it caught my attention. Right after the attacks on New York City something minor happened in nearby Norwalk, Connecticut. A little indy record store called ABCD, (which got a lot of my money every payday) suddenly went out of business... or did they? This was one of the first businesses who closed their retail storefront and moved their entire inventory online.
Right after ABCD moved their UK pop music store online they were going to continue to communicate to their fan base through email and advertise strictly online. There was no major fanfare when the store closed. It happened very unceremoniously but I noticed it. I also looked around to see who was going to follow suit. This was a very significant moment in America's economy. This store owner knew that it was going to be too expensive to keep his storefront open. It made more sense to promote his business on the Internet. A few months after the tragic days of 911 I was back in my hometown of Ann Arbor, Michigan. That's when this phenomenon happened once again. I noticed another storefront closing its doors and moving its entire inventory online.
There was a guitar shop on Liberty street that closed their doors forever. They quaintly thanked its customers for the many years of patronage with a hand made painted sign on the door front. They mentioned also that they were planning on selling guitars online. This shop mentioned that they did not feel the need to keep a physical storefront now thanks to the web just like my favorite independent music store.
This is also happening once again with Yamaha atv parts dealers, and Kawasaki motorcycle parts experts. They are selling both used and new parts online. But here is the catch. Not all of these vendors have physical storefronts to begin with. Some do of course but many more are working online with nothing more than a web site and a warehouse. These products and services all share something in common. These industries have really strong committed fan bases. They have a large pockets of people who gather online and join online forums, blogs, watch viral web videos, and really interact with other fans on the web.
When you have a group of people like this who are deeply committed then it becomes easy to sell to them. They are already customers of your product or service even though they are not your customers yet. The main thing to keep in mind is that they are already buyers. That becomes very important to the sellers of these goods and services.
The question becomes is it really necessary to have a physical storefront when it comes to selling your services online? If you have an extensive catalog of parts and items then maybe you already have what you need to become successful. This is the direction of the new economy and as a business owner this is something that you will need to weigh.