Comet – Killed by Online Competition?

Comet – Killed by Online Competition?

It was recently announced that the High Street store Comet had gone into administration with the potential loss of 6,500 jobs.  This is obviously very sad news but unfortunately represents yet another episode in the trials and tribulations of our well-known and well loved High Street businesses.


One of the suggested reasons behind Comet’s demise has been its inability to compete with online only businesses that have been able to offer the same products at lower prices, thanks to their massively lower overheads. This would have been unthinkable 10 or 15 years ago, as the powerful procurement departments of these national stalwarts would have been able to throw their weight around ensuring that overhead costs were cancelled out by pure buying power.


Not so any more.


Traditional businesses now have to work incredibly hard to offer customers a meaningful benefit over their online competitors and clearly some big names are failing to do that. This does mean however that as the big traditional names continue to adopt an ‘if you can’t beat them, join them’ attitude, competition between online businesses is only going to get more fierce.


Whereas in the past potential customers may have overlooked slightly clunky websites if they knew they were getting a bit of a deal, now they expect a slick interface and quick loading pages. If they have to wait more than a few seconds, they will abandon the site and move elsewhere.


Equally they will expect assurances that the site is legitimate and they now know what to look for. Does your site have an interactive pop-up help facility? These not only help you convert interest, but reassure potential customers that they’re dealing with an active company staffed by genuine people.


Essentially, what people are now looking for are sites that offer the personality, interactivity and reassurance of physical stores with the speed and ease of online purchasing. This sounds straightforward, but it is equally easy to get wrong.


As a small business you will want to put across the depth of your knowledge in your area of expertise (hopefully you have this!) and offer all the assurances that someone would expect if they were walking into a local shop – guarantees, secure payment, terms & conditions, etc, as well as going that extra mile to produce a range of testimonials from previous happy customers.


And perhaps the most important aspect when trying to re-create the positive aspects of a physical store online is the layout. A well-designed site will draw the visitor intuitively around the pages, ensuring that everything they need is where they expect to find it, just like in a well laid-out store. It’s always worth remembering that a few seconds of frustration will make the majority of browsers exit in a heartbeat, straight back to the Google results page.


At Rosco we can ensure that you will always be in a position to compete with the best businesses in any market. As more and more companies are looking to shift their trade online, the competition is only going to get tougher, and those least equipped will find it harder to win potential customers. We offer Affordable Website Design solutions for small businesses and we will ensure that your site has all of the necessary attributes to compete with your larger rivals.


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