Listening to the radio this morning I discovered that the biggest online retailer is the UK supermarket, Tesco. This company is a true phenomenon. One pound in every seven of the British economy is spent in Tesco stores. And today I discovered that it takes £1billion online – two thirds of all online grocery purchases are made at Tesco.com, with the remainder being shared by all the other online supermarkets. So, what does Tesco do that the others don’t? Firstly, Tesco has spent a great deal of time, money and effort in promoting its stores offline. In other words it has used traditional marketing techniques to drive people to its online store. Many Internet businesses neglect this, believing they can survive solely online; you can’t you need offline promotion techniques more than online ones – Tesco proves that. Furthermore, their store has a clean, easy to navigate shop front. No complex menu structures, but easy to understand directions of where to go for what you want. Once you start shopping, you discover that the store is fast – no waiting for the servers to update things. Considerable investment in technology has meant their online store responds quickly. One of the main reasons for shoppers to leave an Internet retail site is lack of speed. If you have an online shop, it must respond quickly which often means you need your own dedicated server to speed things up. So, Tesco’s success shows what you really need for online success, is a well structured and responsive web site that is largely promoted outside the Internet.

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