Online business owners have been targeting computer users and techno-friendly people for the past decade. Now it seems that the dominance of computing and technology for online shoppers has been toppled. According to a survey run by Foresters Research, online business has become “mainstream” shifting computing from its Number One slot in the Internet sales league.

Last year online businesses sold $17.2 billion of computer hardware and software online. However, clothing sales rose dramatically to $18.3 billion. Excluding travel, some $146.5 billion was spent online last year.

What these figures reveal is that online business has become “normal”. Consumers now see the Internet as a sensible place to do their shopping; in the past few years online shopping was dominated by computer geeks.

But what’s interesting in the report is how the traditional retailers have had to change their online business model in order to achieve their sales. Importantly, online sales do best if there are no shipping charges and if there is no cost to return unwanted goods. More significantly, the retailers point out that the best way of conducting business online is to create an online community of customers and potential customers.

So, if you are running an online business strategically focusing your efforts on building your community of shoppers seems to be a fundamental step in your success.

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