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Nearly two decades after the Web revolutionized shopping, many big retailers are still struggling to turn the Internet into a big part of their business.
Their progress is on display in new correspondence between the Securities and Exchange Commission and a bevy of chains, including Target Corp., Wal-Mart Stores Inc., PetSmart Inc. PETM and Fifth & Pacific Cos. Online Sales For Big Retailers May Not Be As Strong As Suggested [online.wsj.com]
Asked by the SEC to quantify its online results, the discount retailer said in June that "digital sales represented an immaterial amount of total sales."
Target acknowledges that it is still adjusting to consumers spending more online, but says its strategy is to book sales whatever the channel, so it doesn't need to break out its Internet business.
Target, I believe, has the right attitude about its online site.
How can you tell the size of one cell phone compared with another online? You really can't without getting out your ruler. But in a store you can handle both, side by side, get the size and weight.
Unless they in a very specialized niche market, they have absolutely no chance for success online today.
That's not because your store isn't a better place to buy, it's because the department store is more trusted by search.
You got to have deep pockets and be prepared to spend a lot to get a customer.