Retailing is a long established tradition. It started with local "markets" where people would gather to sell their wares. It evolved into elaborate stores, shops and mail order catalogues. Then, along came the World Wide Web and the introduction of "Virtual Stores".

Because of the newness of the media, the large, established retailers (which have become known as the "Brick-And-Mortar" stores", mostly stayed away from the web in favor of a more "proven" business model.

Today, all of the successful, established Brick-And-Morters have developed a web presence. Most have found it to be a profitable extension of their core businesses. Many have found that the e-commerce part of their business has outpaced their traditional stores. Most are using their e-comerce websites as a tool to bring customers into their Brick-And-Morters.

Many years ago, we learned that grouping stores together into "shopping districts" and later "shopping centers" or malls, would attract more customers than a stand-alone, isolated retail establishment. There was a synergy created by the group of similar stores. Gasoline "filling stations" built next to and across the street from their competition to try to grow their market share. Car dealers began building their showrooms in the "auto row" so the customers looking for cars would see their displays on the way to the competitors shop.

iHollister.com is a new shopping mall in San Benito County. There is no physical building, and many of the stores are not yet occupied. For the progressive retailers in San Benito County, this will become the premier location for e-commerce.

How does it work? Well, if your business has a website, you're more than halfway there. The simple link in iHollister.com will take customers who are looking for San Benito County merchants on the Internet and whisk them away to your website. And, the good news is that it is probably the least expensive advertising that you have ever bought. If you don't already know the secret, the cost of web server space is really very inexpensive.

The big cost is the web design, development and maintenance. On a website like iHollister.com, the costs of web space, bandwidth, development and maintenance are distributed across many advertisers.

Our biggest cost is our outside advertising to bring customers to iHollister.com. We will be buying large ads in the local papers, billboard space, and eventually radio & tv ads. Much of this kind of advertising is out of reach for small business. By spreading these costs among many advertisers, each merchant pays a fraction of the cost of these expensive ads. To increase the synergy, each merchant who has a Brick-And-Mortar store will prominently display a placard at each point of sale in their stores directing their customers to iHollister.com.

If you would like to discuss the future of e-retailing in San Benito County, Give me a call:
Central Coast Internet
George L. Fendler
Outside San Benito County
call toll-free at 866-670-5969