My previous post about bluenile.com has gotten me thinking. The fact that an online retailer (with 0 offline stores) is able to generate 5 times the online revenue of its closest rival (which happens to have 2,700 offline locations) should be a lesson to retailers who believe selling online is hard because browsers can do a Google searches to find cheaper alternatives. Maybe it’s just me but when I find the right product I don’t try any harder to find price alternatives online than what I would in a retail store. If that were the case I’d have set walmart.com as my homepage. The truth is that online customers are no different from their offline brethren.
The other fact that retailers often forget is that brand loyalty is not something that only benefits them; it also benefits discerning customers because it allows then to build a trusted network of sources for products and services. To assume the same customer would be loyal offline but not online is flat out wrong.