eView: Use the Copy and Paste Method to Launch an Online Business
There's more than one way to establish a new online business. You can do the following:
- launch a Web site and business concept from scratch and hope for the best;
- adapt what is successful in the brick-and-mortar retail environment and transfer it online; or
- take whatever is working for you online (copy) and apply (paste) that successful business concept into new products and vertical markets.
The "copy and paste" method is a new and popular way to launch sites through an existing and successful platform; one that's proving very effective for marketers looking to capitalize on long-tail opportunities.
It's not an overly complicated strategy, but an ambitious one that can best be articulated as a "Ctrl C/Ctrl V" approach, as the operators of Riverside, Calif.-based PlumberSurplus.com put it. PlumberSurplus.com sells a variety of plumbing, home improvement and building products for the home, kitchen, bathroom and commercial applications.
Out of PlumberSurplus.com has sprung OutdoorPros.com, a relatively new Web site that markets outdoor gear, accessories and clothing. If you toggle back and forth between the two sites, you can see general similarities as well as slight differences between them.
The company has taken what works for a business-to-business site and transferred it to a consumer products site. Different products, different customers, but the successful underlying platform remains the same.
This strategy also can be effectively employed by retailers who want to do a better job of penetrating within their categories.
Consider Cymax Stores, a Vancouver, British Columbia-based online furniture seller. Cymax selects new product lines and launches new sites based on the identification of popular searches on its sites.
Once its team settles on a new product line, such as curio cabinets, it takes Cymax about a month to design and develop a new site, namely, MoreCurioCabinets.com. By having several teams work simultaneously on new sites, Cymax can launch a new niche site every two weeks on average.
This nimble company predicts that more than 200 sites will be up and running by the end of this year. Cymax forecasts an increase in sales of 40 percent over 2007 — from $32.5 million to more than $47 million.
Using an approach like this makes it easy for online retailers to quickly expand their Web footprints and aggressively capture more share of the business done in their categories.
Regardless of whether you're a small business or a larger Internet retailer like Cymax, I expect the copy/paste trend to grow in popularity. For businesses with a significant dependency on search-driven revenue, it makes a lot of sense.