Entrepreneur reports that 92 percent of people seeking information search the Internet. A real potential exists for different types of businesses to cash in on this virtual traffic. If a business maintains a highly visible Web presence, it can generate additional revenue through increased sales. In some cases, businesses earn profits simply through providing an online service to attract visitors to a website while selling advertising space to other businesses.
Online shoppers enjoy the convenience of shopping from home. Brick-and-mortar retail stores can benefit by offering products for sale online as part of their total business strategy. However, sellers must price their merchandise to reflect shipping costs to remain competitive. For example, if both you and a competitor in a traditional store are selling the same product at the same price, say a $10 item, your shipping costs must be held to a minimum to persuade consumers that having the product shipped to their door is worth more than traveling to the store.
Wholesalers can use an online storefront to reach a larger customer base. Although many wholesalers simply buy from manufacturers and sell to retailers, the growing number of businesses that use the Internet to find suppliers can lead to more opportunities for a wholesale business to flourish.
The Service Industry
A study of the economic sectors in the United States reveals that the quaternary sector, that is services, grew steadily during the 20th century. Within the service sector of today's American economy, businesses such as insurance, finance and consulting firms can increase the customer base by creating an online presence. Services often are provided in the virtual world without the business and the consumer having any face-to-face contact -- electronic payments are sent to the business, and the customer receives a digital service such as expert advice.
In addition to service-oriented businesses that operate only online, those with an established business can expand by attracting new customers. For example, as entrepreneur such as a caterer or a hair stylist can create a website to promote the business locally through targeted advertisements.
Business Built for the Web
Some start-ups operate exclusively on the Internet, bypassing the need for a separate physical location for the business. In essence, the business exists on the entrepreneur's personal computer. For example, many informational and entertainment websites offer visitors free content in various forms and collect revenue from advertisers instead of consumers. These types of businesses are cheap to launch and can be operated as a sideline.