A friend of mine told me this story about a local bike store in Eastern Pennsylvania that we both frequent as customers.
He walked into the store the other day while the owner of the store was discussing the upkeep of his website with the consultant who was maintaining his site. He could not help but overhear final discussion of aspects of the site that were about to be published.
The consultant and the owner finished their conversation, and the consultant left. My friend approached the owner and was going to ask about his new bike which is on order. But before he did, he told the owner that he was curious about how much the website for this high-end bicycle store cost to develop (in round numbers)?
The owner was very forthcoming, "About $1200.00."
This revelation is incredible to me, because the store sells adult-sized road bikes that cost between $1,000 and $8,000. In other words, the owner of this very successful and profitable store invested less than the average retail cost of one bicycle on his store's web presence.
Doesn't this owner believe that his website can drive sales for him?
Doesn't he see his the appearance and functionality of his site as a reflection on the in-store experience?
Doesn't he know that a site for a successful, high-end bicycle store should contain professional photography, features like dynamic selection of featured items based on season, weather conditions, and temperature?
My company, After6 Services, builds website that are much more expensive than the website we are discussing. But we deliver value far in excess of what we charge. The features of our typical customer sites and the stability of our designs are way beyond what passes for a basic site for small and mid-sized businesses. But we sometimes have a hard time convincing potential customers to establish a reasonable site development and maintenance budget.
The purchase decision made by this successful small businessman show that not everyone shares our view of the value of a small business website.