An E-Commerce Website for My Small Business?

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An E-Commerce Website for My Small Business?

Harry Bartlett

Should I have an e-commerce website for my small business? That is a question I have been asked often lately. Many small businesses are realizing that having an e-commerce website is a perfect way for their current customers to shop with them and it can be an invaluable tool for reaching new customers.

We opened our retail store in May 2005 and literally the first day we opened our retail store our customers asked if we had a website. It was very quickly clear to us that a website was something our customers wanted. They loved our unique gifts for dog lovers and they wanted to shop with us from the comfort of their own home.

I contacted Harry Bartlett at Bartlett Interactive in late summer 2005 and I told him that we were interested in having an e-commerce website for our business. I was quick to tell Harry that we knew very little about websites and that I wasn’t sure what a website would require from us. The truth is I thought attaching a document to an email was a “big deal”.

The first thing Harry suggested was that we answer all the questions on Bartlett ’s E-Commerce Project Profile. The Project Profile covers the many aspects of having an e-commerce website from:

  • What are your goals from having an e-commerce website?
  • How will you market it?
  • How will your site be maintained? Why is this important?

An e-commerce website takes a lot time to build and maintain and this can be expensive if you’re not doing it yourself.

Our e-commerce website, Agatha & Louise launched in June 2006 and Bartlett has helped our business grow in the four years since. Fletcher has been our primary contact. We’ve never actually met Fletcher face to face; all of our communication is via phone and internet.

A month ago we launched our second website, A&L Home and closed our brick and mortar retail store in Portland Maine ’s Old Port. We now have an office in the Old Port where we manage our two websites: and

The Internet will help achieve "friction free capitalism" by putting buyer and seller in direct contact and providing more information to both about each other.  --Bill Gates

Agatha & Louise

Gray and his wife Persephone own Agatha & Louise and A&L Home, two internet businesses based in Portland, Maine. From time to time he writes entries on the Grow Blog to discuss small business and to share what is involved with having an e-commerce website (or two websites).

*featured image from, Nick Frost. See License Notice

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About the author

Harry started BI in 1998 and focuses on integrating best practices in branding, user experience design, Internet marketing, and technology to increase the value of an online presence.
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