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Eric Vandermeersch, CEO, and Dominic Mazzone, chairman, of Basic Funerals and Cremation Choices, are seen in the cemetery at St. John's Dixie Cemetery and Crematorium in Mississauga on March 21, 2011.

JENNIFER ROBERTS/jennifer roberts The Globe and Mail

Common elements of businesses you wouldn't expect to find online:

Uniqueness

The fact that they are different works in their favour. Consumers are constantly confronted with similarity in products and services, and many use the Internet to search out other options.

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Consumer concentration

A critical mass of online shoppers makes it easier to market unlikely goods and services online. This also helps companies to develop and serve a "passionate niche."

Social media

Micro-targeting interested shoppers and building up a following are easier through social media.

Anonymity

The relative anonymity of the Internet can be attractive to some shoppers.

Price

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Companies without premises can offer products for less due to reduced overhead.

Source: Paul Cubbon, professor of marketing communication at the Sauder School of Business, University of British Columbia

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