I get a kick out of all the ecommerce software companies telling people to just set up an online store (using their software of course) and you’ll get rich. The result of such thinking is usually a store that goes broke or shuts down in months, not years.

It is true that an online store’s general overhead is low in that you don’t have a large rental expense, and your operating staff is generally less for similar sales at a brick and mortar store. Both of these factors should mean you will have a larger potential profit. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work like that.

Because you have no walk in traffic, who will see your catchy window display, you must market your store more aggressively.  If some “marketing” expert tells you that all you have to do is rely on search engine and social media visits run, don’t walk, as fast as you can. Instead get ready to aggressively market your store with every traditional and online tool you can afford. Eventually and depending on your product, you might be able to depend on word of mouth a little, but that will take a long time. So be prepared to work hard and spend a lot on marketing.

Here’s a list of factors that will affect the success of your online store:

1- Desire or Need: Do you have a product or service that people desire or better yet need? The more a potential needs or desires your offering the easier it will be to successfully market the store.

2- Uniqueness: If you are selling the same thing everyone else is it, will be harder to get market share. If, however, you have a unique solution to a problem or an item that is desirable and not available in other stores, your marketing costs could be much lower. Also, the more unique your offering is the higher the potential sale price.

3- Quality: If you ship inferior products your return rate will be high. Returns not only cut into your profits, they make it a lot harder to market. If you cannot reply on repeat sales your marketing cost will increase because you are constantly looking for new customers.

If all three of the above are in line with your plans then you have operations to worry about:

1- Store front must be easy to use.

2- Delivery must be rapid so you must have stock and personnel to ship quickly.

3- Like any other retailer you must merchandise your ecommerce site. New products and promotions are essential.

4- Comprehensive marketing and advertising plan.

Are people making money with online store? Yes they are. If you want to then you have to work hard for it, just like everything in life that is worthwhile.
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