So you want to open an online store

By | June 1, 2014

Build Online StorePeople tell me all the time “I love dogs and I want to open an online store.” Most of the time they want to combine their love, whether its dogs, cats, motorcycles, embroidery or any number of other passions, with their desire to make money and be their own boss. Hey, it’s a great idea and it can be done. But in most cases, making money won’t come easy.

When I started SitStay.com back in the mid 90’s, it was the wild west of e-commerce. SitStay was certainly one of the first, if not the first dog supply store on the Internet. People were curious and excited about it and selling dog supplies on the Internet made the news. SitStay made the news. We were in the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times and many other publications. The free publicity helped us grow, and fast.

You’ve Got to Put in the Work

Nowadays that same excitement and curiosity doesn’t surround an e-commerce store. They are common place. So the idea of opening an online store, while exciting, probably won’t get you rich quick. Today it takes the same amount of work you’d put into any new business venture. Lots of research, some great ideas, great products, good advertising and usually more than a little money.

A friend of mine once said “Opening a store on the Internet is a lot like selling on a street corner in New York City. Sure you’ll get some people pass by once in a while and buy something. But how do you get the entire city to know about you?” That is where most online businesses fail. They expect everyone out there to find their store and buy their great products. Sorry it just doesn’t work that way anymore.

You’ve got to put in the work. Research your idea. Search for it in Google. How many other stores are selling the same thing? That’s your competition. If you are going to compete, will it be on price? Service? Why would customers buy from you instead of the other stores?

If you have to buy advertising what will that cost? Investigate your keywords in Google Adwords and find out what your competitors are paying for those keywords. Can you afford them? If not, there are ways to sell your products and have others pay the advertising for you.

There are still a lot of opportunities out there. The trick is finding and capitalizing on the them.

If you want to sell on the Internet, contact me and we can have a conversation about it. I’ll help you work through your ideas. I can’t tell you if it will work, but I can give you a lot of things to think about to increase your chances of success on the Internet.

Good luck in all your online ventures and most importantly, keep it fun!

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