Here is a letter from a reader who was considering his choices regarding starting an online business.
It seems to me that my choices for starting an ecommerce business are:
1. Become an affiliate.
2. Sell my own products and service on my own site.
3. Buy into an online mall concept on which I can sell both my own products and services and sell as an affiliate.
I am thinking of buying into #3, the Mall concept, because the company promises that they'll do the advertising, search engine submissions and they will deliver, ship, return, and update products in the catalog. They claim that owner of the mall should help with advertising and promoting only, and then site back and receive the weekly or monthly check.
I am specifically interested in the E-commerce store where I can sell any of my products and services. I am also interested in selling your books and those of other famous successful online entrepreneur.
Do you think my direction has good chance? How do you compare between entrepreneur selling a couple items versus others who sell large different items at discount prices? How do you see the E-commerce section that sell additional interesting products or services like your books or course etc? Can you point out what are advantages and disadvantages of each?
Thank you for your consideration and prompt reply.
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but the mall concept is the least likely approach to bring success.
Themed e-commerce sites that focus narrowly on the specific wants/needs of a niche market is a proven strategy that I use exclusively.
That's because surfers don't typically search for ‘mall'. Rather, they search for a specific item of interest to them, like ‘tennis shoes', ‘anti-agining creams' or ‘Britney Spears'.
Your primary objectives with any site should be:
1) to provide a good shopping experience for your customers (make it super easy for them to find what they are looking for), and;
2) to have your site get found when surfer's search for your site's topic in the search engines.
Both objectives are easier to meet when you build single-theme content sites.
Moreover, when your site is devoted to a single theme, visitors will tend to stay longer on your site, which increases your chances of making a sale.
I suggest that for your first site, you focus on a hobby or topic that is of specific interest to you, or one in which you can become an ‘expert'. Sell as an affiliate and plan to sell your own products down the road.
Serve your customers, build trust and credibility and you'll be well on your way.
When you've achieved success with your first niche market site, then branch out into other markets.
Although building your own site usually requires somewhat more time and effort, the rewards are always greater in the long run.
I hope that helps!