This article is guest posted by Laura Abro.
I was shocked to find that in the nearly two years that Carl Ocab dot com has been online, not one single post has been written about ecommerce! Ecommerce is overlooked by most people because they feel that it’s too hard and/or too expensive, but there are a lot of good reasons to consider it.
First of all there’s the money. Obviously there are no guarantees, but most of the successful ecommerce owners I’ve met make six and seven figure incomes.
Second, there’s demand. Get your product in front of someone who wants to buy it, and they will. No 10-page salesletter required.
Third, ecommerce is surprisingly recession-resistant. With gas prices up and a very shaky economy, people are turning to online shopping to save money. Overall demand is down for sure, but online commerce is doing very well compared to offline stores.
Fourth, there are some markets you simply can’t enter unless you sell a physical product. When someone want to buy a titanium wedding ring, you can’t fill their need without selling rings. You might possibly be able to sell them an ebook on wedding planning – but they’ll still need that ring.
I know some people are probably thinking, “But there are so many problems, too!” and I will be the first to tell you that running an ecommerce site is not easy. You have to deal with suppliers, talk to customers, and worry about sales tax. And it can be expensive, too. Most designers charge $3000+ for an ecommerce store design – and that doesn’t include plugins, which can cost you several thousand more. Then there’s the problem of products: you need to buy them, store them, and ship them. Not to mention stores like Amazon – they sell everything you do plus more, and at prices you can’t possibly match.
But these problems can also become advantages. Have you ever heard the term “barriers to entry“? All the problems I listed are barriers that prevent people from entering ecommerce. Sure, it keeps you out – but it keeps everyone else out too. If you can overcome the barriers, you’re looking at less competition than you would find in affiliate marketing or info products. Why? Barriers to entry are higher for ecommerce than for other online businesses.
But are the barriers as high as they look? Not really.
Now I’ve already told you that running an ecommerce store isn’t easy, but it’s not as hard as you think, either.
Don’t want to stock products? You don’t have to, thanks to the magic of fulfillment and dropshipping. The two options are similar: in both cases, someone else will be storing and shipping the products for you. With fulfillment, you’re buying the products and hiring someone to store and ship for you. There are many companies that do fulfillment, including Amazon.com. Dropshipping is even more convenient. In this case, you’re dealing directly with the manufacturer, and you don’t pay them for any products until after you’ve already sold them. This is great for starting on a small budget, but not all manufacturers are willing to dropship. The best way to find dropshippers is to use a reputable directory like World Wide Brands.
Don’t like to talk to customers? Most of my customers have never contacted me directly, and the ones that did have always been very nice, friendly people.
Sales tax? It’s a pain, but you need to charge it in one state at most, so you won’t need to worry about it for the majority of your orders.
Worried about design and plugin costs? Yes, a designer will cost you a lot of money – so look into premade templates. They usually cost about $50-$150. Plugins are another major expense, but you don’t need to buy them all when you’re starting out. If you’re on a budget, get an SEO plugin and buy the rest from your profits after you’ve started making money.
What about Amazon or Ebay? There’s too much price competition! This is a major myth about ecommerce. Contrary to popular belief, most Internet shoppers are not hard-core bargain hunters. They’re usually more concerned about reliability, service, and convenience than they are about price.
Don’t live in the US? Even that’s not a problem! It does make some things more difficult, but I have seen people in South America, Europe, and even Asia running ecommerce stores in the US. Heck, I started my first ecommerce venture while I was still living in Pakistan!
Ecommerce is definitely not for everyone, but neither is affiliate marketing, Adsense, info products, or any other monetization strategy. There is no perfect way to make money online – but there is a perfect way for you to make money online. Ecommerce could be it.