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Lessons from an established ecommerce business – part 1


I recently went to a talk by the owner of a well established ecommerce business who gave some advice to new store owners. His ecommerce empire has been running around nine years selling local crafts worldwide. He broke the talk down into sections on choosing a product or range and then successfully marketing your product/range.

Choosing products for your ecommerce website

Choosing a product or niche is a balancing act. You need something with a large enough sustainable market to keep your sales high, but something niche enough that it’s possible to market. We have had clients who lost their search traffic and sales overnight when supermarkets started selling their previously niche items. The speaker recommended checking out local markets to find interesting products to sell. This was quite focused on his type of products (local crafts) though and may not work for other niches.

He also mentioned the threat of cheap copies (Chinese in his example) of products that can undercut a market. The example of phone covers is often used in advice about niches. Just because lots of people want a phone cover doesn’t mean its a good item to sell. There is fierce competition meaning a race to the bottom with online sales, plus cheap versions are available from every market in town. Why pay postage on an item you can pick up locally? It’s not easy choosing a profitable niche!

In contrast to some authors who recommend selling a small range of high ticket price items, this chap recommended selling lots of things initially to see what sells best.  A key point was to test the market for a particular product on ebay or amazon before setting up a full ecommerce site. While this can be a great way to test the waters, we have had clients that have decided to quit ebay because the customers are very price sensitive and tend to return items more often. The fees for ebay and PayPal can eat into your profit margins too so bear that in mind.

Marketing your ecommerce website

Find out what the speaker had to say about marketing your ecommerce website in part 2 – coming soon.

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