Yes I admit when I made a mistake and I made soft-headed mistakes, and I made a lot of them. I am writing this as a reference for anyone else considering entering the wonderful world of eCommerce, feel free to learn from my mistakes.
Not Examining the Real Market
I did it, but how I did it was all wrong. I simply do research on the price and interest in each product. I found nothing but a very good response to selling only two products in the first 4 months. Alaskan Salmon sounds good in theory but gaining customers is a completely different step. If I were to start over and put my products on eBay just to measure the response to the product, this would allow me to plan for any unexpected problems and adjust my service accordingly.
And the sad thing is that I started this business thinking I was down to the top. There are CMS (Content Management Systems) which will do all the dirty work for you. For some bonehead reason I felt my site needed a custom plan from scratch that ultimately cost me about $ 12,000. I am now using an effective and easy-to-use program for FREE! Yes FREE! My cost was only $ 800 to use and adding this blog to my site is part of that. I don’t have to feel like a big, big thunder.
Another mistake I overlooked was finding my first web designers at the car dealerships I used to frequent. That would be tantamount to looking for a builder in a car dealership. Between these two alone I lost $ 5,750 and ended up with nothing. A portfolio does not tell the whole story, talk to the people who hire the company you are considering, and ask a lot of questions. Use a consultant like Lance (www.elance.com) and it doesn't hurt to use your credit card, if you are being harassed by a merchant and arguing with a credit card company they will investigate and may refund your money.
Offline Marketing for Online Business
There is a local publication here in Douglas County Georgia that cares about the community. I’ve learned that offline marketing usually doesn’t push online sales but I’m the one who should touch the metal to know that it’s really hot. (I actually did that when I was younger) The publication hit 30,000 homes in the area and I just knew that at least 10% of those would visit my site. I ended up with 10 guests and no sales, just one of those hard lessons.
Content of the Lord!
The content of the eCommerce site is complex, without product descriptions and store policies there is not much you can say. That’s why a business blog is so important, search engines love content and what better way to express it? It also allows for better communication between business and customer. I finally understand this which is why I added this blog.
I still struggle with this but I have learned that even though we would like to be successful overnight it does not always happen that way. Some eCommerce sites are moving fast, some may take years but I have learned that you work as hard today as you did yesterday.
Reduce the Importance of Search Engine Optimization
Search engines hate bad Url’s, for example:
Is a bad URL that is not SEO friendly
Simple and beautiful! And that's what search engines are like, but SEO (Search Engine Optimization) goes far beyond just URL's. Create links, minimize flash, there are many tones but that blog is completely different.
Be flexible, and I'm sure this is true of any business out there. You can plan all aspects of the business but over time things will change and you have to accept that. I had no intention of handling Cheesecakes or Gift Baskets but saw an opportunity to give my customers options they have no regrets about that decision since then.