In the fall of 2006, Business Week Online reported that a New York Jewelry store named “American Pearl” added an online store to their brick and mortar storefront in 1997. This may not be news, but what happened in the years since they launched into ecommerce is nothing short of astounding.
Following the addition of online sales the growth of the company increased 20% annually. By the fall of 2006, more than three quarters of their business was conducted online with annual sales at nearly $20 million dollars.
This report may leave dangling dollar signs in your mind. However, the truth is adding an e-store as an expansion of your existing business is a long-term investment that will require as much from you as when you started your storefront. A start-up as an online only company may be equally as hard.
So, what are some of the basics for online business success?
1) What are going to sell? – Do some preliminary market research. There’s nothing worse than developing an idea that no one is interested in. Make your online market one that is consumer centric.
2) Get a plan – it is important to have an understanding of where you want to go and how you plan to get there.
3) Market Market Market – Get your name out there. Use every legitimate means to encourage website visitation. This includes Pay Per Click advertising, Adsense, Meta Titles and Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
4) Be willing to bend – When you understand that not everything is going to go right the first time you are better able to adapt, regroup and alter your business plan to facilitate new growth and minimize the effects of fading markets.
5) The eye of the tiger – You never stop marketing your website. When you gain a clearer picture of your target demographic it is important to pursue them with great enthusiasm.
6) The Frugal Financier – You’ve heard the old adage, “Don’t give up your day job.” This sentiment is needed in online marketing where the hours can be long and the income minimal in the start-up phase of your business. Individuals who were gainfully employed in a position other than their online sales started most Internet companies. It is important to minimize costs in the startup phase of your operation by taking advantage on no-cost and low-cost ways to let others know about your business.
7) Never stop learning – There are new techniques that are being explored everyday to maximize the impact on online marketing. Make learning a part of your business plan. This can be outsourced, but there is liberation in first-hand knowledge.
If you have a niche market that has the potential to become a thriving online retail outlet keep pursuing the dream. Online success is very possible, but you need to be committed to doing everything you can to give it the best chance for growth.