Revenue: How a forum can seed a e-commerce store.

Ted S

Tazmanian Master
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Feb 19, 2004
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Ted S submitted a new Article:

Revenue: How a forum can seed a e-commerce store.

So you run a successful forum, that means you have the users but what you may not realize is you are only a short step away from also having an e-commerce business. Turning your forum traffic into a seed community for a well targeted store can mean increased revenue or even better, the start of a whole new job. While I can't guarantee you'll reach financial freedom, we can help you start up your own web store with just 5 simple steps. Follow this guide and you can have a fully functional store up and running in a matter of days! (Note: this article was originally written for a general e-commerce article, applying it to a forum community doesn’t change what you will need to do, but it does mean you need to be very, very well targeted in your product).

Step 1 -- Get a product!

This may seem obvious, but every day someone asks me how to start a webstore even though they have no clue what it is they plan to sell! Although you can sell any product, some work better than others; products commonly found in major stores tend to be harder to sell, while rare, hand made, or highly desirable products can do very, very well. If you can obtain your product (or make it yourself) for less then the retail, shipping and tax costs then you have a winner. Because you are using a forum to seed your store you need to pick something your users can relate to. Every forum can easily sell their own merchandise (t-shirts, mugs, etc…) but what you may not realize is your particular niche probably has a lot more you can sell. A diving forum can sell scuba gear, a women’s health forum could sell books, food products or even workout equipment and the list goes on and on. Ideally you will want to find products that are either cheap to purchase in bulk or that you can drop ship yourself, email some companies in your area and ask them what it would take to become a reseller – in most cases it is simply a matter of sending them the orders and paying on a monthly invoice. The product is the simple part so long as you always remember the golden rule: if a user can't save money buying it online they aren't going to order!

Step 2 -- Pick a shopping cart

There are generally two ways to approach shopping cart software: either you can build your own or you can buy or download a third party product. Building your own software is time consuming and can be extremely costly. Since shopping carts generally handle private data they...

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MarkB

Participant
Joined
Feb 5, 2004
Messages
60
Nice article - it'd be great to get some tips on effective ways of marketing your store to your forum members other than saying "Hey! We have a store now! Buy stuff!" :) Any ideas?
 

Kathy

Tazmanian Veteran
Joined
Jan 1, 2004
Messages
9,030
Yes....

To the forums auto emails Add: P.S. Have you visited our online store for XX forums? We have wonderful products selected just for you. Click here to view XX forums Store.


At the bottom of your postbit you could create a small text ad (add color, small graphic or not) that provides links to your store and/or specific products.

Create your own banners/buttons and advertise in normal advertising space.

Add a link to your forums home page for your store.
 
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