A Prospective Customer Is at Google Looking For Your Products
Will Your Store Be Found?
Do you make or sell hard goods? Thinking about selling them online? Maybe you're already selling online, but want to do better. If so...
Year by year, both retailers and shoppers are moving more and more online. Online retail is the low risk, easy, efficient way to sell. And, for shoppers, it is the ideal way to buy (fast, convenient, reliable, endless variety, and cheaper).
Master Your Niche
The key to success in electronic retail for the small business person is to master a niche. The Web, when properly used, is the ultimate niche marketing-and-selling vehicle. It is literally the ideal situation for small business e-tailers.
Unfortunately, many offline retailers are still trapped in the old-world model of "putting up a store" without much thought as to how they'll get visitors (traffic) to their store.
Traffic is easy to solve in the offline world -- it's all about "location, location, location." Put your attractive, nicely merchandised store in a mall or on a high-traffic shopping street in town and the result is instant traffic.
Online, No One Happens to just "Pass By"
In the online world, however, no one just happens to walk past, see your store, and enter. Instead, people look for information, for solutions to problems.
The challenge, well before you make your first sale to a customer is to provide the information that people are searching for, in a way that Search Engines like.
Let's boil it down to this...
You need to "PREsell" (more on this concept later) through excellent content about a niche/theme related to the concept of the store.
Do Not Build a Business That Depends on Others
Instead, Build an E-Store That Is Yours
There are very few high-traffic portals that can provide small business retailers with a few visitors at a high price (ex., eBay, Amazon, Etsy). This should only be seen as a supplement. Why?
Because you build a dependency on the traffic of others. And because there are limits to how many visitors even the highest-traffic portals can send to hundreds of thousands, millions of e-stores.
To succeed online, you must build your own business... and that means building your own traffic... your own clientele, from the ground up. Depending on the offline concept of "location, location, location" does not work online.
Traffic Is Everything to Online Retail
If the Net was an offline mall, it would be one of those "unvisited disaster malls"...
You know the ones...
almost no shoppers...
papered-over, closed-down stores...
urban shopping deserts.
We've all seen malls like this -- you can't miss the signs... boarded up shops and no one in the mall. There is no way to fake it... the mall's lights may be on for a while longer, but the stores are closed and the shoppers are scarce.
However, the failure and desperation of e-stores is not so obvious (nor is it so expensive, a good thing!). The Net lets dead e-stores "keep up appearances."
There are literally hundreds of thousands of beautifully designed online retail sites that are virtually invisible due to lack of traffic. They were expensive to design/build (thousands of dollars), and they do look great... So you think that they must be getting flooded with visitors.
Unlike the offline world, what you can't see is that "the lights are on, but no one is home, and no one's visiting." It's a sad story, so it doesn't get press coverage. But it's the reality.
It Does Not Have to End By Closing
It's a shame, because joining the minority who succeed is not hard. That is where your opportunity lies. You will have a significant edge when you build your business correctly, from the ground up.
This site shows you how to do it better than just "right" or "properly," When you finish reviewing this site...
- you will know why most online retailers are doomed from the start
- you will understand the "power of the niche," and how and why it works
- you will know how to use the "power of the niche/theme" profitably
You will understand why the most cost-effective way to join those who succeed is to use SBI! to get there. This radically different approach, with all the tools to do it, is the key for a small business person to build a successful store online.
SBI! does not pretend to be "The ONLY Solution." However, it is the only product that provides you with the process and all the tools necessary for you to grow a profitable, professional online store, supplemented by other income streams.
First, though, let's decide whether you'll be selling...
Hard Goods or E-goods?
Hard Goods? E-goods?
We use the term "hard goods" to mean anything that can be touched.
These are physical products that cannot be transmitted "via the Net" but rather are shipped by mail or courier. For example, an oil painting, but not an electronic scan of that painting (that would be an e-good).
On the other hand, we use the term "e-goods" to refer to electronic products. You cannot touch them since they are purely digital. Examples include e-books, digital photos, software. They are shipped by e-mail or direct download from a Web site.
This site does not discuss e-goods.
If you are interested in selling digital products, click here.
The variety of hard goods sold on this planet is infinite...
- hand lithographs of Nova Scotia seascapes
- wooden toys by an artisan in Bristol, England
- rare cacti by a propagator and vendor in California
- porcelain vases sourced from China
- juggling balls and paraphernalia
- golf sculptures and figurines
- seeds for exotic plants from around the world
- expensive rare first edition books, or mystery pulp fiction...
Yes, the range of product niches is indeed limitless. This infinite variety is one of the major advantages for online shoppers. And your ability to reach that worldwide audience is a huge bonus for you.
Local Artisan or Retailer? Perfect. Reach the World!
The opportunity is unprecedented. Now you can reach the world via your art studio, workshop, greenhouse, warehouse (or garage!)... heck, even from an actual retail store!
make products of value to consumers, or...
Which brings us to product opportunities for online stores selling hard goods...
The Five E-Store "Product Opportunities"
As you read the following "Big 5 Product Opportunities," find the ones that fit most closely with yours...
Do you make your own products (ex., artist, woodworker, manufacturer, etc.)? If so, sell "direct-to-end-user" through a Web site.
Perhaps you source your products (the Net is a great way to do it) from a third party, the original producer. Either develop an exclusive arrangement to be that party's online vehicle (ex., an online art gallery for a talented artist) or represent that party on a non-exclusive basis and aggregate with complementary products from other artisans (ex., seaside crafts).
Or do you source more widely and create a unique store? Find a wide range of interesting products that fit within a single niche (ex., golf sculptures and figurines from fine sculptors, crafts people and manufacturers from around the world). In a sense, when you "aggregate" a unique collection of products, your "product" becomes the store.
How Do You Measure Success?
I have a great site, fantastic traffic, a subscriber base that loves my e-zine, and a profitable business. I have even opened a store using PayPal, which works great with SBI!, as well as a Yahoo! Store. I run the occasional eBay auction, too. (My SBI! site actually sends my Yahoo Store and my auctions more traffic than Yahoo! and eBay do!).
But I have a problem... My site (yes, a specialty niche, just as you recommend) has been growing greatly -- I hope that you don't force me out due to the success, since I love teaching college, too!" -- Jim Nelson, Kentucky, U.S.
Jim Nelson started off by building interesting, high-value content about juggling. Then, as traffic grew, he started selling juggling balls that were hand-knit by his grandmother. Now he sources hard-to-find, interesting juggling paraphernalia and books from around the world. Jim is a typical e-store case study... and his story serves as an excellent quick tour through SBI!.
Are you already a retailer? If so, open an online version of your offline shop.
After all, you have already set up much of the "system" and infrastructure (from sourcing to inventory to warehousing/ storage). An e-store is a powerful way to leverage what you have built offline...
Increase sales, build new clientele (far beyond those who enter your physical store), and "go global" at near-zero extra expense and effort.
Are you at the "merely thinking about it" phase? If selling something you love excites you, the Net makes it easy to open your own niche store online. It's far less risky, and potentially more remunerative. SBI! starts you down the right road, and keeps you on the right path to success every step of the way.
Which of the Above Situations Fits You Closest?
No matter what you want to sell online, or how, regardless of your "retail experience," and no matter how you want to source your products, the Net makes it so easy. But not "automatic"...
Just load that shopping software with all your products into a great looking store, write some snappy product description copy, secure the ability to clear credit cards online...
... and wait for the profits to flow, right?
Actually... no. You'll be part of a large group who struggle desperately. Then, one day, you stop paying the $50-100 per month for your online store and call it quits. A year of your life, and your dreams... gone. (It could be worse, of course -- an offline retail failure can cost you over $100,000 and several years of your life!)
Instead.... if you want to be in the small segment that actually do it right and build exciting, rewarding and profitable online stores, please read on. Yes, the store and product selection is important, obviously. But it comes second.
You are about to discover a process that is so simple and logical, you will know that it's right as you read.
Put the E-horse of Traffic Before the (Shopping) Cart
As stated above, sourcing and product selection are important. And of course, it's critical to aggregate your products into a creative, appealing store (best if it's a themed store that fills a well-defined niche). And it goes without saying that you have to be able to clear credit cards in real-time and avoid fraud.
But, before you do any of that, before you collect your first dollar in sales, you're going to need a site that WORKS. A site that works for you.
If you don't attract free, targeted visitors via the Search Engines, if you don't convert them into warm, willing-to-buy customers, if you don't build that into your site from Day 1, you are going to end up working for your site. You will have to pay for advertising to build traffic, more than you can afford.
SIDEBAR: There's nothing wrong with advertising. But the foundation of any online business is the ability to generate your own free, targeted visitors by "being found" at the Search Engines. If you don't have this base, you don't really have a business at all.
Your Search Engine traffic is free, ongoing, and builds in momentum. Compare that to advertising -- when you stop paying for advertising, your traffic stops. You must own your own business... and that means you must own your own traffic. And that takes us back to building that in from Day 1.
In short... if you put the shopping cart before the e-horse of traffic, you will be doomed before you start. Why?
Because the above outlined process is one that works in the offline world (put up a great store and get the cash register ready!), not in the online one.
SIDEBAR: If you already have a well-designed e-commerce site that has required a great deal of time and money to build, do not abandon it if its only problem is a lack of traffic. Instead, click here to learn how to funnel large amounts of free, targeted, motivated, prospective buyers to your site.
If you already have an e-commerce site, continue reviewing this site only if your site is so bad that you simply want to start over. Naturally, you're welcome to continue and read, just to understand the process. But the approach outlined in the above link will be more relevant to your needs, if you are otherwise happy with your e-commerce site.
And of course, if you do not yet have an online store, stay right here and continue on with us...
Right at This Moment, a Prospective Customer Is at Google...
Will Yours Be Store That Is Found?
Look at the Google search box above. Right at this moment, someone is looking for "peonies." And, judging from her finger that is doing the clicking (as opposed to her fingers that no longer "do the walking")...
She's feeling lucky. Are you?
With SBI!, you don't need to be lucky to be found. Because you'll be good at rising to the top... The Top 1%.
Build Content, Which Builds Traffic, Which Builds Business
You can get exactly the same results by using SBI!. Do it before your competitors do, because it's the only way to compete with the "big boys" (ex., Amazon).
Build a niche/theme site and "own" it.
It doesn't matter what you sell, as long it fills a niche and provides the opportunity to provide useful, valued content about a theme related to your niche. Perhaps you already know what you want to sell, maybe not.
If not, let your imagination soar. The product opportunities are infinite. Choose something you love and brainstorm from there. Here are a few more examples to get you thinking...
- a full-time university student, who turned her hobby into a lifetime job which will provide retirement income.
- a fine craftsman who creates hand-made and painted Japanese netsuke -- suddenly, a worldwide market!
- a non-techie, soon-to-be-retired, with few hours to work but whose site has grown to 45,000+ monthly visitors leaving him with a business ready and waiting after graduation...
- an art/craft store that carries over 700 items, all built on the strength of its content
Please re-read the last line of that letter...
That says it all. And that is what the SBI! process and tools will do for you.
"What Kind of Content Do I Provide?"
As an e-store owner, anticipate two kinds of information-seekers...
Shoppers looking for product information
So naturally, you provide information related to the products themselves. But not the short, sales bits of sales copy, picture and price -- that's for your shopping catalog/cart. Create real content... reviews, experiences, "the history of," and so forth.
Real content gets found. Product listings don't get found at the major engines like Google. And they get buried among thousands of similar listings in the "comparative shopping engines" which only send dribs and drabs of traffic compared to the major engines.
Surfers who look for product information (ex., model numbers, trade names) are close to buying. So take this advice seriously.
Surfers looking for information about a related topic
These people don't even know they are shopping... yet! They seek information about topics related to the niche/theme of your e-store. This approach converts surfers into interested visitors (because SBI! masters the knack of scoring highly at the engines).
Then your content converts visitors into warm, PREsold customers (and they didn't even know they were shopping!). That all-important first purchase may not happen on the first visit -- they sign up for your e-zine, visit your site a few more times because of the excellent material. But people buy from people they like and respect. So you'll make that sale... and then another.
Bottom line? Do what VERY few e-stores do. Build a site that will be searched-and-found by prospective new customers... hundreds of them... then thousands every day, steadily building as your site gains in reputation and relevance at the engines. In other words, build a site that works (in both senses of the word!).
Keep Looking at Your Site From Your Customer's Point of View
Your site is not all store, store, store... "buy or bye-bye." No, your site is a high-value content site that provides what people want... information. It also happens to have a store that sells products related to your content. So...
They visit your site a few times and read your e-zine. They notice and check out your store once or twice. And then... new customers!
You also, of course, benefit from increased loyalty from existing ones. And, if you like, your business can generate additional income streams through new monetization models appropriate to your business (more on this below).
No tricks, no games, no magic formulas or "never before revealed secrets."
You take care of business.
SBI! works "behind the scenes" so that you can take care of business. If you have not done so yet, read all about the process now.
Yes... You Really Can Do This Yourself
Or Hire a SiteSell Services Specialist To Do It
As we have seen, there is no limit to the number of possible niches for an e-store. Whether you carve masks in the South Pacific or sell old automotive parts from your auto junkyard in Ocracoke Island, North Carolina...
You can do this. And better still...
You can "go global" even if your customers have, to date, been primarily local (assuming you have a local retail operation already). For example, the mask carver no longer sells only to tourists on his island, but to "surfing tourists" worldwide. And the automotive parts dealer? There are probably ten people online at this very moment looking for a carburetor for a 1958 Delray.
SBI! makes it all possible. If you can get and send e-mail and surf the Web, you can indeed do all of the above... all by yourself. Or give it to an employee to do. Or, if you simply are too busy or not so inclined... hire a SiteSell Services Specialist.
More and more offline retailers and online entrepreneurs are using the Internet to start e-stores.
Luckily for you, most are struggling. So now is the time for you to get that jump.
Power Your E-store With SBI!
SBI! is the ultimate online store-building process and system of tools.
Merchants who had never been able to build traffic... now welcome thousands of visitors per day.
Those who had previously been dependent on Yahoo! Stores or other portals report that they now generate greater volumes of their own traffic.
More importantly, e-tailers are now in control and own their destinies...
That is what makes SBI! absolutely unique-to-the-Net.
OK, it still can't help you with the back-ordering problems that you'll have (due to all that new business!). But it does do everything else.
Try it and see for yourself...
You'll soon have a site that attracts warm, willing-to-buy visitors... YOUR visitors. And then... YOUR customers. You have a future to gain, a past (i.e., knowledge) to convert into income, and absolutely nothing to lose.
"Venture nothing, and life is less than it should be."
Malcolm Forbes (1919-1990)
Take advantage of our Money-Back "Confidence of Success" Guarantee.
Use it to convert your purchase into a
"no risk take-it-home-for-a-test-drive" trial.
In other words...
Purchase and then decide.