E-Commerce Isn’t a Sprint

Blurs in Subway

Something I've been thinking a lot about recently is how I can help store owners succeed. WooCommerce doesn't have every imaginable feature but it is complete enough for a huge number of store owners. What I mean by that is that in terms of functionality WooCommerce is a very viable option. Newsletters – check, bundles – check, subscriptions – check, tracking numbers for shipping, check; you get the idea.

The problem for many store owners isn't a lack of features it's that they don't know how to run an e-commerce business. And that's no slight against them. Do you add intelligent recommendations or do you write blog posts to bring in more traffic?

There's no right answer and no guide that can give you all of the answers. You have to learn how to run your e-commerce business. Learning from other businesses is great but you have run your own experiments and see what works for you.

While I can't give you the perfect e-commerce quick start guide what I can do right now is tell you what not to do.

Avoid Get Rich Quick Schemes

Day in and day out I see incredible offers that promise that you'll get rich quick if you buy into their program. This could be affiliate marketing, this could be drop shipping, or this could be some marketing automation tool.

I actually think both affiliate marketing and drop shipping can work if you do them right. Andrew Youderian runs a successful drop shipping business and he talks about all of the lessons learned on his blog and podcast. If you listen to his show you know that he puts a lot of work into his business. He didn't flip a couple switches and then sit back and watch the money flood in. He's spending a lot of time building a brand, creating helpful product guides, and he has great customer service. All of those take constant effort.

Affiliate marketing can also work. I love the way Pat Flynn does his affiliate marketing on Smart Passive Income. He's spent a lot of time creating amazing content for his podcast and he casually mentions the products he uses on his own projects. He's built a solid brand and only recommends tools that he's used. Many affiliates pull down a list of products from a service and list them on their site. Pat hand picked the products he recommends. Creating a podcast takes an enormous amount of time and that's what Pat uses to build trust with his audience so that they actually click on his affiliate links. Without the blog or podcast listing a few products on your site probably wouldn't even bring in $100 a year.

Use Social Proof

If there was a magic machine where you put in $1 and you get $2 out you'd think that people would talk about it right? That they would be so grateful that they'd leave a positive review on their site? Or they'd make their millions and be on the cover of Forbes right?

Whenever you stumble onto one of these services take the reviews seriously. There's probably some crucial detail like “oh by the way you have to build a brand, build a blog, and constantly write awesome content to get people to your site in the first place so that they click on the affiliate links” missing.

What prompted this post was a drop shipping service (which will remain unnamed) that promises you the world. Instant access to 100,000+ products that you can put on your site and charge whatever you want. What they didn't tell you is that they aren't actually offering you wholesale rates. You can find identical products on Amazon & eBay for a lot less. Good luck making that business work.

E-Commerce Isn't a Sprint

It really isn't. Every successful e-commerce entrepreneur has to put time and money into his business to get it off the ground. There are two lessons here:

  1. If you hear of a service that's too good to be true it probably is
  2. E-Commerce takes work. Set it and forget it doesn't bring home the big bucks. On the flip side putting in effort can yield huge results. Look at either of the two examples above.

With those two rules go out explore. Happy e-commercing!

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