I currently run several sites that do quite well, but I am seriously considering purchasing a forum site that is quite popular and relates directly to my industry in the hopes of turning it into a hybrid forum/ecommerce site.
Does anyone know of forums that have made a transition from being a free forum into an ecommerce/forum site without destroying the membership?
My thoughts would be to have a side menu or a choice upon entry to enter the store or forum. I am also having a difficult time finding any examples of successful sites like this. Maybe there is a reason for that!?
[edited by: lorax at 1:47 pm (utc) on Dec. 30, 2006] [edit reason] no URLs please [/edit]
We are considering adding a forum to our ecommerce site. We get tons of emails from customers complimenting us on our products, service, etc. The compliments are nice, but we would rather have them made in a public place so that other visitors to our site can see them. What we’re hoping is that by adding a forum our customers will talk each other into purchasing. We also think it might help with trust for people who are unfamiliar with our company to read the posts from our other customers…. Anyway that’s the theory.
We would like to know if there any other ecommerce site here who have added a forum? If so what were the results? Did it have a positive impact?
The time consuming aspect of running a forum is biggest negative that we have come up with as well. The question is if the positive aspects of having a forum out weigh the time that will be required. We do post our customer comments on our site, but it might seem more authentic if it was read on a forum…
A couple of other reasons that we are considering adding a forum is to get our customers to return to our site on a more regular basis. According to our stats, prior visitors are far more likely to convert than first time visitors. We also like the idea of user created content, and think it could give better presence in the search engines. (more possible entry pages that could show up for various searches).
Anyway, not sure if the positives outweigh the negatives, but it’s something we’re seriously considering. Your input is appreciated… If anyone else has additional insights, your input would be appreciated as well.