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Starting new business what is the first step, NJ
starting new business what are the steps
bullynj




msg:4310954
 7:48 pm on May 11, 2011 (gmt 0)

I am a website designer, have been in the industry for 5 years, I am looking to open a store and sell shoes however I may know alot about design and ecommerce, but I have no clue how to start a company where do you begin, do you need a license in the state of NJ to sell online? Who do you call to get access to their products?

Sorry for being so clueless. I could ask one of my sellers, however I dont want them to be upset I'm going to sell what they sell.

 

wheel




msg:4310965
 8:01 pm on May 11, 2011 (gmt 0)

Who do you call to get access to their products?

If you have to ask this, you should not be opening a shoe store. You don't know enough about the industry to be competing in what I suspect is a competitive industry.

It also probably means you don't know things like return rates, return policies, markup, shipping costs, payment terms, the actual price you should be paying for inventory, how much inventory you need to keep on hand, what sells and what doesn't, what seasons stuff sells and when it doesn't, and even an expected sales figure.

You are a lamb waiting for the slaughter. Seriously, open a store, but do it in an area you know something about. If this is your dream, this is me jumping up and down and crushing them.

jk3210




msg:4311015
 9:26 pm on May 11, 2011 (gmt 0)

@bullynj - I don't know about licensing in NJ, but my guess is that you don't need one. To get started with product, look into companies that have "affiliate" programs where you can use their sales material on your site and they pay you a commission. Set-up is usually pretty easy, you only have to hook-up some links on your site. Lots of people start this way.

Your success will depend on how well you can promote your site in the search engines which is the hard part.

bullynj




msg:4311025
 9:39 pm on May 11, 2011 (gmt 0)

wheel- This is why I posted this message, I am aware of how to list on the web, what platforms are best and I know alot about SEO .... so this is not a problem, my main issue is
1-knowing where to get my merchandise from (distributors)
2-if there is a license to be able to be a online merchant

Those are my two main issues, I am not sure Im going to sell shoes, it was a idea, I am feeling out what I feel most confident in, I already have a plan on how Im going to sell, I just need to find out how to get a distributor. Also, I have a taxid from my webdesign company, do I need to obtain one for this business?
---
jk3210
Thank you for responding in a way that makes me feel a bit less like a idiot. Being a affiliate, does this mean I would sell their product for them and they would pay me a commission? I'm not sure what that means. Is there a place I can be directed for people who are just starting in the industry?

It has been my experience in the past to ask questions, that is what made me very successful as a designer, I have over 250 stores live on the web that my online design company has built over the last few years, I feel its time to branch out and bring another aspect into my business, I would love to have my husband and I get into this line, plus I get people who ask me all the time how to start a ecommerce business, this would be a good thing for me to know.

jk3210




msg:4311041
 10:08 pm on May 11, 2011 (gmt 0)

...does this mean I would sell their product for them and they would pay me a commission?

Actually, it means that you send interested customers to the company via the links you place on your site, and the company pays you a commission based on what those people buy. You usually don't have to get involved in the product shipping logistics, etc.


Is there a place I can be directed for people who are just starting in the industry?

Yes. It's been quite a while since I've visited this forum but "abestweb.com" used to have the scoop on the affiliate programs available, plus sections for people just starting out.

ecommerce business

Keep in mind that most ecomm businesses don't succeed in making a significant amount of money because they never gain sufficient rankings in the S/Es to get the required traffic. But, I assure you it can be done.

wheel




msg:4311045
 10:36 pm on May 11, 2011 (gmt 0)

Thank you for responding in a way that makes me feel a bit less like a idiot. Being

Not trying to make you look like an idiot. What I've provided you is advice I've received from my business mentors after I've gone off doing stupid stuff I've no right being involved in. Like you're about to do.

The most successful Nike retailer in NJ knows a lot about shoes. How well do you think they could design a site to sell shoes, get one that converts into sales, and do SEO? It's not a whole bunch more difficult than google the term 'opensource ecommerce packages' then buying some forum links right?

Clearly it's not. A successful shoe salesperson is almost guaranteed to fail if they decide to jump into your ecommerce area of expertise. Yet you're about to do the same thing, I mean, how hard can it be? This is very basic business 101 stuff even though I learned it the hard way.

Good luck, just don't quit your day job.

jsinger




msg:4311047
 10:38 pm on May 11, 2011 (gmt 0)

Wheel was too kind :) Let me add a few thoughts:

1) No one has sold "Shoes" in 50 years, at least in any place with more than 1,000 people.

2) Walmart stopped selling footwear online a few years ago because the returns were ridiculous.

3) Do you know what it costs to ship a pair of mens size 14 work boots?

4) How many hundreds of millions did Zappos lose before they turned their first profit?

5) Are you prepared to match the current industry insanity with free next day air delivery and free returns? And maybe a one year no questions guarantee?

6) Are you aware that some shoes come in more than 30 sizes and several colors?

7) What the heck are you going to do with the 10%-15% of your sales that will be returned, often worn?

I just need to find out how to get a distributor.

While you're buying from a middleman, most of your competitors will be buying from manufacturers directly.

[edited by: jsinger at 10:49 pm (utc) on May 11, 2011]

wheel




msg:4311049
 10:47 pm on May 11, 2011 (gmt 0)

Wheel was too kind :)

I should get a T shirt made up.

LifeinAsia




msg:4311071
 11:55 pm on May 11, 2011 (gmt 0)

Wheel was too kind :)

I was going to say something like that as well.

The larger point in this is that many, MANY people who have good (or even great) website design skills think that it's easy to take those skills and jump into business. Most of them don't have a clue as to what it takes to run a business. Most of them focus so much on what they know that they neglect the critical parts of running a business (business planning, marketing, bookkeeping, inventory control, cash flow, fraud reduction, taxes, etc.), which ultimately cause the downfall of the business.

And I say this from personal experience. When I quit my day job to start my own online company (a few months before the .com crash), I had no idea what I was getting into. However, I had a leg up on many other people- at least I had a degree in business and management. My parents also owned their own business. And I had worked closely with the owners of a number of small businesses, so I had a vague idea of some of the issues involved (but still nowhere near everything). By all rights, I probably should have crashed and burned as well. But luckily, we kept costs extremely low and had some great mentors who helped us through some sticky issues.

creeking




msg:4311084
 12:29 am on May 12, 2011 (gmt 0)

I am aware of how to list on the web, what platforms are best and I know alot about SEO ....


with your web knowledge, and an interest in shoes, try setting up a shoe review and news site. see if you can make money from ads and affiliates. ... maybe even a shoe forum?


my answer to the "first step" question in the thread title is, "register the domain name you want".

wheel




msg:4311104
 1:22 am on May 12, 2011 (gmt 0)

Creeking's got the best advice so far :).

ssgumby




msg:4311105
 1:23 am on May 12, 2011 (gmt 0)

How do you find distributors?

Search for footwear trade shows. Im sure there are plenty of them. Go to one and im sure there will be distributors anxious to do business with you.

jsinger




msg:4311113
 2:06 am on May 12, 2011 (gmt 0)

No one has sold "Shoes" in 50 years, at least in any place with more than 1,000 people.

By that I mean that footwear has always been divided into niches: Mens dress, Boys, womens dress and heels, womens formal (like prom shoes), womens casual, girls, childrens and infants footwear were each sold in separate departments in large department stores probably going back more than 100 years. There were other niches long before the web, orthopedic shoes, work shoes and athletics (then called gym shoes) not usually carried by even the largest department stores. That was before the web.

Now slice each of those categories into dozens of sub-niches. I've seen sites that only sell biker boots, or shoes for dolls, or highly specialized athletics. I remember one clothing site that only sold clothing and shoes in one color, purple.

A few megasites like Zappos sell most types of shoes for men and women but even those sites ignore some micro niches. I don't see baby shoes on Zappos for instance. (the returns would be crushing I suppose)

---

Yes, If you want to find lines visit a trade shoe but expect that all will cater to niches. There are several venerable trade publications such as Footwear News:

[wwd.com...]

dpd1




msg:4311115
 2:14 am on May 12, 2011 (gmt 0)

with your web knowledge, and an interest in shoes, try setting up a shoe review and news site. see if you can make money from ads and affiliates. ... maybe even a shoe forum?


Yeah, I would say this is probably the more logical route. Baby steps... First comes an identity, then comes the sales based on that identity. Start with info. Build a reputation and audience. Start with some items that focus on that subject... Move into other items. And the more unique the items, the better. The less you have to compete with the other hordes of people selling all the same stuff, the better off you are. Think 'small niche'. Look on the state site. See if they want a sellers permit. If they do, no big deal. Your city might also require a license/tax technically, but these are not huge pitfalls. Worse comes to worse, you pay a couple fines at some point down the road. That's better than getting buried in bureaucracy before you make a penny. Where the paperwork becomes important is in doing business with manufacturers and distributors. It's a catch 22. They want people with a buying record (credit), but you can't get a record until people sell you stuff. Start out slow and get some smaller makers to sell you stuff. Even if it's on COD. Then build a rep on that and get a Dun number. Your history as a business can be shown to others through that. But if you start out slow, you don't need all that stuff right away. Do not take the 'all or nothing' approach. Spending money or taking big risks does not guarantee success in any way.

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