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eCommerce Idea
dailypress




msg:4616302
 12:41 pm on Oct 12, 2013 (gmt 0)

eCommerce-101 ;)

Hello all,

I am thinking of selling products such as T-shirts, Mugs, iPhone Cases etc through CafePress and other popular websites.

I would like to sell a variety of products (with a special theme). However, I am now sure which route to take:

1) First I am thinking of creating a WordPress website full of pictures of the products and then linking each of them to CafePress, Zazzle and/or etc. The wordpress website would basically be an introduction to the products and would link to the inner pages of CafePress etc where my customers could actually purchase and order via their website and not mine. I am also thinking of having Star Ratings under each image and a Comment section for users to post.

2) I am thinking of installing Magento, Shopify or other software but am not sure if I could link the products to CafePress and eliminate the shopping cart for now. Maybe later on, in the future if the site becomes popular I could activate the shopping cart as well as ship directly to earn a higher profit margin.

My questions:

1) What do you think of the first idea of having my main website act as a 3rd party that would basically organize, categorize, rate and display the products and link them to popular eCommerce websites?

This way I could put all my focus on the designing part and have the manufacturing and shipping done by the experts (i.e. zazzle and cafepress)... meanwhile make a small profit for each product.

What am I missing? If this was a great idea wouldn't others also do the same? Do you guys know of any popular site that has done the same?

Is the profit margin too little or is there another reason why others aren't doing it this way and actually create shopping carts and ship directly?

2) Since I am not sure which route to take, I would like to install the best software in case I would like to change things around (such as having the option of taking orders directly). Which free software do you recommend? Joomla, Wordpress, Drupal, Magento .. others? I want to prevent redesigning the website all over and want to keep the URLs and structure the same from day 1.

Is there a highly customizable software that would allow me to link a few products to other 3rd party sites (i.e. cafepress) and also at the same time take some orders directly for certain popular products such as t-shirts? Is there an enable/disable button for shopping carts?

3) Is there any better route? I don't have a store or a warehouse but I could order certain things (like t-shirts) in bulk and store them in my apartment.

I would greatly appreciate your help and guidance.

Thanks in advance,
DP

 

lorax




msg:4616435
 1:30 pm on Oct 13, 2013 (gmt 0)

Re: Great Idea. If you mean the idea of selling those particular items - been done many times over. If you mean the idea of using the tools you describe, probably has been done but without noticeable success.

Personally, my jaded sense of reality is that market is a tough one to sell.

dpd1




msg:4616700
 9:11 pm on Oct 14, 2013 (gmt 0)

If the special theme is unique and especially timely, then it might work. However, I think for that kind of stuff to work best, you have to keep on coming out with unique things that take advantage of currents trends and events. But yes, a lot of people do that kind of thing, so it might be rough.

As to all the other stuff... I'm not a tech wizard when it comes to the actual site stuff, but I do believe that the more you can do yourself, and the more centralized the experience for a shopper can be, the better off you are. I run into other site owners that literally do nothing themselves, and I honestly don't know how they make any money. By the time you pay off everybody else, I'm surprised there's any money left at all.

As has been suggested with start-ups like this before... Start small. Learn to build your own site. Start with PayPal. Learn to get out there and pound the virtual pavement, getting the word out in the right places. Don't just rely on SEO, put in the manual work. Put more into the site than just making it a cookie cutter sales site. Give people more reason to come there than just that. Test the waters that way and see what happens. Taking the... 'If I build it they will come' approach, and throwing a bunch of money at it, is no guarantee to success. In fact, you may very well be quite disappointed.

Austinhoney




msg:4617703
 4:21 pm on Oct 18, 2013 (gmt 0)

If you want to sell products, the easy part is the site. The tough (and expensive) part is driving traffic and creating a unique offer that would get someone to order from you.

You don't need a cart at all if you're just going to plug in content from Cafepress, etc. They ARE the cart. The cart is the part that basically handles the transactions. All you would be doing is creating a product information page and other types of content and Wordpress is excellent for that purpose.

Note "free" is a relative term. You still need a good template. Are you a coder? If not the paid templates are almost always easier to use than a free one. Magento is an absolute nightmare unless you are an advanced coder and have Magento training. It is not a choice for rookies at all.

You can also create a site that it totally drop-shipped products. In that case you do need a cart, a method to take payment (Paypal, credit cards account or both).

Or you can create an entire site using affiliate program links. Again, no need to use a cart or take money. You just collect commissions. Very easy and virtually free to get going. Lots of people make good money doing this but keep in mind you still have to drive traffic and offer a unique proposition that makes it worthwhile to click from your page.

Many, many blogs do this and do well.

Good luck

cliffud




msg:4620622
 4:53 pm on Nov 1, 2013 (gmt 0)


-----------Question 1-----------------

My questions:

1) What do you think of the first idea of having my main website act as a 3rd party that would basically organize, categorize, rate and display the products and link them to popular eCommerce websites?

This way I could put all my focus on the designing part and have the manufacturing and shipping done by the experts (i.e. zazzle and cafepress)... meanwhile make a small profit for each product.

What am I missing? If this was a great idea wouldn't others also do the same? Do you guys know of any popular site that has done the same?

Is the profit margin too little or is there another reason why others aren't doing it this way and actually create shopping carts and ship directly?

-------------Answer 1----------------

I suggest going for something more niche.

The barriers to entry to create t-shirts is ridiculously low and any design you can come up with can be copied with a few button clicks. What's to stop a customer fro liking your design, saving it, putting it on their own CafePress account and then buying it from their own account w/o paying you the markup you were charging over the CafePress price?

Mugs - meh, people are creatures of habit. The daily drinking of coffee and tea is a ritual that many will not change and let's be honest, how many people will buy more than one mug? Even if you come up with a good design, someone else can rip it off just as easily.

iPhone Cases - same problems as above.

The labor required to put together a site

-------------Question 2----------------

2) Since I am not sure which route to take, I would like to install the best software in case I would like to change things around (such as having the option of taking orders directly). Which free software do you recommend? Joomla, Wordpress, Drupal, Magento .. others? I want to prevent redesigning the website all over and want to keep the URLs and structure the same from day 1.

Is there a highly customizable software that would allow me to link a few products to other 3rd party sites (i.e. cafepress) and also at the same time take some orders directly for certain popular products such as t-shirts? Is there an enable/disable button for shopping carts?

-------------Answer 2----------------

I suggest going with Wordpress and then adding paypal purchase buttons. Pros: easy to setup, easy to change, easy to add on plug-ins and easy way to get started and prove the concept works BEFORE setting up a business license and business bank account and charging credit cards from the start. I started by creating a site (normal HTML site using dreamweaver) and was able to rack up $840k in sales the first 3 years. All I used were paypal Buy Now buttons.

-------------Question 3----------------

3) Is there any better route? I don't have a store or a warehouse but I could order certain things (like t-shirts) in bulk and store them in my apartment.

I would greatly appreciate your help and guidance.

-------------Answer 3----------------

No better route other than drop shipping but everyone will be selling the same goods with the same cost so you may not be able to make that much - it will depend entirely on your ability to market the business.

GOOD LUCK!

dailypress




msg:4620770
 4:03 pm on Nov 2, 2013 (gmt 0)

thank you all for your responses.

Doing a bit more research I decided to focus on the design for now and create stores on CafePress, Zazzle and a few more sites.

I will create a simple directory and basically link the front page to these stores and drive in traffic from my other sites.

If I see decent sales, I will most likely just expand the products and maybe online stores and then do as suggested above. Maybe create a WordPress site with Paypal and then take it from there.

thanks again for your comments.

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