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e-commerce greenhorn needs some advice

7:17 pm on Apr 15, 2011 (gmt 0)

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I run a forum for a tech product that lends itself to selling related accessories, so I'd like to set up a storefront.

I'm experienced in other areas, but this is going to be my first shot at e-commerce. I'd love any input I could get as I try to think through these options.

I am at present trying to choose between two strategies: integrate the store into my existing community/domain, or establish a distinct site, referring customers, and benefiting from a bit of synergy.

store.forum.com, a storefront integrated with the current theme and layout, in the top nav-bar like any other page. This approach would limit me to selling products directly related to my product. However, it would benefit directly from the authority and traffic of the existing domain.

[accessorystore].com, independent storefront on a separate domain. This would lend itself to selling accessories for a wider variety of products, but would miss out on the authority and direct traffic from the established domain. It doesn't seem as fluid to try to refer customers from the forum to a distinct shopping site. I might as well be referring them to Amazon.

Thanks in advance. This is a big strategic decision for me.
7:31 pm on Apr 16, 2011 (gmt 0)

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It's hard to know the best way to do it without knowing the content type and all that... But if you're personally connected well with the community, and there's good relationship that you've built with people there... to the point where they trust you... I think that's a very valuable thing that I would try to capitalize on as much as a could. Building up that trust within a certain niche takes a lot of time doing it from scratch, and that's really the hardest part.
8:41 pm on Apr 24, 2011 (gmt 0)

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WebmasterWorld Senior Member essex_boy is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

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Relate the two, I have a site similar, product and viewers are the same. Never sold anything thing till brought in customers for free bits and info.