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Creating a new ecommerce site

Finding my niche...Trying to cover all of my bases

3:19 am on Apr 23, 2011 (gmt 0)

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How did you go about starting your online business?

I'm beginning to construct plans to create my own online store. I've been working in ecommerce for over a year now, and want to make sure I'm not making a foolish investment.

I was thinking textiles as my entry point, more specifically a niche that I can focus on at a certain time of the year, such as summer dresses or Christmas dresses.

Some questions I have:

Taking a design to a product, I need schematics and essentially a blueprint for a manufacturer to construct my goods, what's the most effective way to create something like this?

Where or how can I find the most competitive textile manufacturers?

Thanks for your help!
9:19 am on May 12, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Some great advice here but be aware that people are sometimes saying things that are specific to the jurisdiction where they live - for example:

make that part of your sales NO RETURNS

Depending where you are that may be good advice or it may be illegal. Where I live consumer protection laws oblige mail order merchants to accept returns.
6:19 pm on May 18, 2011 (gmt 0)

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I have read this thread with great interest as we are in a similar position with what we think is a great business idea.

We've identified a niche area (but which still could be quite big) and which no-one else seems to paying any attention to.
We've done extensive searches for many months and we've found very little, even going upto page 40 on Google results.

The obvious thought you might have is, well, maybe that's because there's no market there.
But we don't think this is true but before we consider looking for a large amount of finance, we ideally want to begin in as low cost way as possible and see what happens.
Once we have some results, we can then review things and then if appropriate, we can approach investors or banks for financing.

We intend to do some local test marketing & promos but all based on buying from the website.
Since it will all be web-based, we can run the business from home to keep costs down.
However, what we don't want to do is make the website look amateurish or flaky or insecure, which will probably hurt us more than save us money. We've not run an online business or any business before this.

We are in the early stages of defining the various elements of the business and doing a lot of reading and so we haven't yet got to the point of learning what the issues are in e-commerce and what an e-commerce website costs to design, host and generally run, with full CC & Paypal payments in a top secure environment and with a bunch of features that we have observed on other sites and would like on ours.

Is there a middle ground perhaps that can provide an option for us?

Any other advice/comments would be welcomed.
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