With so many people finding themselves unemployed or underemployed and so many looking for a way to make money from home, the lure of starting an internet business can be quite appealing. With proper research and planning, an appealing product and lots of hard work it CAN be done. Here are the top 5 challenges.
This is usually the biggest hurdle. Having the most awesome product available at a great price is not enough if your target audience doesn't find you. If you're just starting out you might consider offering your product on one or more of the major e-commerce sites like eBay or Amazon. This is the best way to quickly get the most eyes to your product. Once you've confirmed that your product and pricing are viable you can start your own website and gently steer your buyers there. If you need help with search engine optimization get recommendations from people you trust. Steer away from any of the get rich quick offers where you have to pay somebody to set you up on eBay or Amazon or who promise to get your website pushed to the top of Google.
If you are offering a product for sale online you have to be sure you have a reliable source. If you are considering having your products drop shipped make sure you first order some of the product for yourself so you can judge the product and how quickly and professionally it is shipped. Unless you have a significant wealth of experience with a particular product line, start small. Even if you have to pay more for a smaller quantity of the items it is worth it to avoid the risk of being stuck with a warehouse or garage full of unsaleable product. Be sure to have a back-up source or back-up plan in case things go awry with your supplier.
One of the downsides of the current economy for online sellers is that there is such a glut of people and companies fighting for your potential online customers. If you have come across what you think is a great deal on a product, whether from a drop shipping company or elsewhere, do the research to see what the items are currently selling for online. Many larger companies AND many individuals in dire straits are willing to sell at rock bottom prices to eke out even a very small profit on practically anything you might want to sell. So do your homework. Unless you are making your own items or have the exclusive rights to a particular product this is a reality you will have to face and will have to constantly be monitoring.
As gas prices increase and shipping becomes more and more expensive, this becomes a huge factor that must be carefully addressed. While shipping prices continue to rise, customers are increasingly expecting free or low cost shipping for items they order online. Again, research is critical here. Be sure to examine all possible shipping options available through the Post Office (First Class, Priority Mail, Media Mail, Parcel Post, etc.)as well as through FedEx or UPS. Remember that FedEx and UPS can both be negotiated with. Talk to both to see who can come up with the best deal for your situation.
Also, don't be afraid to explore other more unusual options. In many areas local couriers are available who may have lower pricing for some deliveries. The decision to either include shipping in your product price (and offer "Free Shipping") or to list shipping as a separate line item on your invoice will also have to be carefully considered.
In additional to shipping your product out you will have to decide how to handle returns. Who will pay for return shipping and how will it be facilitated. Whichever way you decide to go, make sure that your policies are clear in your listings or on your website so customers know what to expect.
This can seem like a full-time job. As far as trends in your product area you always need to be a step ahead. One of the best ways to do this is to listen to your customers. If you get a few requests for something you don't offer, perhaps it's time to start looking for sources. Are your clients asking for eco-friendly versions of what you are selling? If you don't have them available it might be time to see if you can find them.
Technology seems to be moving at the speed of light. Again, do as much research as you can so you don't get left behind. Does your website have the kind of shopping cart that online users are becoming accustomed to? Can shoppers easily find and purchase your products using their mobile devices?
This article focuses on the challenges. But don't be discouraged. New internet success stories are being created every day. With proper thought, research and energy and devotion, perhaps the next success story can be yours!
Great list on "Challenges to Creating and Maintaining a Successful Internet Business." As an Internet Marketer for the past 6 years I can definitely attest to the validity of this top five list. Thanks for sharing. Hi5!
Thanks for the internet business tips. H5
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