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Old 03-15-2013, 11:26 AM   #1
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Anyone have a successful online retail store?

Does anyone here have an online retail store? (Not really wahm style- making diapers and stuff like that.) I'm looking for some tips on starting out. It's something I've been thinking about doing for a while but I'm afraid to buy all the inventory and then have it fail.

Would love if people could share how they started and what has helped your business succeed and grow.

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Old 03-15-2013, 11:51 AM   #2
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Re: Anyone have a successful online retail store?

Do you have a business plan?
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Old 03-15-2013, 11:54 AM   #3
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Re: Anyone have a successful online retail store?

A loose one in my mind at this point.
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Old 03-15-2013, 11:55 AM   #4
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Re: Anyone have a successful online retail store?

I guess that's what I'm asking, steps to take to prepare, etc. I am not the best at prioritizing sometimes, which also makes me wonder if I would be a good person to start an online business in the first place!
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Old 03-15-2013, 12:14 PM   #5
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Re: Anyone have a successful online retail store?

Quote:
Originally Posted by lovewool View Post
I guess that's what I'm asking, steps to take to prepare, etc. I am not the best at prioritizing sometimes, which also makes me wonder if I would be a good person to start an online business in the first place!
Anyone can run a successful business as long as they are willing to commit, work hard (but smart) and of course enjoy what they do. Some people do it for the money, others do it for fun but I think it's far more rewarding when you have products and/or services that you are confident about.

A business plan is where I would start out first and talk to the people at SCORE (http://www.score.org/). Without it you'll go into it blindly and crash really fast. The SCORE organization is free service and I can't recommend them enough.

Then I would start brainstorming how you'll market the products/services. The online store itself will have its components including who will be doing the web/graphic design, SEO's, marketing and keeping the site user friendly.

Then there's accounting and financial matters including the business entity, insurance if applicable, local/state laws in running a business, what risks there are whatnot. If you own your home it maybe a good idea to consider establishing yourself as a LLC but that may also require an attorney or someone knowledgeable in the area.

You can however start out small, focus on no more than few products and build a solid client base. This way you'll get an idea what it's like running the business and slowly build on it over time. I would go into it knowing you may not make a steady cash flow for at least three years which is a general rule of thumb.

Obviously there's so much more to it than what I just typed but that's where I would look into first.
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Old 03-15-2013, 12:27 PM   #6
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Re: Anyone have a successful online retail store?

Awesome, awesome site! I'm excited about it, thank you!

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You can however start out small, focus on no more than few products and build a solid client base. This way you'll get an idea what it's like running the business and slowly build on it over time. I would go into it knowing you may not make a steady cash flow for at least three years which is a general rule of thumb.
This is what I was thinking. Starting with a few basic products that I know are popular and gaining in popularity. There are a couple other stores selling similar products I'm interested in selling and I have seen them explode over the past couple of years. They both started out pretty basic and continued to expand their product line over time.
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Old 03-15-2013, 12:38 PM   #7
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Re: Anyone have a successful online retail store?

Quote:
Originally Posted by lovewool View Post
This is what I was thinking. Starting with a few basic products that I know are popular and gaining in popularity. There are a couple other stores selling similar products I'm interested in selling and I have seen them explode over the past couple of years. They both started out pretty basic and continued to expand their product line over time.
I would...here's a really great article I read recently on becoming a successful full time photographer. While you may or may not be offering the same service the author brings up great point about running a successful business

http://www.photographyblogger.net/ho...-guide-part-1/
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Old 09-05-2013, 11:55 AM   #8
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Re: Anyone have a successful online retail store?

This is an older post, but I started a cloth diaper store about a year and a half ago. About a month ago, I was able to move from running out of my home by appointment and online to having a brick and mortar store! I agree with what the above person said about starting on the smallish side, building a clientele, and then grow from there. Do some market research in your area to know that it's a viable business. I'm blessed to have a husband who supported me 110%. In fact, he's my business manager, accountant, etc. and does a lot of the "behind the scenes" stuff. We really make a good team. It's a TON of work - more than you'll ever know, but with a lot of hard work and patience you can do it. Best wishes...
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