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Top 10 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Launching an Online Store

Filed under: Tip of the Day, Uncategorized

Online StoreThis month’s Advantages magazine has a great story about entering the world of e-commerce. Full of tips and strategies, this is a must-read for anyone who’s considered putting their products and services into an online store. Click here to read the story, and here are 10 questions you might want to think about before taking the e-commerce journey … enjoy!

  1. What is the client’s budget? “These stores can take a lot of time and effort to set up, and unless there is a big payoff at the end of the day, it may not be worth it,” says Phil Cantore, vice president of sales for Hygrade Business Group Inc. (asi/229272). 
  2. Who is the client’s target audience? “A little bit of research on current events will make a big difference when their customer gets the promotional item they have selected,” says Charles Urbina, president and CEO of Solucion Marketing (asi/329854). “The research is the most important part to identify the right mix of products I can offer to my customer.”
  3. Who will be in charge of the inventory? “Where is the inventory going to be stored, and most important, are they going to expect me to keep it on hand?” says Tom Fletcher, president of Ad Promotions Inc. (asi/105230). 
  4. How much overhead will be needed? “If the client would like you to stock the inventory, then you will need to ask who owns the inventory – who is promoting the store internally – along with a maximum shelf time for each product,” says Rob Knaszak, partner with PDS Corporate Sales (asi/290671). “The relationship can turn ugly when you own merchandise, and it ties up your cash for a year or two.”
  5. Will apparel be sold? “If your store includes apparel, I’d recommend getting a general idea of the individuals who will be purchasing the apparel, and if you can get a sizing list before anything is ordered, that’s even better,” says Joe Schlechte, owner of Landmark Promotions Inc. (asi/248490). 
  6. Will the store be external or internal (employees only)? “You’ve got to find out if the products are going to their employees only – and if they can redeem a promo code or use a point system,” Schlechte says. 
  7. How will shipping be handled? “Where are the products going to be distributed?” Schlechte says. “Are you going to be shipping them out every day? Dropping things off from your car? Do they have a UPS or FedEx number you can use?”
  8. Should only in-stock items be listed online? “Will the site be filled with items in stock, or will it be comprised of just-in-time inventory?” Knaszak says. 
  9. Will there be ample time to test the site before it goes live? “It will really help if you know how much you are going to have to handle as soon as you go live, and hopefully anticipate any problems before they happen,” says Robin Hartowicz, account executive at Print Resources Inc. (asi/299441). “If they are already used to a large volume of orders, you might want to make sure you allow ample time to test, test, test and test again.”
  10. How much regular maintenance will be required? “The most common maintenance includes adding new products to freshen up the site, working with the client to remove products that are no longer relevant, monitoring inventory reports and adding, editing and updating any user information,” says Mark McCormack, owner of Proforma Identity Marketing Group (asi/300094).

Good luck, and may the online force be with you!

Get plenty of additional tips from Advantages magazine.


2 Comments

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