There are as many different paths to e-commerce success as there are successful e-commerce websites. People find their market niches in many different ways. The same is true of how they gain the necessary knowledge for successfully promoting their websites instead of getting lost in the sea of competition.
However, there is one commonality that all successful e-commerce owners seem to have. Read these brief histories of a few successful e-commerce businesses and see if you can find the common thread.
Mount Healthy Hatcheries – Steve Moore of Cincinnati, Ohio had been a computer programmer in the corporate world.
Things were going great for him and he’d planned to spend his entire career there. But then he suffered seizures from a brain tumor, and had to endure subsequent surgeries to fight it. His plans for corporate success were shattered.
Steve’s wife, Cathy, was part owner of a family-owned brick and mortar business that has operated since 1923.
It was a chick hatchery that sold 1-day-old chickens, turkeys, and ducks. Steve and Cathy thought it was time to move it into the 21st century. Friends and family told them it couldn’t be done, that no one would ever buy chickens from the Internet.
“I HAD to prove them wrong,” said Steve. “I knew it could be done, I just had to find a way around all the obstacles.” Steve had built websites before, so he was confident in his ability.
What he didn’t know was if he could build a full-blown e-commerce website where he could display a full line of chicks and products and enable customers to pay online.
He also didn’t know how to promote a website sufficiently to bring in enough Web traffic for a sufficient cash flow.
That’s when he got an invitation in the mail to a conference where we could learn about a company that provides the tools, hosting, and training he would need to do all those things. That was in 2006.
Within four months the e-commerce site he built through that company had become a major part of the family business.
Steve and Cathy still run the website they built back then, along with a few other websites they’ve built since, using the same platform.
North American Knives – Kirk and Bonnie McCormick of Baker City, Oregon had a side-business selling koi. Koi are those colorful Japanese breeds of carp that people put in aquariums and outdoor fish ponds.
They set out to build a website that would allow them to sell their koi on the Internet. The company they contracted with for hosting and training also provided them with keyword research tools.
That’s where they made two discoveries that would devastate their plans. First, they discovered that there were a lot of other companies selling koi online. But worse, they discovered that not many people were searching online for koi.
They’d already bought the websites and contracted for the hosting. In order to make their investment pay off they had to find another way.
“We made long lists of things we knew about to try to think of something else we could sell online,” said Bonnie.
After narrowing the list down to just a few ideas they began researching each one to see if they could find a supplier with a product they could sell competitively.
They gave up on several ideas before they found a supplier of knives that would work with them.
Today, Kirk still works full time in law enforcement but Bonnie just runs their knife websites (they run four now) from home.
Buy Activated Charcoal – John Dinsley of Crawford, Nebraska had always been self-employed in one way or another.
He had a background in preventive medicine and had written a book about the medicinal uses of activated charcoal.
When he decided to try to sell his book on his own website, he was running a renovation business but was getting tired of it. He had his sons build him a website but it didn’t work out like he wanted.
“I’d have to bug them every time I wanted to change something,” John said, “and that was a lot.” Also, he didn’t know how to market his website and wasn’t getting much traffic at all.
He turned to the Internet to find a platform he could use to build a website of his own, and hopefully figure out how to market it. But John was working on a Mac.
The platform he chose wasn’t compatible and others he found didn’t have the features he wanted.
Next, John got a mailer about a conference that would teach him the things he wanted to know.
“They told me at the conference that this platform was Mac compatible so I bought in,” said John. “Once I got it home, I realized it wasn’t compatible at all. I had to get my money back.”
By this time, both John and his wife, Kimberly, were getting pretty discouraged.
They suspected that if they could just get the sales of John’s book going, they might also be able to sell the activated charcoal products people can use.
Such was their determination that when they got yet another invitation to an Internet conference in the mail, they pushed aside their discouragement and decided to give it another try. That conference led them to a full-day Training Workshop.
“Before the day was half over, we knew this was it,” John remembered.
It took many hours and a lot of effort to learn to use the platform but the website he was able to build for himself still runs today, selling his book (Title: CharcoalRemedies.com).
He also built another website that sells all the products people use with activated charcoal in them, both medicinal and non-medicinal (it’s also widely used for odor control and other uses).
What Do They All Have In Common?
Have you discovered the theme yet? What do all these e-commerce business owners have in common? It’s really just simple persistence. All of these people, and thousands more like them, were hurled back multiple times as they tried to achieve their online success.
All of them kept charging back in with a different plan until they found one that worked for them; one that brought them the success they sought.
It doesn’t just happen in e-commerce. It’s a general rule of life: Persistence doesn’t guarantee success, but if you’re not persistent, you’re not successful.
This article was written by Dominic Bria and produced by StoresOnline, the e-commerce services company who hosted all the sites mentioned here. For more information on StoresOnline, its site-building tools, training materials, or the conferences it sponsors, visit www.StoresOnline.com or call 1-888-539-3853.