CS Chris Smith
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I want an ecommerce site. Maybe you don't?

by Chris Smith

I often get invited to quote for designing ecommerce sites or online stores and more often than not I actually decline the invitation. I don't feel it's morally right to invest my time and a customer's money in something that is doomed to failure.

It's not that people have bad ideas, it's just that they don't have a business plan. I think most of us know that most new businesses fail in their first year and online businesses are no different. All too often people see having a website as the answer when it's only part of a larger process. I get the feeling that people still believe that they can spend money on a new website and then sit back and wait for the orders to come in.

Whilst having your own ecommerce site or online business is appealing it is a big initial investment for a new business and you should consider how many sales you'd need to cover the cost. If you can't be sure that you can recover this cost within a reasonable timescale you shouldn't take the risk.

There are other ways. I often advise people starting out on a new venture to start off selling through eBay. You pay a nominal amount to list your products and have to give eBay a percentage of your revenue but this is a lot cheaper and less risky than shelling out for a website. After a time, if you feel that there is a proven market and that you can make a profit then you can look at running your own site. Hopefully, if things have gone well, you'll have a bit of money in the bank to invest too.