Just about anything can be - and is -sold online these days. From flue liners to food processing machinery, Dvd's to clothes, cleaning cloths to boats, it all retails on the Internet when done correctly.
The problems appearwhen the online store owner fails to follow some simple rules - and have a marketing gameplan in place.
Don't reinvent the wheel
There's just no need to reinvent the wheel. Massive corporations such as Amazon, Ebay & Office Depot have invested millions of dollars testing what succeeds and what doesn't. Do your research and see how these guys operate - and replicate their best practices.
Presentation is key
Again, you can learn how to do this from the big boys, but the crucial point is to show your products clearly and in the best possible light. Good quality, clear images, coupled with descriptive text, presented in an unfussy design, works great to make sales.
Make it easy to buy
So many people miss the point on this one - you must make it as easy as possible for your customer to buy.
A clear, easy to use checkout process, a choice of payment methods, and easy to understand shipping rates all make for a seamless, easy shopping experience.
Inspire customer confidence
Consumers are often frightened by media stories of "fake" websites, but there are elements that you can incorporate theat fake websites rarely have.
Firstly, ensure you display contact details and telephone numbers prominently. Then, join some well known safe shopping type schemes and display their logos clearly. Also, get a secure (SSL) certificate, even if your payment processor deals with this, as it reassures customers their card data is safe. If your industry has any trade associations, join them and display their logos.
Lastly,ensure you display links to your shipping prices and returns policy pages clearly, so the customer can easily see them.
Have a marketing gameplan
The successful ecommerce sites have a marketing plan in place. You must always be doing marketing, and the type of marketing you do depends on your available time and budget. Those with cash to invest, can get good, quick results with Google Adwords, those with more time than money will prefer article writing , SEO and Web 2.0 (such as Twitter). The key is to have a plan of action and follow it. Those that fail at ecommerce, do so due to failure to market their websites.