Client calls and says - "So, Yeah - we really want some e-commerce on our site to sell some stuff. I figure we just have to have it, you know, to be up to date. That's why we want to sell the tchotchkes in the tchotchke store online, cause we're pretty sure...
Client calls and says - "So, Yeah - we really want some e-commerce on our site to sell some stuff. I figure we just have to have it, you know, to be up to date. That's why we want to sell the tchotchkes in the tchotchke store online, cause we're pretty sure people might buy some of them sometime. Oh wait, so the e-commerce will cost me x and then x every month? Huh, well shucks, guess we are gonna lose money on having a system to make money. Oh well, everyone else is doing it so I suppose we have to as well. Bummer."
Wrong. Everyone thinks you need to have e-commerce on your site selling "things", when what you are really able to sell may be much more attractive to your audience. For example, do you sell tickets to events? Let attendees pay online to register. You are probably already used to marketing for events, so now this marketing effort can drive people to your site and increase your revenue. Everyone loves the convenience of online registration, and chances are you will sell more online spots than people who actually shows up - talk about good margins compared to if you just collected payment at the door!
Do you accept donations? For the love of all things e-commerce, let people give you money online, especially on Dec. 31st at 11:00 p.m. Offer packages, give thanks, publish their name in a bold type face, but make sure they can easily send money from their bank to yours!
Leverage what you are already doing to increase your revenue.
How about intellectual property? Yeah - you. Are you writing reports? Collecting data? Publishing internal documents that your members, community or the media would be willing to pay for to have access to? Let them pay online to download this intellectual property. Again, chances are you already have a built in process for marketing this type of "merchandise" internally, just tell a wider audience and let them decide if they want to pay.
My point is that sometimes setting up a store to sell the stuff you think you should sell (stuff that sits on shelves in some kind of store) is actually the hardest stuff to sell online because you don't have a system in place already for marketing this stuff. Compared to tickets for events, donations, white papers, etc. - these are things you are used to marketing for. Here is where you can actually leverage e-commerce to increase your revenue without taxing your internal structure with more work.