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Chapter 1. Frequently Asked Questions > What's the difference between simply se... - Pg. 9

Frequently Asked Questions 9 Onsale, Inc. (www.onsale.com) was the early leader in the online auction battle. Onsale requires participants to bid upward in $25 increments to help guarantee lucrative profit margins. But although Onsale, which recently merged with software/computer online retailing store Egghead, may have been the early leader, mention Internet auctions today and most people will think, "eBay!" (www.ebay.com). eBay enables people to sell goods online in an auction style and has become the leader in online auctions and personal selling. Amazon.com, Lycos, and others have also jumped into the personal auction fray, but it is eBay that pioneered the concept and remains the leader. If you want to set up an auction for a few goods, eBay and Amazon.com are great services to use. But you can also set up an auction-based store of your own using specialized auction packages such as OpenSite Auction, which is used by many major auction sites on the Web. In Chapter 25, you will find more information on developing an auction-oriented store. What's the difference between simply selling something online and running an online store? It's the same difference between setting up a lemonade stand in front of your house and opening a store that happens to sell lemonade. The online equivalent of a lemonade stand would be to simply go online and inform people that you have a particular item that you'd like to sell, and anyone who is interested can contact you via email, regular mail, or phone. Building an online store is much more involved. You'll probably be selling a variety of related prod- ucts through a virtual inventory. You'll have to make your store known to potential customers and work to get them and keep them. In short, selling something online takes no time, little effort, and will likely provide minimal income. Opening an online store requires long hours of work, tireless effort, and will hopefully provide you with a living. Selling online might be a hobby or a means of selling one specific service or product. Running an online store is about selling an entire array of services and products. It is also about selling the store itself. Isn't online retailing really competitive? Will I be able to succeed? Online selling is extremely competitive; so is selling cars, insurance, or anything else. As an online store owner, you must find out exactly who your competition is. Make sure you can answer the following questions. · · · · · · How many online companies are selling similar products? What are their prices and shipping options? How fast are they getting their products to their customers? What is the word of mouth on Usenet newsgroups about your competition? How slick/functional are their Web sites? Where does your competition advertise (e.g., links, major magazines)? Will you be able to succeed? Of course you will be able to succeed. That doesn't mean you will. A little luck never hurts, but success, as Boston Celtics coach Rick Pitino says, is a choice. Cliche alert: You'll get out of it what you put into it. Can I just open my store and let the orders roll in? That would be nice, wouldn't it? Unfortunately you can no more do that than you could open a store on a rural road, never advertise, and stay in business for more than a couple of months. In other words, NO!