In the last few years, the online world has changed considerably. Thanks to the emergence of mobile technology and social media, many traditional offline businesses have found ways to operate online. As a result, many more businesses can be found online than could ever be found in a physical store.
While this transformation has benefited consumers, it has not been without its challenges. One of the biggest challenges is how to generate revenue when websites and mobile apps are free. Thanks to the emergence of e-commerce stores, entrepreneurs and business owners can now create a store that operates solely on digital platforms. This allows them to generate revenue with little to no overhead, since they’re not paying for physical storefronts or staff that work in physical stores.
If you’re looking to launch an e-commerce store, here are some ways to make money online with an e-commerce store:
1. Create a Product Listing (CPA Network)
One of the first things you’ll need to do is create a product listing on your e-commerce store. In order to do this, you’ll first need to create a commercial product account on the CPA Network. Then, navigate to the E-Commerce tab, and you’ll find a form where you can input the SKUs of the products you want to sell. You’ll also need to choose a payment method and enter a commercial email address so that you can receive the payment notifications from the CPA Network.
Once you’ve completed all of this, click on “Save and Continue.” You’ll then be redirected to a confirmation screen where you can enter a commercial email address and activate your product listing. A notification will then be sent to your email address with further instructions. You can also visit the Affiliate Market to find a commercial email address to use.
2. Use a Coupon Code
While it’s not always possible to create a discount or a coupon code, it is possible to use a coupon code to generate revenue. On the CPA Network, you’ll find a form where you can enter a coupon code that will be applied to your product purchase when you check out. You can use coupon codes to generate additional revenue during specific periods. For example, you can use a coupon code during the Thanksgiving or Christmas holidays to generate additional revenue.
You may also want to consider using a “no coupon code required” option where applicable. Sometimes, a free shipping option with a coupon code can be more desirable to consumers than the ability to use a coupon code. Having the option to use a coupon code simply allows your customers to choose the option that suits their needs best. This is also a great way to allow consumers to discover additional products that they might like, since showing an image of the product along with the description is almost always more effective than just the description alone.
3. Use Gift Cards
One of the simplest yet most effective ways of generating revenue without a store is to allow consumers to pay for your products with gift cards. You’ll need to have a merchant account set up with a payment processor in order to take credit cards. Then, on your site, you’ll want to create a shopping cart where consumers can add items to their cart and then checkout with a gift card.
Payment processing is highly competitive, so you’ll want to ensure that you are utilizing all available payment methods. Having additional payment methods (such as gift cards) increases the likelihood of your customer being able to make a purchase. Additionally, you can allow consumers to choose a gift card over a regular credit card since the gift card is often given as a present and is less likely to be declined.
One important thing to note is that gift cards should never be considered as a form of payment in lieu of cash. For example, if a consumer’s card is declined and they don’t have enough cash on hand, gift cards can’t be used as a form of payment. This can then lead to the refusal of all of the consumer’s future transactions, since the payment method has been identified as questionable.
4. Use Online Shopping Carts
An alternative to taking credit cards is to allow consumers to pay for your products via online shopping carts. This is a common option for e-commerce stores, especially those that operate in several countries. In cases where credit cards aren’t accepted, online shopping carts allow for greater consumer flexibility since alternative forms of payment can be used.
The downside to online shopping carts is that they require the maintenance of an online store. If you’re looking to minimize your overhead and have someone else handle the technical aspects of your store, then online shopping carts might not be the best option. Additionally, if you’re operating in several countries, getting the right licenses to offer online shopping carts in each country can be quite the endeavor.
5. Use a Dropshipping Business Model
Another effective way to generate revenue with virtually no overhead is to utilize a dropshipping business model. In a dropshipping business model, you essentially operate a storefront. When a potential customer lands on your website or app and makes a purchase, you order the product from a third-party vendor and then ship it directly to the customer. This allows for greater flexibility and reduced operating costs. Additionally, you can use a dropshipping business model if you’re looking to do some international shipping, since you won’t need to maintain offices or warehouses in other countries.
The downside to a dropshipping business model is that you aren’t in direct contact with your customers. If your product’s quality is questionable or if there are any issues with the order, you’re the one who will need to deal with the consequences. Additionally, dropshipping requires a bit of a learning curve. Setting up your online store and learning how to use an online order form can be quite the endeavor on its own.
6. Use a Vending Machine
An emerging trend in e-commerce is the use of automated retail solutions, especially in locations where there is high foot traffic, like grocery stores and drugstores. These automated retail solutions allow for greater flexibility and reduced operating costs. One of the more innovative companies in this category is Honeycomb, known for creating automated retail solutions for restaurants, cafes, and other food-related businesses. They even have a solution specifically designed for e-commerce stores.
Honeycomb’s automated shopping solutions provide a variety of features, like point-of-sale (POS) systems, gift card processing, and inventory and sales management – all with minimal installation costs and a simple license fee. While automated retail solutions like Honeycomb’s can be expensive, they can often times be the best option available. They’re also exceptionally versatile and can be customized to fit a wide variety of needs.
7. Use a Travel Agent
One option available to online entrepreneurs and small businesses is to use a travel agent. A travel agent can take care of all the bookings, including flights, hotel rooms, and transfers. They can even get you discounted rates since they’re working on behalf of a client. The downside to using a travel agent is that they usually charge a commission for their services, so there is an overhead associated with using them. Additionally, not all travel agents are created equal. Some are more experienced than others and can offer greater travel benefits. Knowing how to select a reputable travel agent is key to saving time and money while on your travels.
8. Use an Online Food Ordering App
Online food ordering apps, like Feastly, make it easier for consumers to order food online instead of going out to eat. Simply find the restaurant you want to order from and then choose the items you want to order. Once your order is ready, you can either pick it up or have it delivered. This can be a quick and easy way to generate revenue since there is very little to no involvement from you as a business owner. You just have to get the food and then prepare it according to the instructions.
The downside to online food ordering apps is that these apps are usually designed for consumer use, so there can be some difficulties experienced by businesses that want to use them. Additionally, if you don’t have a lot of restaurant options in your area, it can be quite the challenge to find the one that suits your needs best. Sometimes, the choice can be difficult, especially if you’re looking for a specific type of food that isn’t available locally.