View Full Version : How hard would it be to run an e-commerce site part-time?

10-20-2004, 11:41 PM
I'm just wondering about how much time need to be put in to an e-commerce site. The site would sell various products in a certain niche and all would require shipping. Any ideas?

10-21-2004, 12:42 AM
Chris can answer this more accurately, but it depends on so many things.

Mainly, how will your traffic come in? Through slowly increasing SERP positions or you buy advertising for it? One would assume that if you relied solely on SERP placement for customers, you would have plenty of time to run an e-commerce site part-time for a while at least.

Again, it's a pretty hard question to answer. All depends on how fast your customer base will grow, how effective your SEO techniques are, how effective your advertising is, etc.

10-21-2004, 12:50 AM
Okay...say I have decent SEO techniques and a popular content site with a somewhat similar niche to drive traffic to it. I like to think I am pretty decent at optimizing my pages and the niche I have in mind really doesn't have much competition at all.

10-21-2004, 12:58 AM
Okay, lets break it down.

Could you handle 10 orders a day? Assuming you buy your product(s) in bulk, could you take 10 orders, individually package each one, create packaging labels for them, have time to have them all shipped (I imagine you'd just run down to USPS).

Would you have time to order new products? Deal with customer complaints? Deal with chargebacks? Manage questions from customers? Keep updating your website?

10-21-2004, 08:08 AM
I have a few hours of time open each day and would be able to handle that many orders. Now, one thing I don't have is lots of extra room. I'm assuming most people have their own warehouse of sorts?

The main thing I would have problems with is answering any customer phone calls. I'm fairly busying during "working hours" so I would have to answer almost all inquiries via e-mail. Do you think that would be an issue?

10-21-2004, 10:59 AM
It takes time, thats for sure. During Christmas its an all day thing for me.

For me it takes about 5-10 minutes per order, unless it is complicated (a bunch of small items I don't normally need to pack up together, or something really large that needs creative boxing, or something international).

Luckily most of my items, the more popular ones anyways, come in remailer boxes, meaning I just slap a label on them.

Phone calls -- that is difficult. I don't answer all of them, sometimes I just let it ring (or I simply don't hear it). I do tell people that email is the best way. Still, I don't think its that big of a deal. I had plenty of sales even before I put my phone number on the site -- there are a handful of people who don't order online though so by having the phone number I get those orders too.

There hopefully should be no running to the post office. That takes time. UPS picks up my packages (every day, at 3:00 PM), but if you used the postal service you could have them pick up packages too.

The hard part is not the amount of work, though it does take more work than any of my other sites. The hard part is that work must be done every business day or customers have delayed delivery. Meaning you can't really take a day off.

There are those who only ship a couple days a week, but one of the selling points for my site is the fast same-day shipping and I want to keep that competitive advantage.

10-21-2004, 01:43 PM
Why are international orders more complicated?

10-21-2004, 02:14 PM
Weight and dimensions are more of an issue. Sometimes you box an order up and then realize it won't work so you have to rebox it. Also you need to fill out an invoice in triplicate.

10-22-2004, 10:50 AM
my mum runs an e commerce site and she generally has a mad rush in the morning checking orders and packing them then she has the internet on for any oreders throughout the day but shes not that busy, as for the phone calls she averages about 1 a day if that

10-22-2004, 12:57 PM
what about returns are'nt those a pain in the butt?

10-22-2004, 03:23 PM
Not really, there aren't that many of them.