Ecommerce entrepreneurs frequently earn their profits in small margins, where slight competitive advantages can be the difference between flourishing and floundering.
Gaining a competitive advantage can be as simple as trying a new marketing tactic, making a subtle adjustment to your website, or operating more effectively. The ideas that grow into advantages are often planted at conferences, during webinars, or reading a white paper or case study. For this reason, it is a beneficial to occasionally get a glimpse at some of the ideas (or the seeds of ideas) that are circulating in the ecommerce and business community.
In this article, I’ve put together a list of twelve useful resources to help you find inspiration for growing your business. None of these is a panacea, but one or more may offer ideas that will improve your business.
12 Ecommerce Resources
- “Ecommerce and the Market Structure of Retail Industries,” PDF download by the American Economic Association. Know how your business is impacting the retail markets. Who really benefits when more consumers shop online.
- “Ecommerce Know-How: Seven Steps to Starting Your eBusiness in a Recession,” in Practical eCommerce. “A recession is simply a reduction of a nation’s gross domestic product…not a cessation of commerce.”
- “The Professional’s Guide to Link Building,” by SEOmoz. One of the best SEO guides I’ve found, this SEOmoz ebook is one of the few items I listed that isn’t free. But if you are planning an internal linking strategy for your store, you should invest the $39.00.
- “Beginner’s Guide to Search Engine Optimization,” by SEOmoz. Although this resource is now more than three years old, it still offers an excellent overview of SEO.
- “PageRank: What Is It? And How Do You Calculate It?,” in Practical eCommerce. I may be guilty of a little self-promotion here, but it is a very good overview of Google’s PageRank.
- “Google’s SEO Starter Guide,” by Google. Not as robust as I would have liked, this free guide offers good basic information about Google and how it views SEO.
- “Optimal Search Engine Marketing Strategy,” by M. E. Sharpe. Put your thinking cap on.
- “SEO: Estimating Sales Potential from Keywords and Phrases,” in Practical eCommerce. Time to change your perception about SEO, get the skinny on what you can really expect.
- “Ecommerce Know-How: Information Architecture to Improve SEO and Usability,” in Practical eCommerce. Combining information architecture and SEO generates good results.
- MailChimp’s free “Email Marketing Guide”. This 65-page electronic tome covers topics like how email works, designing and coding emails, and measuring performance. While some of the material is dated (i.e. suggesting that one use table-based layouts which I believe is no longer the best practice), it is still foundational material worth your time.
- “Look Beyond Money, Build Customer Value,” PDF download by eROI. According to eROI, “Many clients do not have a sense of how loyal or engaged their customers are.” This guide encourages you to show your customer that they matter and demonstrate that you care about them.
- Case Study: “Wacom: Power of the Pens, Building Community,”, by eROI. Another eROI resource this case study discusses Wacom’s success. “At the end of the 14 day campaign, over 61,000 unique visitors from all over the world had come to the site.”