Launching an e-commerce store

The first thing I worked on is implementing an inventory management system to keep track of my inventory, costing, pricing etc.

For inventory management, I am using a software called AmberPOS.

AmberPOS is a point of sale / inventory management software which integrates with the Interspire Shopping Cart software I’m using on my website.

I’m still working on getting all the inventory sorted out and put up on the website. For now I have about 15-20 items online.

Building Traffic

Besides getting more inventory up online, the next most important aspect of building up the site is to start getting some traffic to it.

There are a number of different things that I have done so far to help with that.
Getting the Site Indexed in Google

Interspire has some pretty cool features for marketing your Ecommerce website online.

The first thing I setup was a Google sitemap feed to let Google know whenever I add or update content to the site.

Luckily, Interspire makes this really simple. You simply click on Marketing > Google XML Sitemap and it shows you the link to your sitemap. If you don’t know how to take it from there, there are step-by-step instructions on how to setup your sitemap in Google Webmaster Tools.

Secondly I also setup a Google Base Product feed. Once again, Interspire makes this really easy. You go to Marketing > Google Base Product Feed and follow the instructions for setting up a Google Product Feed.

This gives Google a live feed of all the products in your store for indexing in their Google Product Search engine.

With a Google sitemap feed and a product feed setup, Google should have no problems indexing my site. Google Product search is still in beta, and I don’t know if it gets any real volume of searches but since it only took a few minutes to setup, any exposure I get from it is better than nothing.

Looking Into Free SEO Traffic

Next I wanted to do some preliminary SEO keyword research to check how competitive the market is for magic stores.

My initial research shows that the more common keywords in this niche are fairly competitive. The major players have fairly highly ranked websites with high Page Rank and domain authority.

To get some traction I will have to go beyond the obvious keywords like and try to optimize for more long-tail keywords.

In the meantime though, I want to start getting some kind of traffic to the site since SEO can often take months before getting any real results.

Luckily, SEO is not the only way to get traffic to a site.

Pay-Per-Click traffic such as AdWords is one way to go, but for now I decided to start with a different source of traffic.

Connecting to the Community

A great, but often overlooked source of traffic is to purchase banner ads on highly targeted Forums and Blogs.

There are a LOT of magicians around the world who hang out on that forum.

So as a starting point, I purchased a small 110×80 banner ad on the forum as a test to see if I can get some traffic to the site.

It’s nothing huge, but since the website gets a fair amount of highly targeted traffic I don’t need a lot of traffic to potentially start generating sales.

Also, since I’m liquidating my inventory at 30-50% off retail prices, I’m hoping the word will spread once a few people check out the site.

I designed the banner to be simple, direct and to more or less fit in with the colors of the forum, while at the same time hopefully grabbing people’s attention.

Before purchasing the banner I took a quick look at the stats to see just how much traffic they get.

They’re averaging around 22,500 unique visitors per month, with just over 136,000 visits per month.

They also offer bigger banner placements as well as other promotional opportunities, but for now I wanted to just start with a small banner and track how much traffic I get from it before committing to something bigger.

Starting small will also give me a chance to get a lot more inventory up on my site.

That’s pretty much all I’ve had time to do on the site for now.

I’ll write more update posts as I make more progress.