I really hope that you are not the kind the falls into the trap of headlines such as these. Keep in mind the adage that, "if it seems too good to be true, it probably is."
I am prompted to write this post based on a recent press release by the Federal Trade Commission. Apparently there were all these deceptive work-from-home coaching programs that would teach you how to set up ecommerce businesses, and make pots of money.
It is good that this scam was halted, but there will be more. We will always have people who gain from the naiveté of others who think that ecommerce is a get rich quick opportunity.
Did you read my review of those 4 ecommerce books that I recommended in my previous blog post? Here are 4 more to add to that list:
First there is one more book that sounds like it came out of the get-rich-quick factory. It is No Money Down Internet Business by John Lagoudakis. Though the author has a strong record as an affiliate marketer, the book does not do anything for me.
Then there is the highly engaging, How I Made My First Million. The title makes its contents pretty obvious. But the lessons for ecommerce professionals might not be equally obvious.
The third book I am presenting to you is Passive Income for Life by Eric Michael. If you haven't read this book, your first reaction to the title would probably be a groan. That is how I reacted too. But I was pleasantly surprised to find a nice how-to guide about an ecommerce business plan that involves sourcing ultra low priced used goods and selling them on the Amazon marketplace.
Finally, let me close this list with the law text book The Legal Environment Today by Roger LeRoy Miller and Frank B Cross. Though this is an MBA-level textbook, I find that it contains a lot of useful information that every business owner should know; ecommerce business owners being no exception.
So that is the reading list for this time.
Recently I was hired as a consultant by a brick and mortar trading business to help them set up a drop-ship ecommerce business. That encouraged me to look out for a book on Drop Shipping and Ecommerce.
While I was browsing through the bookstore, or should I say Amazon.com, I saw an interesting title that grabbed my attention: Big Ticket Ecommerce. The book promised to talk about the process of selling high priced goods and services online.
Finally, I realized that one of my most popular articles is about using WordPress for ecommerce, but I do not have a follow-on article for that. So, I reviewed a book about using WooCommerce, a WordPress plugin, to create an online store.
Ok, I don't mean that literally. But I am sure that is what the fine folks at GoDaddy are hoping for. News, or should I say rumor, is that GoDaddy is taking the plunge into the business of powering ecommerce stores -- the same business that has witnessed Shopify emerge as a giant.
I will bring you the juicy details as, and if, they emerge. For now, I think that this space just got more interesting. With the large number of domain names registered, and websites hosted, with GoDaddy, they could scale up really fast in the online store-builder business.
There is no doubt that ecommerce has emerged as a major industry. But when one hears that an ecommerce major has crossed sales of $10 billion in a fiscal year, it is time to celebrate. Walmart is that player. A 30% increase in its ecommerce business caused its fiscal 2014 sales to cross the hallowed $10 billion mark. Interestingly, despite this spurt in ecommerce sales, Walmart's overall sales grew only under 2%.
So Facebook bought WhatsApp! For 19 billion dollars! While there is a lot of discussion around the valuation, timing, and rationale of the purchase, I haven't heard anyone talk about the implications on ecommerce. Here's why I think this deal will affect ecommerce, and significantly :
1) WhatsApp has hundreds of millions of active users. And not just any kind of users, but specifically smartphone and tablet users.
2) Smartphone and tablet users represent the fastest growing segment of online buyers.
3) Facebook has revenue pressures.
4) Facebook makes money through advertising, and has shown a strong propensity to be ecommerce friendly.
Now we solve for 'x.'
Of course, we cannot expect any overnight developments as Facebook will first work on integrating WhatsApp into its own messaging infrastructure. But I expect 2014 to see the emergence of a serious new ecommerce platform.
The murmurs are getting shriller. And if we go by the principle of "there is no smoke without fire," it seems like Twitter might soon come up with a slew of measures to encourage ecommerce on its platform.
First it was about hiring Nathan Hubbard. Then it was about allowing American Express to let its cardholders make purchases by tweeting promotional hashtags.
If Twitter turns ecommerce friendly, I for one will rejoice. We already have millions of people congregating on Twitter. If it could enable shopping, Twitter would make a significant dent in the world of ecommerce.
It is widely accepted that we are now seeing the growth of "ecommerce everywhere," as opposed to only on the desktop. That prompted me to review Mobile Commerce 2.0 by Majeed Ahmad.
If you are seeking the inspiration to jump into a life of entrepreneurship, but worry that you do not have enough money to get going, you will love reading The $100 Startup by Chris Guillebeau.
And if you have finally decided to set up your own ecommerce business, The Complete Idiot's Guide to Starting a Web-Based Business by Steve Slaunwhite, will help you ensure that you are not missing out on something really important.
Here's a book on a topic that I did not think I would be reviewing. Million Dollar Websites by Rebecca Murtagh make a strong case to rethink your approach to creating outstanding websites.
I am so overwhelmed with all the positive response I received for the book reviews in December that I am encouraged to review a few more. So, here I am back with my goody-bag, and this time around it contains reviews of:
- Electronic Commerce by Gary Schneider
- Digital Minds: 12 Things Every Business Needs to Know About Digital Marketing by WSI
- E-Commerce Logistics & Fulfillment: Delivering the Goods by Deborah L. Bayles
- Web Analytics 2.0: The Art of Online Accountability and Science of Customer Centricity by Avinash Kaushik
As we stand at the threshold of a new year, what better way to welcome 2014 than to resolve to grow as ecommerce professionals? To that end I am happy to bring you another set of book reviews. As they say, books are the best teachers. Read these, and develop insights into ecommerce:
- The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon
- E-Commerce Operations Management
- E-Commerce Marketing
- How to Quickly Start an Online Business
- Ultimate Guide to Google AdWords
- Selling Online
- Hands Off eCommerce With Fiverr
Have a great New Year.