Stable businesses have more than one source of income. Ideally, the revenue models should be complementary. Still, most shops earn on sales only, which is a big mistake.
In my opinion, we should create additional sources of income at the very beginning. Here are some ideas of how to do that:
The model is slightly risky, but the revenue on advertising in bigger shops can make a significant part of the total revenue. A contextually related advertisement will complement the shop’s content and will be useful for the users in the research stage.
This will help you promote chosen products. You can position selected products on browser search lists, recommended products list, or on the category sites. Unfortunately, the model requires arrangements directly with producers or suppliers.
If you are a strong brand, you can convince chosen producers or suppliers to separate entire sections of their shops for your products only.
Subscriptions and presale.
These are sales but planned in advance. If you manage to convince the user to declare future purchase and settle the payment in advance, your cash flow will only gain.
You can add to the orders being dispatched some related promotional materials. These could be fliers, samples, or other additions. The drawback is that you need to arrange the details of every such promotional campaign with the supplier or producer.
Gift cards and vouchers.
Another type of advance selling. Let your clients pay for future shopping today.1
Paid membership accounts.
Paying for the membership account entitles the client to discounts, free delivery, or other benefits. A great example of this is Amazon Prime.
Online stores have what usually advertising agencies lack – a great logistics and a client database. Together with your advertiser, you can organize competitions. It will be on your behalf to reward the winners and deliver prizes.
In some industries you can charge for providing data. Such data could be the shop’s sale report on a product category – the information is especially valuable for someone who is only entering the business.
Cross selling with your partner stores.
You can earn provisions, promoting transactions between other businesses. For example, if you are a shop with electronics, you can offer discounts on a video software to the clients buying professional cameras.
Insurance, faster delivery, gift wrapping, or shopping in installments – each of these products lets you claim more profit on the order.