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Time to Reinvent Your E-Commerce Business?

7 signs you need to change your online strategy

The only thing constant about online business is change. Nothing will kill your online sales faster than stagnation.

Keeping your business current is the name of the game. Although this doesn’t mean “chasing rabbits,” or having “bright shiny object syndrome,” you do need to continually re-evaluate what’s working and what’s not.

A business thrives when your market, your products, your marketing and you are all in tune, fresh and relevant. Unfortunately, even the most well intentioned entrepreneurs can let things get stale.

Reinventing your e-commerce business doesn’t mean starting from scratch. It means updating, refreshing and, sometimes, retooling. So how do you know if your online business is ready to be reinvented? Here are seven business and personal signs that it’s time.

7 signs it’s time to reinvent your online business

  1. You’re doing things exactly the way you did six months, a year, two years ago, or longer. Things happen fast on the Internet. That’s one of the things I love about it the most. Every day brings a new tool, technology, strategy, opportunity. Your customers change, the market changes.

    Maybe your marketing is stuck in the last decade. Are you taking advantage of emerging opportunities like Pinterest? If you’re doing business in exactly the same manner year after year, your business is losing ground.

  2. It doesn’t matter what you sell—you have to continually introduce new products to keep up with what people are buying now
  3. What your customers want to buy from you has changed, but your offerings haven’t. Can you imagine going to your favorite store, week after week, and seeing the same products displayed the same way? It wouldn’t take long for you to say, “What’s the point of coming here anymore? Everything is always the same.”

    What new things are you offering your customers? Are you continually bringing exciting products into your product line mix? It doesn’t matter what you sell—you have to continually introduce new products into the marketplace to keep up with what people are buying now.

  4. Your business model isn’t viable. If you’ve read my recent blog post on profiting without passion or purpose, you know I am a firm believer that you can’t be successful in your online business without a passion, purpose or interest. But that doesn’t mean “do what you love and the money will follow.”

    If you love goats and want to build a business selling goat products, but there isn’t a big enough market for goat products, you don’t have a viable business model. If you want to build a business selling common craft project instructions that are widely available for free on the Internet, it’s going to be a tough go.

    And many times your business model and your numbers don’t add up. I had a client who wanted to design, sew and sell her own clothes, online. She also wanted to make a consistent $10,000 a month in her first year with no additional staff. We ran the numbers—she wouldn’t have had enough hours in the week to turn out the inventory required to make that kind of money on her own. Even with staff, she would have been working for free. Passion, interest and optimism are core when you’re running your own business. But a viable business model is a requirement.

  5. Sales are lagging. If your sales are not what they used to be, something has changed. Before things get any worse, you need to find out what the problem is, and figure out a way to solve it by reinventing what your business offers.

    The first place to start is by looking at your product line. What new products have you brought into your product line recently? If the answer is none, it’s time to refresh. Maybe you need to source some new products to sell on Amazon, or build out your existing product line on eBay.

  6. Passion, interest and optimism are core when you’re running your own business. But a viable business model is a requirement
  7. Your niche is declining or has changed. Every niche market ebbs and flows, morphs and changes. This is why it’s so important to stay on top of the trends in your industry. Trends are about people—your customers. Lifestyle changes, demographics, the economy, marketplace changes, they all dictate the trends in your niche.

    What about your niche? What’s really going on in it today? Is it growing, changing or declining? How has it changed? Where does your business fit in?

  8. You haven’t grown, and neither has your business. The person you are when you make your first dollar on the Internet is not the same person you’ll be when you make your first $10,000 or $100,000 or $1 million.

    In fact, it’s impossible for you to remain the same and make more money. If you’re not growing as a person, neither is your online business. That’s why if you haven’t made your first $1,000 yet, you shouldn’t be worried about how you are going to make your million. You’ll grow and change along the way and as you grow, so will your ability to make money.

  9. You’ve lost passion/interest in your business. This one is tricky, because there is a fine line between temporary boredom, or frustration in your business, and a true loss of passion/interest. Of course, there are a whole slew of emotional reasons why we may think we’ve lost passion in our business, but we haven’t, things like fear of failure, fear of success, wanting to “have fun” and not work, reluctance to adhere to a schedule, perfectionism—you name it.

    But don’t kid yourself. You’ll know in your gut if you’ve truly lost passion/interest in the business you’ve been running. Don’t wait until it’s on life support to make changes. It’s a lot easier to sell or reinvent a business when it’s on top.

Catalyst for change

Albert Einstein said, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting different results.”

If it’s time to reinvent your online business, it’s better done sooner than later. There’s no sense in waiting a moment longer to reinvent a business to make it more profitable!

About the author

Lisa Suttora
Lisa Suttora is an internationally known e-commerce expert, internet marketing strategist and veteran trend spotter. As founder and CEO of, Suttora has helped thousands of enterprising entrepreneurs build successful, niche-based online businesses. Since 2004, has provided premier education and a global community for online retailers. To get the latest on hot product niches and trends, subscribe to Suttora's free trend sheet Hot Trend Alerts. Suttora also has a 15-day e-course to help sellers make money on today's eBay. Opinions expressed here may not be shared by The Online Seller and/or its principals.

  • Lisafree

    I was a top rated  power seller on ebay for over 14 years.  The new policies that have been established have forced me to resign from ebay.  When ebay charged me a fee on my shipping,  I knew it was time to leave. 

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