Best Ways to Monetize an Ecommerce Website

Ecommerce websites have always been one of the best ways to make money online. People use them to shop, compare prices, and oftentimes see what new varieties a brand has up its sleeves. Clearly, there’s money to be made, or there wouldn’t be so many online shops out there – so how is it done?

Clearly, the key is to sell products through your site. All you have to do is set up a shop using a software like Shopify, import products through a plugin like Oberlo, and list them for sale. But if you have done that already, and are struggling to expand your revenue, you probably want to find additional ways to monetize your ecommerce website.

Keeping that in mind, we’ve compiled some tips to help you make money through your ecommerce website outside of your current sales.

Here’s what you can do

1. Coach Budding Ecommerce Entrepreneurs  

If you are an expert on a specific niche, you can offer private coaching to new store owners and charge a fee for it. For instance, you can teach them about branding, where to source products from, and the likes. Of course, you don’t have to give out business secrets. Instead, build a course that revolves around the basic steps needed to create a decent online store in a particular niche. If you prefer a more laid-back approach, you can conduct coaching sessions via Skype. This can be an ideal way to support your community and create recurring revenue.

2. Get Paid for Sponsored Content

This tactic is about connecting with publishers and vendors who are willing to pay you for posting their articles or reviewing their products on your website. This can take the shape of editorial pieces, in-depth reviews, video tutorials, and more. Basically, any sort of content that will benefit the publisher/vendor who is willing to pay you for a promotion. However, your ecommerce site needs to have a blog and some authority so that brands get value through your publicity. If it does, think about brands or companies who would benefit from a mention on your website, and then pitch them a few sponsorship ideas to get started.

3. Sell Ad Space

If your site is getting more than 300,000 visits a month, you can also consider selling ads space. This should be even easier to do if you have a large social media following in addition to the monthly traffic you get from search engines. You can opt to feature ads on your sidebar, on the homepage somewhere alongside your products or in pop-ups – there’s a whole range of opportunities.

However, think about your site’s layout first and choose to display ads in a way that that doesn’t interrupt or distort your visitors’ experience. In most instances, these ads would generate revenue on a CPM basis, where you’d get a certain dollar amount for every 1,000 impressions your site generates. However, you can also choose to get paid for CPA (cost per action) where you’ll be compensated for actions like shares, retweets, and the likes. Visit sites like OpenX and DoubleClick to get started.

4. Sell to an Email List

The idea of selling advertising space on your ecommerce site is straightforward, but what about building an email list and monetizing it? The main idea is to capitalize on visitors’ loyalty by showcasing value and then asking them for business.

For example, if you have around 50,000 subscribers who want to receive information about discounts. You send them a newsletter thrice a week. What you can do is put the links of your sponsors in these newsletters. Any sales you make for your sponsors’ product should earn you a commission. The percentage of commission is entirely up to you, but the ballpark figure is around 15-20 percent per sale. And out of one thousand emails, expect at least 5-10 percent of them to be viewed, and 2-5 percent to bring in the desired action (opening of landing pages, clicks on a specific page, redirected traffic, and more).

5. Sell Your Images

Here’s something interesting about ecommerce store; they may not have a lot of new physical goods to get consumers excited about, but they always mostly have new images to share. Wouldn’t it be great if those images can bring in some cash, rather than lying there on social, once viewed and forgotten? Perhaps the pictures you took for your products deserve a place in the cloud. Why should social media audiences be the only ones enjoying that hard effort that you put in? Fortunately, there are a few ways to make money out of those images. Sites like Fotomo allows ecommerce website owners to list images that consumers can buy for a specific price in either digital or physical form. If the purchase is made in a physical form, the printing will be carried out by Fotomo. What’s even better is that it is free to get started on such websites.

6. Consider Affiliate Programs

If you have traffic, you can also give affiliate marketing a try. This works well because you don’t have to keep any inventory. For example, if you run an ecommerce site selling geeky items, you can sign up for ThinkGeek’s affiliate program and sell their products. Every sale will get you a commission. There are also mainstream affiliate networks that work on the same model. A few names include Rakuten, Commission Junction, and Sharesale. They’re free to join, and provide users access to hundreds of affiliate offers. However, make sure you choose the right programs only, and put them up in a way that tempts users to take action. For instance, most ecommerce sites doing affiliate marketing will offer testimonials, in-depth buying guides, and comparison tools. You can also replicate the same strategy to start making money.

Bottom Line

Starting an ecommerce website is easy. However, making money outside of selling goods isn’t. That said, if you’re willing to put in the work, and explore alternative, options, you can get more out of that online footprint.