Mastering Online Business

MOB #10: What to Look for in a Company (Merchant) to Work With

These can have a significant impact on the ease, success and longevity of your efforts. You are going to be relying on these merchants so make sure they measure up!

Here are the criteria for merchant selection:

  • Well established and positioned
  • Good reputation with testimonials displayed on their site
  • Reliable
  • Professional site
  • High conversion of prospects to customers
  • Quality service (or product if a consumable)
  • Very good customer support, 24/7 availability and a phone number to call
  • High client retention
  • Large enough to handle substantial growth
  • Competitive advantage OTHER THAN PRICE

This last one is the most important to minimize your risk from factors that are beyond the control of your merchant and you.

If the merchant you represent has price as their sole competitive advantage, they are at substantial risk of anyone that chooses to under-cut them and take all their clients. They need to have other competitive advantages that will make it difficult if not impossible for their market position to be taken away.

The other thing to watch out for is marketing products or services that are based solely on a specific technology, unless that technology is well protected by patents or other means. On the internet and in our age of technology, things change fast. You are looking for long term stability, so stick with things that are likely to stay around.

Some of the other potential hazards to be on-guard for are such things as AdSense. This is a system that is under the sole control of Google, who could change all the rules at any time without any warning to anyone. A short time ago, one guy walked away from his AdSense business that was generating over $400,000 a year because he saw the potential risk here. The merchant needs to be reliable for you and their clients.

Anytime you’re looking at a company that can (and does) change the rules fairly regularly, like Google, approach with caution. At least don’t bet your livelihood on it.

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