You picked up your first 6-string as a kid and have never put it down. You may not be a candidate for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, but you could teach anyone a thing or two about electric and acoustic playing. If you've thought that owning your own guitar shop would be the perfect way to put your passion to use, you'll find that opening a new store, online, has never been easier.
Musical instrument retailers are increasingly optimistic as consumers buy items that they delayed purchasing during the recession.
We at 3dcart have spent fifteen years helping our customers grow their online stores, and we've learned a lot. We're excited to help you, too!
1. Martin, Fender... You?
If you're building custom guitars, great, but we'll assume that you're also interested in getting music into the hands of as many people as you can through retailing guitars from well-known designers. What is your favorite guitar brand to play and why? Do you prefer the sweet sound of the acoustic or the rip of the electric? If you can target why you love guitars, it becomes much easier to envision your target audience - your customers.
What about add-ons like picks, cables, amps, strings, and chord-books? Carrying a full line of gear and gig bags could make you a one-stop music shop. However, it's important to know where to draw the line. Just because something could be merchandised with your guitars doesn't mean your customers will want to buy it.
2. Competing with the Big Boxes.
As of 2010, Guitar Center had 21.3% of the retail guitar market, and their share is expected to grow. Big box retailers like Wal-Mart and Best Buy have also gotten into the act, selling guitars on their web pages. How can you compete with such huge bankrolls? By not trying to be them! You don't need, or want, to store and sell page after page of cheap import guitars. Your focus is on the quality, well-known guitar brands because they're the workhorses of the music industry.
You can scour Ebay for inventory, contact the manufacturers directly, or hook up with a dropship partner like Amazon to store your inventory off-site and ship it all for you with a minimum of fuss.
3. I Can Build a Guitar - Not a Website!
We know, and this is why 3dcart exists. Choosing a software platform to create your online guitar shop is just as important as choosing which guitar brands to sell. Do you want the bright colors and edgy graphics of an electric, or the mellow hues and tradition of an acoustic? You can capture that flavor in your web design with the right software partner. You need a software platform that focuses on easy-to-navigate sites, has a wide variety of templates to choose from, and can help you customize the look and feel of your pages to match your brand identity. If your web platform is doing its job, your customers won't even think about it, and that should be your goal.
4. What's All This Stuff About "content?"
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is what drives online sales. Creating high quality content for your website, and about your website, is what drives up "hits" on the major search engines. Having a high SERP (Search Engine Results Page) ranking is the name of the game. The closer to the top of the Google Results Page you are, the more sales you will get. Could you record some basic guitar lessons to put on YouTube? Those videos could then be embedded in your Myspace Page (which has become the social network and marketing hub of the indie music scene), shared on your Facebook, and tweeted to followers world-wide. There's a lot of debate out there about how to create and manage content. Make sure your software partner offers tools to help you integrate high-quality content with "white hat" marketing strategies to ensure your success.