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is a forum a good idea?


theman

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what does everyone think of adding a forum to a store?

 

i think that it would drive people back to the store (which is a good thing) but maily for the forum and not for the store (bad)

 

would like to hear everyone's thoughts and experiences

 

thanks

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what does everyone think of adding a forum to a store?

 

i think that it would drive people back to the store (which is a good thing) but maily for the forum and not for the store (bad)

 

would like to hear everyone's thoughts and experiences

 

thanks

 

Having worked for a commercial ecommerce solutions provider, I noticed that typically forums associated with a store are good for bumping up some search engine rankings, but generally either fall flat over time or cause a lot more headaches for the store owner.

 

It is hard to maintain a forum for a retail site unless you cater to a very specialized niche market. Additionally, people tend to rant negatively more than rave positively which will inevitably lead to you having to moderate more and more doing damage control and/or deleting posts (which the moment your visitors feel they are being "censored" will only add fuel to the fire). Furthermore, you risk competitors using your forum to pull business, and a host of other odd issues.

 

Keep in mind that this is only my own opinion, but this opinion is based on discussions with and observations of a large number of ecommerce site proprietors. There is a definite set of advantages, but the other end of the equation means at least a lot of added work, and at it's worst some serious detriments.

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Having worked for a commercial ecommerce solutions provider, I noticed that typically forums associated with a store are good for bumping up some search engine rankings, but generally either fall flat over time or cause a lot more headaches for the store owner.

 

It is hard to maintain a forum for a retail site unless you cater to a very specialized niche market. Additionally, people tend to rant negatively more than rave positively which will inevitably lead to you having to moderate more and more doing damage control and/or deleting posts (which the moment your visitors feel they are being "censored" will only add fuel to the fire). Furthermore, you risk competitors using your forum to pull business, and a host of other odd issues.

 

Keep in mind that this is only my own opinion, but this opinion is based on discussions with and observations of a large number of ecommerce site proprietors. There is a definite set of advantages, but the other end of the equation means at least a lot of added work, and at it's worst some serious detriments.

yup i understand what you mean

i run a couple 'niche' sites

Soular Clothing

FS Girls

One is for hip hop clothing and the other is skateboard and snowboards

 

but still debating

 

thanks for your input

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  • 3 weeks later...
yup i understand what you mean

i run a couple 'niche' sites

Soular Clothing

FS Girls

One is for hip hop clothing and the other is skateboard and snowboards

 

but still debating

 

thanks for your input

 

I'm trying to add a forum to my OSC site at the moment -- for my type of product I think the benefits will outweigh the work/risks. :)

 

But, I can't seem to get phpBB to integrate into my store. (I want the forum to show up within the framework of my OSC site, for obvious reasons.) Has anyone done this successfully? Is there another messageboard/forum engine that can do this? (Or an OSC mod even?)

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theman,

I think adding forums on skating and especially hip hop sites is a good idea, but only if there is other content as well. I went to your hip hop site (cause that's my specialty) and saw that you offered clothing and such but if you're going to put up a forum, then you have to give them something else to talk about.

 

Put up some artists interviews, features, articles on what's hot, or even news. They need something to inspire them to post on your forum. The whole purpose of the forums is to keep them coming back to your site and when they're there, hopefully you'll be able to cross sell them some merchandise as well.

 

Find someone to moderate your forums for you so that you can concetrate on your ebusiness. In an active community, finding good moderators is not hard. You'll need them to keep your board free of negative rants and advertising.

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Music Download Store Template

http://www.oscommerce.com/community/contributions,4275

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I used to work for a huge company that does television retail sales as well as ecommerce sales, they use a forum and it has it's good and bad points.

 

1) A lot of people use the forum to gripe and complain

1a) If the grips and complaints are addressed promptly the people are normally happy in the end

 

2) The regular users build relationships with other users

2a) This is good in creating a caring community atmosphere

 

3) The forum must be watched carefully

3a) This requires a lot of time and effort to do

 

4) A forum is a great way to keep your users informed of changes and events

4a) A forum is a great way for bad rumers to get started

 

5) A forum is a good way to state you opinion on issues that involve all your users

5a) A forum is also a good way to open mouth and insert foot

 

These are just my opinions,

Installed Contributions: CCGV, Close Popup, Dynamic Meta Tags, Easy Populate, Froogle Data Feeder, Google Position, Infobox Header Entire Row, Live Support for OSC, PayPal Seal with CC images, Report_m Sales, Shop by Price Revised, SQL Updater, Who's Online Enhancement, Footer, GNA EP Assistant and still going.

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We started the other way around, with a forum for starters and then, about a year after, we opened a webshop. This was not the plan to begin with. The forum was the main plan. But it has turned out good since people from the forums also go to the shop.

 

The community (forum and other stuff) is seperated from the store though.

Simular adress, but different content.

 

Community

sweclimb.com

 

Store

sweclimb.se

 

I can only say good stuff about the combination.

 

Zipper

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  • 4 weeks later...

I think a forum for Purchasing Members Only would be a good idea.

 

It can ONLY be viewed after purchasing a product. Then one has full access.

 

This is excellent for niche product sites that taylor to one specific customer base that all would have similiar questions.

 

Examples:

* software company that has tech support on forums for purchasers only

* ebook download with support on forum for purchasers only

* subscription site that charges monthly fees to access forum.

 

Can I do this? I would be grateful for someone to point me in the right direction.

 

Thanks,

 

Jonathan

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We opened our anime store first, then an anime forum.

 

Many of the forum members are store customers. I think it's funny when someone finds the forum without finding the store and they start asking where they can buy anime.

 

In the beginning, it was a bunch of maintenance to take care of the store and the forum. I waited for a couple of good forum members to come and once there were a couple, I asked them to be moderators. They were very happy to have the responsibility.

 

I still surf around the forum, but I don't have to do much work on it anymore.

 

The real question is, is the forum doing us any good? I feel that we've created a small community. I like being able to say we have a forum in our advertising and links.

 

I think it is good for us.

 

Danny

If I'm giving advice, it is based on what path I would take to fix your problem. My path may be wrong.

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The problem that I see for forums at most stores is -- "nobody uses them". If a store I am considering purchasing from has a forum, I'll take a look at it. If I see 40 or 50 posts total, then my opinion of the website goes down and most likely I'll go to a different one if that's an option.

 

On the other hand, if they have lots of posts and an active board then I consider that a real plus.

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