Every month we get a handful of clients who want to integrate shopping carts and internet stores on their websites. They're convinced that a fortune can be made by selling vitamins, orthotics, and herbal supplements. The spiel usually goes like this "I've decided to sell these products in my office because I was [talking to a salesperson]/[reading an article] that said I could make thousands of dollars by selling their product on my website and in my office! I want to create a separate section on my website just for these products so that people can buy them."
Getting the pages and the shopping cart software setup is pretty easy and the doctors get increasingly excited. Then, six months later, they either forget entirely about the idea or they get increasingly frustrated that their dreams of wealth and early retirement aren't paying off and they're left with a bunch of unsellable product. After endless hours and dollars, they learn a hard lesson in web marketing and commerce. I'll save you the hours of headache and lost revenue by sharing the lesson before you make the mistake...
Websites Must be Specific
Successful chiropractic websites are laser targeted, they focus exclusively on promoting the chiropractic clinic and getting patients through the doors. Likewise, Wikipedia is successful because it focuses exclusively on creating high quality education content. If Wikipedia tried to sell car stereos, the website would fail miserably. Chiropractors who try to sell supplements are in the same boat for the following reasons:
A. The chiropractor's website isn't designed around selling vitamins and it will rank badly in Google for those searches - which means little or no traffic.
B. The chiropractor can't compete with larger discount websites that sell the same products for less money.
C. Vitamins.com is a more respected source than DrJoeSmith.com for buying supplements. Given the choice between the two, nobody is going to choose the unknown doctor.
D. Chiropractors usually don't have the time or expertise necessary to create and maintain a competitive internet store. They can't compete against full-time web specialists.
Hopefully I've dissuaded you from setting up a ecommerce, saving you from lots of frustration and wasted resources, but if you're still intent on making your fortune in the gold rush of the internet, I highly recommend taking 3-4 months and doing serious homework. Read critical books, talk to a few neutral professionals, listen to the people who have failed, and avoid getting caught up in the overblown excitement and hype.
There's a lot of money to be made online. There's also a lot of money to be made offline. Running a successful ecommerce website is no easier than running a successful chiropractic clinic, in fact, it's even more time consuming. The people who make fortunes online are 100% web savvy, have boundless energy, and they sell a service/product that is entirely unique. You're not going to make a fortune by selling vitamins, herbal supplements, or custom orthotics.