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Steve Chiotakis: Online shopping's up this year, anywhere from 5 to 10 percent. So it seems like it would be an easy thing to get into. But small startups say it's anything but. From the Marketplace Entrepreneurship Desk at Oregon Public Broadcasting, here's Mitchell Hartman.
Mitchell Hartman: Allison Dorst launched PinksAndGreens.com, an online women's golf store, back in May. It was the dark days of spring.
Allison DORST: There was definitely a hesitation of the economy and being in the golf retail industry, which is luxury goods.
So far, though, sales have been strong and she expects to make a profit next year. But the marketing is expensive: Dorst spends thousands a month to make sure her business comes up in Web searches.
Rieva Lesonsky writes the blog SmallBizDaily.com.
RIEVA LESONSKY: The hardest part right now about being a new startup online retailer is cutting through the clutter. There's so much competition. So how are you going to let people know you exist?
Social networks are a good start. Dorst has 1,400 people on her company's Facebook page.
DORST: It's great because the women can banter back and forth about "what's a good club, what's a good shoe."
But she needs men too -- to buy golf gifts for their wives.
DORST: Because it's been all women buying stuff for themselves.
Teaching men to shop for women online. There's a marketing challenge for the 21st century.
I'm Mitchell Hartman for Marketplace.