Last week I was reading through an eCommerce forum and came across the question, “What’s the best platform from which to launch an MVP (Minimum Viable Product)?” After seeing two or three replies, I gave a practical answer, to the effect of “Magento is a robust and flexible platform, but for testing the waters and getting out the door quickly, Shopify is the way to go.”
The reality is that this is a much larger question; in this type of situation, you need to research your market and your product. How many SKUs do you have? What type of marketing do you plan to do in the future? What kind of integration to other systems would you like to do? And most importantly, do you have the proper development knowledge and support to grow the site?
What struck me was the other replies in the thread. Out of 15 replies to the OP, 4 were platform recommendations and 1 or 2 were very detailed and highly informative. The remainder of the replies went something like this: “We use both platforms and know how to implement them. Give us a call for help!”
It's understood that it’s the salesperson's job to look for new projects, and you should try to promote your services whenever you can. However, an answer like this on a forum is not very helpful. Most likely the OP is going to be turned off by the ‘sales pitch’ tone of the reply and discount your advice outright. If you’re out there consistently providing helpful guidance and advice, more likely than not your advice will not result in a sale. Keep in mind that there are plenty of folks out there lurking on forums, searching for knowledge or developer or firm to help them out. If they see you consistently posting and providing solid answers, there's a good chance they’ll do some research on you to see if you’re legit.
The way you build credibility as a consultant or service provider is to go out there and share your knowledge as an expert in the field. Not only will this help you grow your business, in these public forums you’ll also be creating quality searchable online content. And in the instance of my forum post, the reply was tweeted out as a hot topic, which gave it further reach.