How to start an online t-shirt business in India ? Start Up Guide – Tips
To start and successfully run a business you need to think like an entrepreneur. If you are planning to enter the online market you’ll need to first gather all the information related to the market, viz. the trends, customer expectations and response, competitors, market growth, return on investment, capital required etc. Without gathering information stepping into the market can amount to foolishness and lead to losses. If you are serious about entering the market then it is vital to know the market first. Prepare yourself accordingly and if you have the caliber of making a mark for yourself go ahead with it. Before starting anything, gather your wits and all the relevant data.
Do your homework
Talk to experts or experienced professionals in the space. If you want to sell t-shirts online, understand the market first. You should know all about it and only if you find it profitable, should you enter it. Take into account the present financial condition of the market, the returns existing sellers are getting on their investments, turnover, gross and net profit ratio etc. Gather all the financials and form a projected balance sheet and profit and loss account. After consulting an expert, hire a chartered accountant to analyze and interpret the financial data you have collected. Arrange all the data and before reaching a decision, analyze it thoroughly.
The clothes market is volatile. Every six months, the existing trend changes. If you don’t have experience of the apparel market, talk to people who have. You can also work for a year in a leading store to get all the market information, viz. suppliers, retailers, profit margin, investment, procurement, taste of customers etc. If you don’t want to work, go ahead and talk to as many people as you can and take down their opinions. There are a variety of t-shirts available in the market. Add those products or varieties that are not easily available and are in demand. For instance, sleeveless t-shirts for boys; the clothes available are either vests or sandoes. Sleeveless or muscle shirts are generally not available at many stores. Add products like these.
Do a survey
Hire a firm to perform a survey for you. Post the survey on the net, radio channels, newspapers and magazines. Add questions related to customers’ preferences, price consideration, availability of clothes, style, their needs etc. The survey should be conducted in all the areas you wish to cater. Gather all the responses and analyze them. Now consider the opinions gathered from the experts or professionals and match them with the feedback received from people. On the basis of these feedbacks and opinions, search the market for existing players. Consult them. Don’t base your calculations on a survey because customers have a fickle mind, which changes every now and then. Take the survey results into account but don’t base your decisions solely on them.
Take care of the finance. Money is the blood of business. Whether its your own capital or borrowed from banks, invest it wisely. Keep some part of the money intact and do not spend it. Keep it for emergencies and unavoidable expenditures. If you have money, your business will live. Think twice before spending. Try to get maximum return out of the expenditure. The online business requires a lot of advertisement and promotion. Invest only on those media, which are cost-effective and in your budget. Do not spend unnecessarily. Keep a steady hand while spending money.
Find and shortlist suppliers
Understand the working of the market, that is, payment terms, credit period, discounts, price hikes, stock management, primary market or hub, procurement, logistics, and every other important aspect. The information will help you in finding appropriate suppliers. For instance, these days people prefer wearing t-shirts with humorous prints. So, all you need to do is find a supplier for plain good quality t-shirts and a person who can print messages or images on these t-shirts. Select a supplier that provides high quality material because you have a name to establish. Deal only in the highest quality product.
Develop a responsive site
Understand the requirements of customers and try to build a website that fulfills it. Online customers are quite impatient. They don’t like waiting. In the era of 4G internet speed, customers do not want to wait even a single second. They want prompt results. Develop a website which is responsive and gives quick results. It should be able to handle traffic irrespective of the number of users, without crashing. The site should work in a glitch free manner and ask for only relevant information. Customers these days do not like entering data again and again. The website should store their data and fetch it as soon as a customer logs in.
The website design should be compatible with all the major Operating systems and devices. It should run flawlessly on mobiles, smartphones, tablets, and every other device. Customers tend to prefer websites, which are compatible with all types of devices. Responsive websites are a little expensive but will fetch a better traffic too.
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In this cut- throat competition, it is the services that will give you the edge over others. Treat customers politely and try to give them smooth services. The procurement and shipping should be timely. The packing must be neat and clean. Use durable packaging material only. Give the customers the best price possible without charging any hidden costs.
You’ll come across situations when your competitors will sell the same products you have at a very low rate, which you won’t be able to sell at. Don’t worry about that and instead give your customers better services or incentives like reward points, discount coupons. Provide a variety of payment options including cash on delivery. But beware, almost 33.33% cash on delivery orders are returned by customers.
Keeping up with variable costs like shipping, advertisement etc. is tough. Take into account all aspects before entering the business. Do not leave any stone unturned. Online business looks all glossy from outside, but is quite challenging.
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