How to start eCommerce business in India
The development of technology is right in front of our eyes. But, as the technology has developed we have also realized that eCommerce is also picking up the pace. Every day millions of people indulge in ecommerce activities. Apart from technology, the trend and lifestyle have forced people to buy products through the internet. Thus, one of the best business ideas these days would be to start ecommerce business. Unfortunately, most of the people do not know the procedure to start ecommerce business. Through this article, you will be able to learn the ways to start ecommerce business in India.
Setting Up the Business
The first step you need to do for your e-commerce business is to set it up. You can do it in two ways; building an own e-commerce website or joining an established e-commerce marketplace. Building authority for your online store is quite difficult than a partnering with a marketplace. When you start your own website, you need to take care of everything right from domain purchase to website development. On the other hand, in a marketplace, all you need to do is have some money to purchase their package. The rest is taken care by the marketplace.
Why to Start an eCommerce Business in India?
The affinity towards online commerce and high economic development in India has opened new corridors for business opportunities. We are talking about a wide audience who are actively looking for products in the digital world. Most millennials have the habit of closely monitoring multiple online stores similar to Amazon, Flipkart, Snapdeal, etc, keenly looking out to snatch a lucrative offer.
Okay, It’s time I put myself in your shoes.
Digital commerce has significantly influenced how a brand interacts with people. The radical transformation has shaken the retail industry, influencing customers who are positioned on multiple stages on the buyer’s journey. The digital penetration has opened a new world where information is made available to anyone and anywhere. The whole world is connected with digital prints. The digital world demands business entities to reflect a virtual presence.
In short, if your customers can’t find your presence online then there exists a high chance for you as a business to lose sales opportunities.
As a business entity its important that you position your brand proposition among people and make sure that your establishment is kept close to them. So when in need they could just reach out to you with a single click.
Have A Strong Business Idea
To start an eCommerce business in India you need to have a strong idea of what you are planning to achieve. Not all business opportunities are profitable. As an entrepreneur planning to take up a new venture, you need to make sure that the priorities are set straight. Money is what motivates you then you need to make sure that you will spend enough time to find a niche which will help achieve the task at hand.
Put your priorities straight
Let’s say that you are passionate to address the social causes that engulf our society. Your compassion to educate and uplift the society motivates you to start an online store that helps and support the people. As a start, you decide to address the increasing air-pollution and plans to invest in products that help fight air pollution. Starting off with anti pollution masks.
The idea to sell anti-pollution mask is great at the same time you need to understand the market feasibility of such products. If you are planning to penetrate metropolitan cities in India then it’s better you have the data to back you up.
Let’s start by asking the below questions;
- What’s the market feasibility of your product?
- Is the concept at an early stage?
- How do you expect the market to respond to your business idea?
- What target segments have you found? Do you think that there is a need for the products among target customers?
You are in an entrepreneurial journey seeking success. If your business model is more incline to the idea of making money online then its important that you find a profitable niche.
Don’t jump in and take what’s thrown at you
A clear understanding of what, how, and why is important. As Simon Oliver Sinek (author, consultant, and motivational speaker) mentioned the why is important. Understanding the why will help you realise hidden opportunities and your customers. It’s better if you keep yourself informed.
- Why I should start an apparel store?
- Why I should be better than my competitors?
- Why people should buy form me?
- Why 50% of my customers fail to revisit my online outlet?
So goes the why?
Registering Your Company
When you start your own website, you need to register your company. As for any business to smoothly operate within the limits set by the authority its important that you comply with the set rules and regulations. So, when you start an eCommerce business in India make sure that the establishment is registered and operates within the set guidelines. The reason is that only when your LLP is registered, you can open a bank account for your company. Also, only then you will be able to easily get your GST documents. On the other hand, when you sell products on the marketplace, you do not require such legalities. You can sell directly, but you do not get protection towards litigation.
Once you are done with the company registration, you need to register for GST and other tax norms. This is essential for all the business owners, be it the one who starts their own website or a marketplace.
Once all the tax registrations are done, you need to open a bank account of your business name that you have online.
Once all the legalities are done, you need to ensure that you have a payment gateway embedded in your website. It is very essential so that the customers can pay for the products directly from the payment gateway. The payments made through the gateway would directly get credited in your bank account.
When you plan to start a business through a marketplace, you need not worry about the payment gateway. You would get all those with the subscription.
Market Research! Is It a Pre-requisite for Ecommerce
Why do you think companies invest huge resource for market research?
Obviously, the activity should add value to the business entity. A thorough market research will help an establishment to gather in-depth insights regarding the industry which it operates. Identify the product demand and market opportunities. Analyse the competitors. Gasp the in industry trends. etc.
As a newbie e-commerce entrepreneur, your exposure to the industry will often be limited. The whole world of online commerce itself could overwhelm you. So, it’s obligatory that you do a thorough market research.
Let’s consider an example. You just planned to start an online apparel store.
In the initial stage as a newbie, you may restrict yourself to 3 factors. The need to find a vendor, an online store, and a huge market to cater.
In reality, there is more to it.
- What you need is a reliable vendor
- High quality apparel products
- A robust platform that offers seamless customer experience
- A logistics partner
- A team to outsmart the competition and promote your products
The list goes on.
Performing a market research will help you find strategic and tactical advantages. Even in the process you will be able to build some strong relationship with people who interact/ engage with the same industry.
A Custom Build Platform Vs A Pre-Built Platform
When comes to setting up an online store, an entrepreneur you will be bombarded with multiple options. The first and foremost will be to decide whether to start with a pre-built platform provider or to hire a web developer/ agency to create your custom store. Most entrepreneurs make a quick decision, letting the newbie instinct to kick in and invest huge sums in setting up an online store. Not even exploring the options available.
Leading an entrepreneurial life means that you will be making a lot of mistakes, it doesn’t mean that you need to make one such as this.
Understand the Ecommerce Requirement
Sit down with your team and create a business model. There is no point in leaving a grey area. On priority, you need to consider the importance of understanding the requirement of your online store.
How could you operate an eCommerce business if you are not aware of the requirements?
Few question that you need to ask;
- How many products am I planning to list on my online store?
- What is my total budget? How much percentage can in invest for the platform?
- What market segment should I start with?
- Is there a need for a custom platform or a pre built platform will suffice the need?
- Do I have the budget to maintain a dedicated resource to handle the web development part?
Why Choose Pre- built Platform to Start Ecommerce Business in India
Pre-built ecommerce solution providers are a set of themes/ templates created by business entities to meet the needs of a specific market. These platforms are created with a customer centric approach, allowing any layman with the least knowledge on digital technologies could set up an online store with ease.
There are a lot of eCommerce platform providers out there that gives you an opportunity to start an ecommerce business with ease. Shopnix is one such e-commerce platform provider that enables you to start an online journey. One small signup with Shopnix and you will get an opportunity to own a trial store on the platform. The trial period gives you an opportunity to fiddle around and experience the platform.
Book A Domain Name for your Online Store
Every business that plans to venture into the virtual world and root a digital identity should have their own domain name. Your domain name could be the digital identity. When planning to start an online business this is one key feature that you need to look into. When selecting the domain name there are a few criteria’s that you need to look into.
- Select a domain after considering the relevancy of your business
- Find a domain name prior to registering the business (That way you could make sure that a domain name for the registered business name is made available)
- Select an easy to remember domain name
- Better makes sure that no special characters are used in the domain name
- Select the domain name based on the target location (if you are only planning to cater the needs of a specific country then its better you look into country level to domains eg: .in, .fr, .ru, etc.
Have the Right Design for your Ecommerce Store
Most entrepreneurs fail to consider the importance of customising their online store to meet the expectation of customers.
It’s pretty serious an issue when you fail to optimize the digital store to meet the demands of your online customers. That too most entrepreneurs fail to fathom the fact that upfront they incentive the traffic. Your online stores is a speciality store that sells Kanjivaram sarees then make sure that your website is designed to reflect the same message. Upon visiting the e-commerce store the customer should not think that the business tricked them to visit an online store that ells ordinary sarees.
An average visitor will spend around 7-10 seconds on the website before making a decision whether to move to the next page or to exit. Don’t perplex/ confuse the customer. Give them a reason to stay on the website and explore more of the options available.
Starting an Ecommerce Business is Just the Threshold
By now you would have got the idea that starting an online business is just one step. With the increasing demand for online commerce a lot of e-commerce stores started to sprout. Starting an online business doesn’t guarantee success. With cut-throat competition, only a few are able to taste success.
One key factor that determines the success of your online business is how you frame and implement your e-commerce marketing strategies.
Active promotion is required to commercialise a business model.
Let me list down few eCommerce strategies to promote your business
- SEO (Search Engine Optimization) – Optimise your online store to meet the guidelines set by Google
- Social Media Marketing – Find the right social platform where you customers engage the most and build meaningful relationship with them.
- Paid Campaigns – Find the right matrix that most possibly increases your online conversion
- Influencer Marketing – Partner with right influencer’s and promote your products among target customers
- Push Marketing – Email, WhatsApp, SMS
An online shopping portal is incomplete without a shipping solution. Once the order is placed you need to also ship it to the customers. Without a reliable shipping partner, you would find it very easy to ship all the products to the customers. Moreover, you should also ensure that the shipping partner charges you with a reasonable price to ship the products. Customers would not be ready to purchase any products if the shipping charges are too high. However, for people who want to start the business through a marketplace, shipping would not be a problem. The marketplace would take care of all these by themselves.
Now that you know what to do, what are you waiting for? Be quick and start working on your online store now.