7 Simple Steps To Start An Ecommerce Business In India
Till date, there are many new e-commerce ventures in India having a huge customer base but not a single one if them are more than 5 years old. For anyone who has a base and is thinking of growing up his business, this is an enough indication to start with. So what all basic ingredients there are to start your e-commerce business in India. The recent years have been the years of E-commerce in India. These were the years when Indians flocked to E-commerce portals to purchase products at steep discounts. It has now become quite fashionable to be a part of the startup crowd.
Many employees now daydream about quitting their jobs and turning into entrepreneurs. With many new ventures mushrooming every day, it has become a highly competitive landscape. The success of a business no longer depends on an idea but rather on how you execute it. A part of this success must be attributed to m-commerce or mobile shopping. Mobile e-commerce is complementing the online retail industry perfectly and India has become the second largest smartphone market after China. The country had a whopping 450 million internet users in 2016, so the potential can be easily recognized.
The popularity of online sites has encouraged many to tap the e-com opportunity. Besides, this is also a great time for the online retail industry. An account on Instagram or Facebook may be all it requires you to start your very own e-commerce venture, thanks to the introduction of e-commerce tools on social media. A range of solutions like are also available to set up your social media shop. Even before Facebook, we had Myspace, Orkut and Friendster. Over a decade, it overtook all of them and has today emerged as the undisputed leader of social networks. The success of Facebook can be attributed to the methodical execution of an idea copied from other companies. Now that you have an idea that you wish to pursue, you can follow the 7 easy steps listed below to launch your online business empire:
Business Plan And Capital
The best way to give shape to your idea is to formulate a business plan. A business plan lists out all the steps required to bring your idea to reality. It provides a rigid framework exploring various possibilities that your idea represents. It also indicates where you will earn your revenue from and what would be the initial setup costs you will incur. A good business plan makes provisions for all possible exigencies. It is also adaptable and can be changed to suit the changing business environment.
Online businesses use various models to generate revenues, some of the most important business models are – Subscription, where users pay an upfront fee to subscribe to your services. The payment is recurring and you can charge the fee every month. Advertising – where you place advertising banners on your website which are in turn rented out to the highest paying advertisers. And Affiliate – where a fixed percentage of the sales is paid as an incentive to those who refer customers to your website.
Concurrently you also need to conduct research on the demography that you are targeting. You must gain insights into who your potential clients are and how much they are spending online. Capital is like the blood of an organization. You need the right amount of capital to expand and grow your organization. With too little capital you will end up with stunted growth. With excess capital at your disposal, your organization will incur wasteful expenditure on frivolous purchases and marketing campaigns. It is thus important to raise the right amount of capital.
Name And Build Your Store
Foremost thing is, the name you give to your store. And even important thing is – it has to be remember-able. Secondly, you need to set up a website so you need a domain which means memorable is fine but unique is also important. The rule is, it needs to be short, easily spell-able and re-callable without any mistake. Take for instance names like Ola, Uber and Oyo. The list is neverending. All you need is something simple but with a ‘.com’ domain.
Now you know the name of your store. What next? The next step is to find a professional to build your web store. This is the tricky, most confusing and the most crucial part. With the cropping of many online e-commerce platforms in India that provide you with a website on a monthly subscription basis, people tend to go more for this option. Consequently, you do not need to join the rat race, rather look around and try to find avenues that can deliver you a professionally built website at low cost.
Secured Payment Gateway
So now that you are registered, you need a payment gateway. There are two types of payment gateways in India: Payment gateways with no setup fees for example PayPal. And payment gateways with setup fees for example ccavenue. You need to submit a few documents like ID proofs, phone bills etc. for applying the payment gateway. This includes address verification. The whole process takes 10-15 working days for completion.
You will need to accept payments through debit cards, net banking and credit cards on your website. PayPal is a digital wallet which can be used to accept payments from International customers. To collect money from domestic buyers living in India you will need to sign up with a domestic payment gateway such as CcAvenue or Bill Desk. There are a few basic types of payment gateways available for e-commerce businesses in the country. Compare the various gateways available and choose one which suits your business structure and revenues. Payment gateways integrated with a local bank are easy to adopt and a more viable option for smaller businesses. Hosted payment gateways like PayPal Standard or Self/Pro hosted gateways like PayU Money are usually easy to implement and the seamless transactions add to a great customer experience. Non-hosted payment gateways or API gateways like Authorize.net are not redirected to a different webpage or server to complete a purchase.
Plan Out Logistics
For this, you can contact your local courier service provider like bluedart, fedex, aramex etc. These services have pan india network and the service provided by them is top-notch. Take quotes from all the possible vendors, compare the rates before coming to a conclusion. You can use your own website address (domain) to build a brand and establish yourself as a reputed retailer. Several online marketplaces enable individuals and companies to sell products using their platforms.If you have digital products such as e-books, songs and videos to sell, there are online services that allow you to sell directly to your existing customers or followers using your existing platforms-websites, blogs and even social media websites.
Delivering the product to your customer on time is a big challenge for virtual stores. Though online stores can use courier companies for delivering their product to customers, there are specialist companies that handle logistics and product delivery for e-commerce. Using such specialist logistics providers means you can also use their services to offer cash on delivery, which is a preferred payment mode in India, as well as collect the product from customers in case of returns. However, using private courier and logistics companies has one major limitation-reach. Most of these would be unable to deliver products to small cities and villages. The country’s postal service is also being used by some online stores.
SEO And Digital Marketing
Your business will be heading for trouble if you do not implement SEO techniques and strategy across your website. Make sure you optimize every product and section names to help them turn up organically on search engines. Organic searches are one of the driving forces of sales. Take care to use keywords based on trending searches by customers. Hiring an expert to do this job is always advisable since SEO requires dedicated and skilled resources. Your business must track audience behaviour on search engines to understand audience demands better. You can procure products which you know will sell and also use tags so consumers can discover them easily.
Every third person in India is coming online every second for one reason or the another. Marketing your product where people are looking is the best way to make people know about your online store. This can be done either by paid marketing like Facebook Ads, Google display ads and other web based advertisements. In order to create a base of audience, you can go for SEO and Social Media Marketing in India. Hiring a professional for this would help you achieve better results in lesser time.
Testing And Launch
Before going for a public launch it is always advisable to launch it among a small group of dedicated users. This is called beta testing in which select members of the public are allowed to test your product and services. During the beta phase you can identify any deficiencies in your offering and rectify them. You can also ask early adopters for suggestions which can be incorporated into the final product. Chart out an elaborate launch plan and network with bloggers to review your services. You can also issue press releases to media outlets for publication.
You absolutely must go social in this era since a major chunk of any business’ audience is on social media and can be easily targeted. A recurring presence on social media can build you a brand presence, a strong audience base, and continuous growth in sales. Monitor social conversations and searches related to your business and make an attempt to adopt the emerging demands.
Integrate your website with a shop on social media channels to create additional channels for sales. Communicating with your customers is integral and social media is a great platform for that. Address grievances, accept suggestions and offer support to your customers whenever possible. Businesses which engage regularly on social media are known to have an enormous and trust base of consumers.