Digitization has revolutionized the whole world. Whether making payments, online shopping or pursuing education, everything is possible with a mouse click. Many organizations or companies are shifting business online. The most prominent example is the emergence of the eCommerce sector. E-commerce is also known as electronic commerce. So, whenever anyone is engaged in buying or selling goods or services online, they are involved in e-commerce. This article presents a guide to start an eCommerce business in India, covering necessary steps and FAQs.
Why start an eCommerce business?
The Ecommerce sector is one of the most significant sectors in India. The market size of Ecommerce was $64 billion initially in 2020 but is expected to cross by $200 billion by 2027-28 as shared by India Brand equity foundation. The reason is that, after the pandemic, more and more people prefer online shopping.
Ecommerce is one of the biggest industries expected to usher in the next wave of the Indian economy. According to recent United Nations Conference on Trade and Development studies, the eCommerce sector will rise worldwide from $2.86 trillion to $27 trillion by 2020. All thanks to internet usage and the rising popularity of smartphones. As it is one of the booming sectors, running an eCommerce business can be a great source of income. Other vital reasons to start an eCommerce business are mentioned as follows:
1. Make sales and purchases on your terms
When a person is running a brick-and-mortar store, location is one of the essential things to consider. But to start an eCommerce business, there are no such constraints; through approaching the right digital marketing strategy, one can expand their business across the globe.
Running a traditional store costs more than an eCommerce store concerning inventory, design, etc. To start an eCommerce business, one does not require much investment. However, it is not free. It requires buying a domain name and designing a website but accomplishing all these tasks requires the bare minimum.
3. Get access to a vast customer base
Running an eCommerce business makes entrepreneurs enjoy an enormous customer base. There are so many social media platforms available where one can promote their website on various channels like mobile apps, marketplaces like eBay and Amazon, or on social media channels like Instagram and Facebook.
4. Offer Convenience
Ecommerce platforms offer convenience to both buyers and sellers. One can start an eCommerce business from the comfort of the home. It is operational 24×7. So, one enjoys considerable sales in the eCommerce business compared to traditional stores that are operational for a maximum of 10-12 hours.
5. Personalized customer service
A survey conducted by Epsilon reveals that 80% of customers prefer those who offer them personalized shopping experiences through loyalty programs, promotional offers, customized recommendations, and communications.
6. eCommerce makes a business go global
Traditional stores are limited by geographical area but starting an eCommerce business offers an opportunity of increasing outreach. A person can submit their products and services to their target audience globally. It eliminates all types of linguistic and geographical barriers. Best way to make a business global!
12 Steps to start an eCommerce business in India
Before beginning with the steps, here are some important aspects to keep in mind to start an eCommerce business:
- Pricing and product quality
- Customer engagement
- Data security
- Promoting business through pop-up ads and sites
- Timely delivery of products
There are many benefits associated with running an eCommerce business. The eCommerce reach is more, and listing products is quite simple. To sell products online, two choices are open to each person; one involves listing products on marketplaces, and another involves building a personal eCommerce store. After carefully thinking about these aspects, follow the steps below to start an eCommerce business.
Step 1: Determine niche and products
When planning to start an eCommerce business in India, choosing the right product for the company is the most important thing. When one is selecting a product, keep these factors in mind:
- Is the selected product in demand?
- Is it seasonal or remains all-time in demand?
- Research about the competitors
Apart from the products, it would help to focus on a niche in an eCommerce business. It is a category under which a product falls, as it plays a crucial role in defining a target audience.
Step 2: Conduct market research
To start an eCommerce business in India, begin by researching different business models, top competitors, and trending products. It helps in making a well-thought-out business plan. One should explore finding gaps in the market in which one can work and make their eCommerce brand unique. While doing research, factors that need to be taken care of include:
- Market size
- Market Trends
- Gaps in Financing
- Market Size
Step 3: Create a business plan
Creating a wise e-commerce business plan is the next step to start an eCommerce business. Once a business model has been chosen, the next step involves building the business. Choose a unique name brand and finalize a brand logo. It is essential to beware of the legal and financial consequences of the business entity one is selecting.
The most common business entity forms are limited liability partnership, private limited company, sole proprietorship, and single-person company. Different aspects need to be covered when creating a business plan, such as choosing a payment method, drafting customer service policies, devising a social media strategy, etc. All of them are listed as follows:
Step 4: Choose payment methods
To run a successful eCommerce business, one must select payment methods. One needs to develop a fully functioning online store. Payment methods come in various sizes and shapes. Always choose a payment
To run a successful eCommerce business, one must select payment methods. One needs to develop a fully functioning online store. Payment methods come in various sizes and shapes. Always choose a payment method that fits well with the company’s essence. Some of the most popular eCommerce payment procedures are:
- Credit card/ Debit card- Card payments are one of the most common payment modes available nationally and internationally. It works as a global payment solution on an eCommerce platform. Credit card and debit card payments are considered convenient and safe options. The customer must enter the card number, expiration date, and CVV. Any customer doing online shopping and prefers to do that under budget always chooses debit cards.
- E-Wallet- Another popular payment mode that gives a new shopping experience. E-Wallets are gaining popularity at a breakneck rate. Every eCommerce platform has an option to set an Ewallet option. This e-wallet is usually connected to a bank account. This entire payment process is fast and instant. It is also known as an instant digital payment process.
- Bank Transfer- One of the all-time standard bank transfer processes. It is also known as a fallback payment mechanism. In some eCommerce stores, you find this option also. One of the safest modes of making payments.
- Cash on delivery- If one is starting any eCommerce business in India, it is a must to add this option. Initially, when you start a business, the customer hardly goes with the prepaid order options. So this option minimizes the chances of abandoned cart recovery.
Step 5: Draft a solid social media strategy
One must have a strong online media presence to start an eCommerce business. Draft a solid social media strategy and choose platforms wisely.
- SEO Strategy- It is also known as Search Engine Optimization. The more optimized your eCommerce site, the better it will rank on Google. One of the effective digital marketing strategies to boost traffic and sale on eCommerce platforms. One should know keywords to increase your eCommerce platform.
- Social Media– When planning to start an eCommerce business in India, building a brand’s online presence is a must. Nowadays, we live in a digital era, where anyone buying anything is checking google reviews or product reviews. One can also opt for good influencer marketing strategies to promote your products and services. One can start with publishing links and posting content about products or services that attract their target audiences.
- Promotions- It is also one of the effective digital marketing strategies to follow when starting an eCommerce business in India. It is a significant way of promoting every start-up. One can offer them discounts on first purchases so that customers flock to the newly established eCommerce store.
- Advertisements- Paid advertisements nowadays are very expensive, to widen the reach of a newly established eCommerce store, and sustain high conversion rates. Pay-per-click advertisements are one of the most paid advertising strategies enabling one to compensate each time one clicks on a link. If there is the right integration of the user interface and conversion process, it will get positive results quickly.
Step 6: Customer service
Being an eCommerce company, the logistic organization one chooses should have effective communication channels. Must ensure they are promptly responding to phone calls.
Step 7: Sourcing products
Choosing the right logistic partner is essential to start an eCommerce business in India.
Online business works well on timely delivery of products and services. Selecting the right logistic partner is a must for enjoying consistent and efficient tracking of goods and services. The brand image is dependent mainly on the logistics provider. Factors to consider while choosing the right logistic partner.
Another important thing to consider when selecting a logistics partner is pricing. Always select what fits your budget and deliver products to customers to ensure client loyalty. Choosing the correct supplier for specific products is another critical task when starting an eCommerce business.
Step 8: Freight management
- Always choose a logistics company that specializes in freight management. A logistic company that adapts well to the changing needs of the eCommerce industry. Ensure that the company you select can handle 3PLs efficiently and quickly.
- Technology- Choose a company that makes use of cutting-edge technology for product delivery. Offer always groundbreaking and personalized solutions.
- Scalability- The ideal logistic partner increases the reach of a company. Can manage solutions and services efficiently.
- Costing- Another essential factor to consider while choosing a logistic partner is cost. Always choose what fits with your budgeting and deliver products to the customer ensuring customer loyalty.
Step 9: Find the business name and logo
Whenever one decides to start an eCommerce business in India, the most challenging is naming a store and creating a logo representing that name. One needs to choose a name and logo that catches the eye of the target audience.
There are a couple of platforms that can help one establish their brand. Another vital part is choosing the right eCommerce platform to establish one’s business. The eCommerce platform market is enormous. There are many options available; choosing the one that fits well with one’s nature of business is key. Some of the most popular eCommerce platforms are:
- Shopify plus
- Invent Suit
- Yo! Kart
Step 10: Create an eCommerce website
The next step is to create a working website that customers can access. The key is to offer a user-friendly experience with great service. When one plans to start an eCommerce business, getting in touch with various development companies to build the website is the next important step. While choosing the one, keep in mind all these factors:
- Persona; business goals
- Selected technology partner’s expertise
- The developing partner is equipped with an experienced and skilled team
- Scaling ability
- Brand growth
- Work process
Try to add mascots on the sites that guide users and makes their shopping seamless. It is only possible when one chooses a simple and user-friendly interface.
Step 11: Customizing an eCommerce platform
There are various procedures, technology, and ways of building an eCommerce platform. One is required to understand the requirements and scalability of the business. But before making an eCommerce platform, it is a must to evaluate one’s needs in terms of:
- Domain name
- Hosting Provider
- Designing of eCommerce store
- Obtaining SSLC certificate
- Payment gateways
- Choosing your logistic partner
Step 12: Prepare for the launch
The final step to start an eCommerce business involves taking charge of a couple of essential things, but not thought about enough during the initial stages.
Must have a separate business account
When one is planning to start an eCommerce business in India, it is a must to do GST registrations. It is mandatory to have a GST number for all eCommerce businesses regardless of the sales turnover.
Doing tax registrations
If one. is planning to start an eCommerce business, make sure to have a separate business account for a smooth business operation. Never mix a personal account with a business account. Here are some of the legal formalities for operating an eCommerce business in India:
- Mention the DIN number of the company’s director; one can download the same from Corporate Affairs Websites or by filling DIN application form.
- Ascertain that you own your permanent account number and digital signature certificate.
- Once you download the DIN, get in touch with the Registrar of Companies to inquire about the availability of the company name, it should not be the copyright of any other company.
- Post that, apply for a GST certificate
Start an eCommerce business now!
As the eCommerce industry is booming, building one’s own eCommerce business is a great idea. Make sure to keep all the above-listed steps in mind and follow through.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Is it hard to start an eCommerce business?
Starting an eCommerce business is not very tough because platforms like Shopify enable different brands to go online quickly. However, running a successful eCommerce business requires consistency, hard work, and continuous market research to keep updating your products and services.
What are the 3 types of e-commerce?
The three types of eCommerce include:
1. Business-to-Business: Business-to-business, or b2b, is the procedure of selling online from one business to another. it’s like setting up a wholesale business.
2. Business-to-Consumer: Nowadays, a lot of e-commerce is b2c, as it has become easier for businesses to target specific customers online. Businesses can display their products/services online, and customers can easily order them using their smartphones.
3. Consumer-to-Consumer: Sometimes customers buy many products, don’t know what to do with them, and don’t find the time to return them to the retailer. websites like eBay allow the customer to upload images of the products and sell them online to other customers interested in the same product.
How can I create my own e-commerce?
A business plan is a must if you plan to start an eCommerce business in India. Your mission and vision get clearer with a business plan. Establishing a business plan includes deciding what products to offer, selecting a supplier, choosing a logistics partner, deciding a social media strategy, drafting customer service policies, etc. Warehousing, product storage, the nature of your eCommerce business, and sourcing are some other significant components of building an eCommerce store.
Is it worth getting into eCommerce?
The Ecommerce sector is one of the most significant sectors in India. The market size of Ecommerce was $64 billion initially in 2020 but is expected to cross by $200 billion by 2027-28 as shared by India Brand equity foundation. Hence, it is worth getting into eCommerce, but before you begin consider what products you want to sell or services you want to offer, and conduct thorough market research.
Is e-commerce still profitable in 2023?
Ecommerce is one of the most important industries that will usher in the next phase of the Indian economy. According to recent United Nations Conference on Trade and Development estimates, the global eCommerce sector would grow from $2.86 trillion to $27 trillion by 2020. All thanks to increased internet usage and smartphone popularity. Running an eCommerce business can be a wonderful source of revenue because it is one of the booming industries.