How to Start Your E-commerce Business

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The Indian e-commerce industry is on a rapid upward growth trajectory. At its current growth rate, India’s e-commerce market is expected to reach ₹5,121,481m by 2025 One of the reasons for this exponential growth is the growing income and rise in the number of internet users. In2020, India had 448.2 million mobile phone internet users. This number is expected to reach 500.9 million by 2023.

These facts clearly reinforce the fact that if you are making your entry into the e-commerce business, you are making a wise move. However, if you are unsure about how to sell online on any of the e-commerce marketplaces, here is a step-by-step guide for you to start your e-commerce business.
How to Start Your E-commerce Business

1. Get the Basics Right

As is the case with any business, the key to starting a successful e-commerce enterprise is getting the basics right. As an aspiring e-commerce entrepreneur, you must thoroughly research the existing market and ascertain that your offerings stand out. Choosing the right product to sell is of paramount importance, and ideally, you improve your chances of hitting the ground running by offering to sell products that appeal to customers in a highly-competitive market. Once you have studied the market trends, competition, and consumer purchasing patterns, you will be ready to sell to your target group. The idea should be to do better than others did by understanding customer needs and addressing their expectations with personalized offerings. Effective marketing campaigns will further amplify your prospects.

Developing a robust business plan and acquiring all requisite permits, licenses, and authentication identity documents come next. For instance, you will need to choose a business structure that ensures the right balance of legal protections and benefits. This will determine your taxes, your ability to raise money, legal paperwork, and your personal liability. Since e-commerce businesses are mostly home-based, you do not require too many business licenses and permits to start an e-commerce business. However, you must find out the necessary requirements in your area and follow the terms of Shops and Establishment Act.
Get the Basics Right

2. Choose an E-Commerce Marketplace

Once you have taken care of the prerequisites of starting an e-commerce business and have ascertained an operating model, the next step is to acquire a sales channel to start taking orders. You will have to ensure that you position the products that you wish to sell, and in that pursuit, you will have to choose an existing e-commerce marketplace where you can gain an immediate customer base.

E-commerce marketplaces offer more than just a marketplace though. These marketplaces already have millions of users who are browsing for good products, and as a result, the need for immediate capital injection into marketing and sales initiatives is mitigated. This is crucial for new businesses which often face difficulties with funds. As the e-commerce marketplaces come purpose-ready for small- and medium-sized businesses, which are not limited to factories and workshops, but also entrepreneurs functioning from small units, such as their homes or community centers, much of initial costs are saved. No salespersons are required, no advertising costs are involved, and not even warehouses are needed to store the products as production can begin upon receiving an order. As the business grows, the entrepreneur will then need to develop an online store in the form of dedicated websites and social media pages and groups. But, it is essential to note that e-commerce marketplaces lay the bedrock for such expansive initiatives.

Since e-commerce is the base you use to build and develop your online store, it is important to choose the marketplace that fulfils your needs. Besides helping you launch your online store, an e-commerce marketplace also determines the extent to which you can customize your design, add your domain, manage inventory, take and ship orders, and receive payments. If you have made up your mind to become an online seller, you must register on any e-commerce marketplace after carefully considering critical aspects like reach, services offered, popularity, and subscription costs. In order to sell products online through an e-commerce marketplace, you would need to register yourself as an online seller on that marketplace.

It is also important to market your e-commerce business. In order to stand out in the highly competitive market, you can utilize different marketing strategies, such as social media ads, and word-of-mouth for effective marketing. Besides, using these marketing strategies, you will need to ensure that your business website is search engine optimized. You can also take the help of other online marketing tools included within your e-commerce marketplace like e-mail marketing, social media marketing, conversion optimization, exclusive giveaways, referral incentives, and influencer marketing. Once you start your business you can keep a track of the marketing strategies to determine what works best for your e-commerce business.
Choose an E-Commerce Marketplace

3. Create Your Online Store

Once you have chosen the e-commerce marketplace and signed up as an online seller, the next step would be to create your online store. Most easy-to-handle e-commerce marketplaces would just require you to upload your listings, choose the shipping method, and link your bank accounts for payments. However, if you decide to sell from your own website instead of associating with any e-commerce marketplace, the process can be quite complicated. You will need to hire professionals to create and design every element of your online store from scratch.

As the e-commerce industry grows, more and more websites are coming with purpose-oriented templates to save time and cost. In a similar vein, e-commerce marketplaces, such as Amazon, are also offering dedicated services to lessen the burden on new businesses to develop their online stores all on their own. Amazon’s Service Provider Network offers expertise for all things necessary to develop a cutting-edge, easy-to-use, and customer-friendly online store that is customized as per your need.

To attract more customers to your online store, here is what you can do:
  • Ensure that the website design is attractive. Customers will go through multiple stores and they will prefer the one with a modern and aesthetic user interface.
  • Include high-quality product pictures as well as creative but simple videos and tutorials. Your product pictures must be coupled with well-defined accurate product descriptions to communicate effectively about what you are offering them.
  • Besides being attractive, your website design should be user-friendly and search engine optimized. Customers must be able to locate the product they want to buy in a minimum number of clicks. A good website is the one that has minimum clutter, a proper listing of products in shopping categories, effective filters, and comparison capabilities. Your website design needs to be responsive and must provide seamless viewing services across different devices.
  • Provide secure and flexible payment gateways that do not store and misuse any crucial customer data. You can attract more customers if you can solve their payment security concerns.
  • You can also take the help of sales features like free delivery, personalized discounts, freebies, coupons, and various marketing tools to attract more customers to your store.
  • If you convince customers about your credibility you win half of the game. Make sure that you maintain a transparent feedback mechanism. Keep an eye on product reviews and provide all the necessary help and support to your customer.
Create Your Online Store

4. Grow Your Social Media Footprint

In conjunction with your seller page on an e-commerce marketplace and your online store, social media plays a crucial role in growing your e-commerce business. In today’s digital age, more and more customers are evolving their tastes and preferences as per trends that are widely being shaped by social media interactions and exchanges. Social media communications often influence buyer choices en masse, and it is therefore only necessary to optimize social media to augment sales of your products.

There is a twofold benefit of using social media to expand your business: firstly, social media communications offer vital insights on prospective customers’ choices and buying habits. With the help of new-age technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), products can be pushed for sales. Secondly, social media offers the great opportunity of promoting your products – by directly advertising them or by redirecting prospective buyers from your social media page to your online store and e-commerce seller page. Your social media page works as a ready catalog that customers can choose from and make purchases immediately on your website or e-commerce page.
Grow Your Social Media Footprint

5. Store and Manage your Inventory Smartly

Storage and inventory management is another vital aspect of the e-commerce business. You have to create a steady pipeline of your products for seamless delivery without running the risk of production delays or being left too much to store. Storage can be made easier by intelligently speculating order volumes and preventing both overstocking and understocking. Flawed inventory management can lead to loss and damage of stock, loss of reputation, and high inventory costs. Software-based processes are emerging as crucial tools to enable seamless supply chain management and inventory management.

6. Identify Packaging and Delivery Model For Your Business

Every seller while selling their product online can either provide their products to the e-commerce marketplace to manage end-to-end from storage to packaging and shipping. This would allow the seller to do away with the hassle of storing the product, its packaging, and delivery. The second option would be that you package the product when the order is received, and the e-commerce marketplace would collect it from your registered address and then deliver it to the customer. Another way could be that you manage the thorough process of packaging and delivery on your own.

These methods come with their own set of pros and cons. You must choose an option suitable for your business requirements. Either you or the e-commerce marketplace can regulate the shipping rates marketplace depending upon the shipment method chosen. If you decide to deliver your products yourself, you can determine the areas/regions that you want to receive orders from; where you prefer delivering the orders either the same day, next day, or within a week.

Conclusion

Now that you know everything, you can successfully build your unique e-store. If you want to kick-start with more ease and constant support, start your seller journey with Amazon – India’s most visited shopping destination with 5 lakh sellers. So what are you waiting for? Register now on Amazon.
Disclaimer: This blog is provided on a best-effort basis and suggests ways to enhance your business, and whilst Amazon Seller Services Private Limited ("Amazon") has used reasonable endeavours in compiling the information provided, Amazon provides no assurance as to its accuracy, completeness or usefulness or that such information is error-free. In certain cases, the blog is provided by a third-party seller and is made available on an "as-is" basis. Amazon hereby disclaims any and all liability and assumes no responsibility whatsoever for consequences resulting from use of such information. Information provided may be changed or updated at any time, without any prior notice. You agree to use the information, at your own risk and expressly waive any and all claims, rights of action and/or remedies (under law or otherwise) that you may have against Amazon arising out of or in connection with the use of such information. Any copying, redistribution or republication of the information, or any portion thereof, without prior written consent of Amazon is strictly prohibited.

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