Have you thought about opening your first business through the internet? You are not alone: the growth of e-commerce revenues in India is expected to accelerate in 2021.
Naman Singh Pawar says “This is a market that attracts many start-up entrepreneurs, due to factors such as not having to acquire a commercial point and being able to sell to any customer in the world.”
He further adds “However, you cannot think that having an online store is an easy task: several steps must be followed to open quality e-commerce and, later, to keep it operating.”
Nama Singh Pawar summarized the main tips that these two manuals bring for those who want to open their own virtual store.
Check out the steps shared by Naman Singh to open a virtual store, with the initial cost estimated in each stage:
1 – Planning and management
According to Naman, half of the success of e-commerce is directly related to the fact that the product or service is really good and solves an important problem in the desired market. The other half is related to keeping your online store active and profitable – combining good planning with efficient management.
For your business project, consider the pains and demands of your future industry and define the potential market; validate your initial idea to solve such problems; analyze what your competitors already offer and what challenges they face; note the customer’s purchase journey; define the positioning of your business, including name registration and differentials; and assess what risks you will have to take if you decide to undertake.
2 – Accounting
It is very important to make the correct tax classification of your business since different taxes will be collected depending on it.
If your virtual store sells goods, for example, the main tax levied is the state Tax. If e-commerce is for service provision, the tax to be paid is the municipal tax or any other taxes on services.
Another point to be noted is the tax regime. If the turnover does not exceed as per the govt rules per fiscal year, the entrepreneur can choose to become an individual microentrepreneur.
3 – Choice of platform
The choice of the ideal platform begins with delimiting the company’s intentions and the desired target audience.
It is possible to opt for free and open-source e-commerce solutions or company proprietary code, for example. This can affect the company’s budget, as well as the amount and control of updates made in the online store over the time of operation.
In addition, it is possible to host the e-commerce infrastructure in its own headquarters (“in house”) or in a datacenter. Also choose, in a world where more and more consumers buy on cell phones, or on a website responsive to smartphones or the development of a 100% native app.
The entrepreneur must also decide to integrate or not with some marketplace – a platform that sells products and services of several brands in the same place, allowing a greater comparison on the part of the end customers.
4 – Contents
Content is everything your user will see when they enter your online store. In practice, the content can be divided into “Product content” and “Content for disclosure”
To insert a product on your site, you will need to produce content such as descriptions, technical specifications (fabric, dimensions, etc.), guarantees, short demonstration videos, regulations, validities and purchase values.
Content for disclosure
It is possible to add relevant information in the description of a product and boost sales – for example, say what a garment is for and what other garments it combines with. This relates to marketing work on several fronts, such as organic searches (SEO), content marketing, social media and customer relations.
Finally, be very careful with homemade photos: even if they are cheaper, the tones can be different and the consumer will feel insecure when buying in your e-commerce. If you are going to opt for non-studio photos, take courses in the industry or search for photography tips on the internet.
5 – Fraud and validation
Whoever owns e-commerce needs to be careful on two fronts when it comes to fraud: on the consumer side, you need to prove that your store is serious; on your own side, you need to be prepared for users who scam or attempt to hack your site.
For the consumer, it is possible to purchase some stamps that guarantee the security of e-commerce. An example is SSL: a padlock appears when entering the purchase data, and this shows that the customer’s information will be encrypted.
For the entrepreneur, it is possible to hire anti-fraud tools or have a team dedicated to the topic. Some procedures adopted maybe the shielding of the website, the activation of a “web application firewall” or the hiring of fraudulent purchase probability software.
Remember that the responsibility of fraud always lies with the store owner: even if he delivered the product to the address provided, he will have to return the money if the purchase is proven to be fraudulent. To make data more secure, it is also good to invest in third-party payment methods.
6 – Marketing
In order to convert a customer, it is essential to research your target audience and understand their behaviour when searching for and buying a product or service. Thus, it is possible to make a better investment in traffic acquisition, indexing the most relevant terms and producing specific content (the so-called inbound marketing ). Other points of attention are having good usability of your website and investing in relationships with consumers.
Retention takes care of keeping the customer active within the virtual store, making new purchases. It costs much less than conversion costs – so invest more in keeping your old customers than buying new ones. A good retention tool is to analyze purchase data and suggests new purchases tailored to those habits. Keep a good post-sale, open to feedbacks and effective responses to possible complaints.
7 – Team
To have e-commerce, the entrepreneur must have the knowledge or hire professionals specialized in areas such as customer service, data analysis, design, finance, management, logistics and stocks, marketing and sales and information technology.