To start with it’s important to understand what is e-commerce.
E-commerce (electronic commerce) is the buying and selling of goods and services, or the transmitting of funds or data, over an electronic network, primarily the Internet or a web or mobile app or alike. These business transactions take place business-to-business (B2B), business-to-consumer (B2C), consumer-to-consumer (C2C) or consumer-to-business (C2B).
Running an e-commerce business can be fun and profitable, though it certainly comes with its fair share of challenges just like any other business. Overnight success should not be expected and you should carefully evaluate the long term viability before getting started. To maximise your e-commerce business success, it is important that you have your fundamentals in place.
Understanding one’s business model will certainly help you make the most of your solution. Identify if your business model is B2B, B2C, C2B, C2C.
Logically, starting an e-commerce business involves 3 things:
(1) Preparing your brand for online presence
(2) Launching your online store (Sell via own online store)
(3) Sell via online marketplace
1. Preparing your brand for online presence:
- This involves getting your photo shoot, cataloguing, registering with social network, getting domain name, shipping tie ups, documents for various purposes etc.
- This is the most important step, which most people overlook. Correct product description, the right photos, and details lay the foundation for your offering to stand apart.
2. Launching your online Store (Sell via own online store)
- This activity involves uploading products and designing your online store. It also includes identifying your logistics partners, selecting the best payment gateway, and leveraging social networks to create awareness.
- For beginners it would be advisable to avoid reinventing the wheel by developing the e-commerce portal, rather one could launch business with e-commerce SAAS (software as a service) players. These players have a ready engine to fit in your e-commerce requirements with payment gateway, logistics, technical operations and allied activities, by which one can start the online store within 15 days. The best thing is that this is affordable and does not involve investment of huge capital at the initial stage of business. Moreover, this is an ideal solution for non-techies, and is more user-friendly.
- For an established business, that can afford to hire an IT person to manage and run the store; there is the option to develop the solution as per requirement.
- Establishing a store is just a splash in the ocean! One has to promote it to outshine the competition.
3. Sell via Online Marketplace
- You can either launch your own store or list the products over different marketplaces such as ebay, Flipkart, Amazon, Paytm, etc. Although selling via marketplace is the cheapest and fastest way to sell online, yet the terms/commercials differ for everyone.
- Selling via marketplace helps a business to spread the brand across various sections of customers at a very low cost.
- Payment gateway, logistics, marketing, etc is managed by the marketplace.
- Usually marketplaces have their own set of terms and conditions.
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