How to sell online in India
Online selling has emerged as the hottest trend in India. There are unlimited opportunities to sell online in India both part time and full time.
Whether you want to sell on marketplaces like Flipkart and Amazon or to open your online store, this step-by-step guide will help launch your online selling business successfully.
Make your goals clear
Before learning how to sell online in India, you should have a clear vision of why you want to build this business. Identify your goals before you actually get started. Be clear about whether you want to set up a full-time business or you just want to make some extra money.
Most of the successful online sellers did extensive research before starting their e-commerce venture. This is the first and most crucial step you have to take before you sell online in India.
Do research regarding market trends, pricing, competition, online security etc. This will help you avoid costly mistakes after you actually get started.
You must get all the legal registrations done which are essential like GST number( for selling taxable goods), company registration, food license etc. Discuss with your CA about your business plan and seek his advice regarding any registrations required to sell online.
This is highly important to avoid any legal problems in the future. There have been instances where sellers got penalized by tax authorities for violating norms. So take this seriously.
It is often misunderstood by sellers that they can sell taxable goods without GST number because of threshold limit. But, there is no exemption in e-commerce.
IMPORTANT UPDATE JULY 10 , 2018
Economic Times has reported in its article dated 10/7/18 that Indian government is seeking amendments in GST law that ecommerce companies with annual turnover of less than 20 lakh rupees will not be required to get GST number. That is a big relief to small online merchants and especially the beginners who want to sell without GST number.
Good marketplaces like Amazon, Paytm and Flipkart don’t allow merchants to register as a seller without GST number(except for selling non-taxable goods like books etc.).
RELATED (How to sell online in India): Why You Shouldn’t Sell Without TIN
Choosing the right product is another most important and most difficult decision you have to make. Always start with selling products which have low investment and low risk and which you can source locally. You may have to try selling different products before you know which one is generating big sales.
If you are planning to sell products like apparels and electronics, you will need to devise a sound strategy as the competition is the toughest there. Try to find a product which has low competition.
RELATED (How to sell online in India): How To Choose Products To Sell Online
Decide where to sell
Except a reputed brand that needs to have online store as a complement to offline ventures, every newbie should start selling on a good marketplace.
Selling on online marketplaces is a wise decision because there is so much to learn about how this business works. Also, if you sell at a marketplace you don’t have to keep much inventory.
See the list of online marketplaces in India.
Marketplaces may require some documents to be submitted by the sellers. Though most of the required documents are same, some marketplaces may ask for additional documents. You should keep these documents ready for submission:
- GST No.(for selling taxable items)
- Cancelled cheque.
- PAN Card copy.
- GST invoice of Goods purchased in case you you are asked to submit for selling brands.
- Copy of trademark registration certificate (If applicable).
- Images of brand logo (If applicable).
Some marketplaces may ask you to submit brand authorization letter to sell products of selected brands. So, sellers are advised to check with the seller support of particular marketplace(s) they want to sell on about these requirements before listing brands.
Once you learn the tips and tricks and feel confident about how to sell online in India, it’s time to get ready to sell on other marketplaces as well.
There are solutions like Browntape which can help you manage your sales on multiple marketplaces. If you get your ideas right, you can earn in lakhs per month by selling on popular marketplaces.
RELATED (How to sell online in India): How To Sell on Multiple Marketplaces
This does not mean that opening an online store is an unwise decision. Rather, your goal should ultimately be to have your own store to establish your brand, and to keep selling at marketplaces as well.
Technology has made it easier for anyone without much technical knowledge and programming skills to run online store like a pro.
RELATED (How to sell online in India) : Easily Create An Online Store
Requirements to setup online store – How to sell online in India
Choose a good domain name (your web address). There are well reputed registrars where you can purchase a domain name of your choice. GoDaddy is the no.1 place to go.
Unique, catchy and easy to remember domain names can make all the difference as they stay in customers’ minds. Shopify has an amazing tool to help you choose a good name. Just enter the related keyword and it will give you different name ideas and shows the availability of domains for the same in a single click.
This is a software which you need to create your beautiful site, from display to inventory management to checkout. There are two kinds of software:
- SaaS (Software as a Service)
- Open source software
SaaS is a self-hosted solution which offers cutting edge technology. You have to pay a monthly subscription fee and forget about server hosting and security updates as the service provider takes care of these.
Open source software is freely available to all. You can download and use it with more flexibility but you are responsible for the maintenance and security of your website. And, managing your site can be complex as you need to have technical skills.
Elizabeth at WordPress.com compares the difference between self-hosted and open source hosted solution with that of renting an apartment in a complex and buying a house.
SaaS is the best option for startups as it is the easiest and the cost effective way. There are many SaaS platforms in India where you can start your store within minutes. Again, research is required while choosing SaaS, as you need to do comparison between different platforms.
Shopify is so far the world’s leading and highly recommended SAAS platform.
If you use a SaaS platform to sell online in India, you need to connect your domain name there or you can also purchase it directly from the service providers.
If you decide to use open source software WooCommerece, built by WordPress themselves, is the best option.
To build store on WooCommerce, you need a reliable web host. While selecting a web host, money should not be the consideration. Never buy a hosting package just because it is cheaper. You may have to pay a heavy price later as your site is more likely to go down and may face serious security challenges.
DreamHost offers the best manged WooCommerce hosting solution and is officially recommended by WordPress.
Choose a payment gateway
Choose a good payment gateway and integrate in your cool website to accept payments by credit card.
As the chances of fraud in online business are very high, select a payment gateway that provides maximum security. Use a well grounded payment gateway to sell online in India.
Follow online security practices
Though online security threats are increasing everyday, there are many good companies like Norton and Kaspersky that provide security protection for your PC. Make it sure to follow all the security guidelines and install strong anti virus software.
As I have mentioned earlier, if you buy hosting package from a good web host your site will be hosted on secured server but it is always recommended to have additional layer of security.
This is the toughest and most exciting part. You need smart marketing strategies to promote your store.
Stay informed and be on top of the latest news and topics in e-commerce. Having Updated knowledge about new developments is crucial for long-term success.
Some other tips on how to sell online in India
- You can sell on WhatsApp. Read this post about how you can easily start selling on WhatsApp.
- Sell on social media. Start with selling on Facebook and other social media.
- Make a list of used items lying at home which you want to dispose off. You can list used items for auction at ebay. You can also sell these items on OLX and Quikr.
- Internet has made it easy to publish books. If you can write, you can publish and sell your e-book on Amazon kindle publishing or on Instamojo.
Photo via pixabay