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How to Start an Online Business in India: A Step-by-Step Guide
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How to Start an Online Business in India?

Guess how many people think of starting their online business each year.

Any ideas from your side?

Well, talking about India, it is not exactly possible to evaluate the number of business starting each year.

But one thing you must know is that more than 90% of the businesses started in a particular year fail in that year itself.

And that’s only counting the businesses in India. If we were to count the businesses which start and fail around the globe, then that number must be exceeding sky.

Hence, there is a lot of competition awaiting you. But if you really want your online business to reach certain limits, then you have to face and go through this competition.

The online world is not only about India. The entire globe is now connected.

You have to initially start out by competing large Indian companies, then spread out your word to the global public.

Now the question comes, why 90% of the businesses fail in the first year itself?

This is because of lack of exactly needed innovation. This is what we are going to study in this post.

We are going to dig deep in the process of starting an online business in India, but feel free to jump to the section which might interest you:

Overview

In this post, you are not only going to see those always old ways to start an online business but also you are going to see that how can you scale up your business.

I believe, most of the people are not successful because they don’t think further high.

Now time for some case studies:

According to the Patent Report of Asia 2015-16, India only filed 1423 patents, while South Korea, China, and Japan filed 14600, 29800, and 44200 patents respectively.

Japan is leading on the basis of innovation.

Firstly, you have to be clear about the business idea which you have and how you are going to implement it. So I recommend you to read 100 Online Business Ideas in India.

What is the Scope for Online Businesses in India?

Do you know, the E-Commerce business industry is exploding right now in India. With the advancement in technology, more and more people are evolving with this modern world.

Most of the people now prefer to purchase their essentials online, Not offline.

So that’s why you have to evolve and take the maximum benefit from the opportunity.

But first, I want to get you in front of the most important thing. Now you will study why your customers should be given the number one priority.

Also Read: Job Vs Business – What should you Start with?

Consider Customers First

Consider Consumers First
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First keep all things aside, focus on the needs of people.

If you will focus on solving their problems, they will get converted to customers.

If you are trying hard to sell your product to the person who is not or will not be your customer, then you’re doing it the wrong way.

You have to focus on Niche Marketing which narrows down the people you are targeting to sell your products to.

These kind of people are your real customers and are desperate to buy your products.

And the same goes everywhere, whether it is the online or offline market. You have to sell your specific product to your specific customer at a specific price.

With the ever-increasing social media network in India, which is currently 45 Crores, you will definitely find your targeted customer.

Social Media, in the present world, is the best place to kick-start your initial online business with and grow to great heights.

Now the question comes that how can you find out your initial customers?

Start out by selling your products on big platforms so that you can increase your reputation.

If people will find your product useful and buy it, they will definitely buy products from you next time also.

And the next time, you can direct them to your own site.

But you think it is that simple:

Definitely Not.

You have to sell something unique which no one is selling in the market.

This means that you have to create a product which is trending in the market but is different from others.

Just like Jio when it came to the market in front of big carriers like Airtel, Vodafone, Idea, etc…

It provided the biggest deal which no one was providing. And with time they charged the product which they sold, which was once free.

Now people who had joined their service were involved in the community and had to continue because of stunning deals.

That’s what you have to do. You have to develop a product which is useful and is truly essential for the common public.

I have been selling a ton of products online for a long time now, and I can say I know the right way how to sell my products and services. So that’s why I’m here to make you through the process.

Now I want to ask you a question…

…Are you really prepared to start your business in the E-Commerce Industry?

I would just say that ignore the people who are stopping you from doing so. Have the courage to start!

Know Your Competition

Before starting a business, you must remember to know your competition which you will be going to face.

I would divide the competition into three main parts:

Grass Root Level: This is the level of your online business when you are just starting out. You should have the knowledge about the sellers who are selling the same product which you are going to sell. Dig deep in their sales, what kind of reviews they are getting and every minimal part which you may consider important.

Medium Level: This level is for those people who are making a few thousand bucks a month and are ready to face the next level of competition by starting out as a full-fledged industry. As I told you in the beginning, in this post I will tell you the ways by which you can grow your business exceptionally.

High Level: This level is for those who are doing there business for a quite long time and are ready to establish an industry out of it. Actually, this level doesn’t seem to be for you right now, as you are just starting.

We will discuss more about these levels in other posts. But for now, I will just continue explaining how to examine your competition.

 You have to examine the strength, level, and quality of your competitor. Another aspect of your competitor you should look into is the pricing of his products, the policies he has kept on the product, on which platforms he is selling, in which range he is mainly selling his products.

Keep an eye on his behaviour towards the niche market and also see how much discount he is offering on his products, whether occasional or random.

You have to develop a strategy which can blow away your competition, thus attracting everyone. 

How to Attract People to your Products?

Now here your presentation and easy but attractive catalogue come into play. Since the products are virtual, you have to give every specification, every knowledge, beautiful images to the public for their better understanding.

This really happens to work.

On average the products with no specification listed receive about 40% less purchases than those with proper documentation. Now this becomes very important if you are trying online.

Where to Start Your Online Business

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According to my criterion, if you are at the grass root level, then there are two areas of online businesses you can start today in any niche.

The first one is to sell your products on big platforms which have a very large and diverse audience, like that of Amazon, Flipkart, E-Bay.

The second way is to start with an e-commerce website and sell the products there.

According to me first starting out on big platforms and then gradually shifting towards an online e-commerce store, will be the best way.

They are both different, but you need to get involved in both so as to have the maximum opportunity.

Let me explain the difference between these by giving an example:

Consider two countries, India and Belgium. We know that India is by far the second most populated country in the world, while Belgium is deeply hidden in the list.

So if you had to start out a business, then where would you start it. In India or Belgium?

It is obvious that you are going to select India because of more population. There would be more people to buy products from you directly. Whereas in Belgium, you would be suffering to initially start a business.

Somewhat the same happens when you compare a big E-Commerce website to a personal e-commerce website(started by you).

 We’ll first take a look at Big E-Commerce Platforms and their working.

Giant E-Commerce Websites

Every Niche has its big e-commerce websites, whether it is Tech, Fashion, Home Essentials, Furniture, etc.

And there are other e-commerce websites which possess all the niches, like that of Flipkart and Amazon.

How to Start an Online Business in India?
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Amazon & Flipkart

You have probably heard before, the person who has the audience, everyone follows him/her.

So that’s why I recommend you to start out by selling your products on these websites. They have a large and trustworthy audience, so they will buy your products.

Some key things to remember when selling your products on big platforms:

  • Don’t cheat on the audience. Put real images of the product.
  • Keep the price reasonable. Don’t be greedy.
  • Keep documentation and catalogue (as told you earlier) very beautifully with all information.
  • Listen to the reviews and try to make a better product substantially.

One more thing you must remember is that develop as per the customers. If your customers tell you something to add or remove, then make sure you look into the matter for better user experience with you as a seller.

As a result, people will start trusting you as you respond to them and will buy products from you only.

Every E-Commerce site has a different way of selling products. You must know how to sell the products on Flipkart, how to sell on Amazon, how to sell on E-Bay, how to sell on Snapdeal.

Go through the policies of these sites thoroughly so that you don’t have any problem afterwards.

If you are in the initial days, then consider promoting your business to bring some traffic to that ghost town. If people like the product you are selling, they will definitely share with others.

Shipping and other Mechanism Charges

Now you have to look into the perspective that you want to deliver your products on your own or you want the marketplace, where you are selling the products, to deliver your products.

Most conveniently, sellers in India chose the marketplace to deliver their products. Ideally, the marketplace charges you between Rs 20 to Rs 150 for delivering a product depending upon the size of the item and the place where it has to be delivered.

Starting Your Own E-Commerce Website

I actually like the idea of starting a brand new E-Commerce website for business, but I do not recommend you to initially start with online business on this only.

Start on big E-Commerce carriers so as to have some experience and know the market where you have to sell your product.

After this, you can start with your own E-Commerce website. But starting it is not a very simple task.

First of all, you have to purchase the domain name in the name of your company and a good hosting, then you can start it out on Shopify or WordPress itself.

You can purchase the best shared hosting plan on Bluehost, Siteground or Hostgator. Check the current pricing of domain and hosting here on Bluehost.

Shopify is recommended because it is the largest E-Commerce website hosting platform. You can also start a blog along with it so as to drive traffic to the site.

List the same products on your site as you listed on other E-Commerce sites. You can additionally perform much better in terms of sale on your site as you have the control of its design, colour format and many other things.

You can provide more information regarding the product, review the product by uploading its video.

Other than selling products, you can earn money through advertisements, affiliate marketing and sponsors.

Now the question comes how to drive traffic to the site?

SEO

Here SEO comes into play. SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is a way by which you optimize your page for ranking it higher on the google results.

This ranking depends on many factors. Recently Google published a 200-page document explaining each and every aspect of SEO.

You think it’s a lot!

The most important thing while you consider SEO is writing and publishing the most helpful content than any other content published on the internet. UX is also important.

Using SEO you can rank your pages on Google which brings people whenever they search for a relevant term related to your topic.

The SEO is mainly of two types: On-Page and Off-Page SEO.

The On-Page SEO refers to the ability, UX, integration of the written content. While Off-Page SEO focusses on the aspect of relevancy from other sites.

You can read Neil Patel’s Guide to SEO here.

Social Media Marketing

As I told you in the starting only, Social Media industry is far now the most profitable industry from which you can make a ton of money.

SEO takes a few months to bring in real traffic, but social media is an instant and a short-term way to bring traffic to your site for selling the product.

There are many Social Media networks, some of the popular ones are Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest. There are other tons of these networks which can help you in bringing traffic.

Quora is another way, yet not social media, but has more potential for bringing in traffic for the maximum sale of products.

E-Mail Campaigns

If I tell you that by which way most of the sites make money selling their products, then it must be E-Mailing.

It is although an old way of contacting but is still very effective. People submit their emails to you when you start an email collecting campaign.

Whenever you email people telling about your product in a personalised pitch, they will turn over to your site and the buy the products, if they are your targeted customers.

There are many other ways which can bring a lot of traffic and finally you can convert those visitors to your customers.

Shipping carriers in this sector are only selected by you. You can choose the most recommendable, best serviceable and most reliable shipping carrier for your E-Commerce products to be delivered.

Legal Work for E-Commerce Business

Legal Work for Starting an Online Business in India
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if you want to start your business online, even at home, you require some legal documentation and approvals.

  • The company should be registered as a private or LLP (Limited Liability Protection) to have an ease in making accounts and handling transactions in the name of the business.
  • State’s Sales Tax Department provides with the VAT registration.
  • Now you can open a bank account simply by contacting any bank, but you must make sure that you have the VAT registration done. Opening a bank account is the most important step for any online business to settle transactions.

There are many other additional legal work which I recommend to check out and implement. Check out here on UpWork the legal documents required for starting an E-Commerce Business.

How to Start an Online Business in India: Planning for the Growth

Business Growth
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Now you have come across the most important steps to be followed to start with the industry, now it is the time for you to thing big, reach middle level and high level subsequently.

Develop a goal and a plan for every year, that you will sell a particular amount of products, you will make this much profit.

It is expected that by 2021, the E-Commerce industry will be double to that in 2019. In the country, there is about 119 crore unique penetration of mobile phones in the hand of people, and this is consequently increasing.

The average mobile penetration growth of the mobile phone is around 19%, but in India it is around 90%.

The expenditure on E-Commerce business is very less when compared to setting up a shop in your region. Similarly, sales are higher in this industry.

So you can see a lot of scope to outgrow your competition in this industry, if you do it the right way I told you above in the part.

You can grow internationally and scalability is endless. Now you are all aware about the every aspect of starting an E-Commerce Business. If you want a true and fast success in business, then follow each and every step.

If you want to read more of these type of posts, then enter your email up in the blue bar on the top. 

If you have any inquiry or any suggestion, then comment it in the section below.

Amit Mahajan

Hi there, I'm Amit Mahajan, a sports shop employee turned into one of the biggest Real Estate Agent and now an Online Marketer.

This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. thanks for your great post thanks admin

    1. It’s my job to provide the good content!!

  2. Hey Mystical Hopper,

    Must say Very Informative Article on step by step procedure of starting Online Business In India.

    Just a slight update, VAT Registration was there before, Now all the business need GST Registration.

    Keep up the good work!

    1. Yeah…
      I will make sure to update it. BTW thank you for your regards!!

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