A growing business before lockdown which has not seen any slowdown in growth even after lockdown is e commerce business. Hence starting an e commerce company right now could be a great idea. Specially, looking at the uncertainty in the present and the future.
So if somebody is thinking of starting a business, then in today’s time, doing e-commerce business or starting an e commerce company can be an excellent decision. The best part of this business is that doing it from home is also possible.
There are many ecommerce business ideas and online ideas that can be started by very little or with no investment.
Starting an e commerce company is cost-effective and straightforward.
If you start an e commerce company from home, you neither have to take any place on rent nor have to pay any deposit. Also no expenses on interiors incur. Suppose you have a business idea that excites you. In that case, you can start from your home by connecting with any of the online marketplaces such as Amazon, Flipkart, eBay, among others.
And how you can start your e commerce company or e-commerce business by connecting with an online marketplace in 10 easy steps, we will know in this blog.
Future of e commerce business in India
Online delivery business or e-commerce has grown very fast in the last few years. According to the Goldman Sachs report, by next year, India’s e-commerce business or online delivery business will be a market of around 100 billion dollars or 75 thousand crores. From this, we can understand how many possibilities are there in this market. And this possibility is for every person who wants to do something. The desire to do something else can be big or small.
So if you want to do something, you have many options. For that, you do not need to set up any factory or make any significant investment. If you want to do something, you can also do it from your home. And the most important thing is that you should not make the mistakes that people do and then regret it when you do this online business. I will tell you in this blog what these mistakes are and how you can avoid them and run a profitable online business.
Decide the budget for your e commerce company
It is essential to decide the budget first.
Because this is your Lakshman Rekha, thus, and it is not advisable to cross it.
The budget is, whatever one can afford. The benefit of deciding the budget is that you see business ideas within your budget. This saves a lot of time.
Because I have seen so many times that first people start looking for business ideas without deciding the budget, and they also like a business idea.
And when they move forward on, they realize that, the particular business is out of their budget. Then they drop that business idea and in this way, they waste their time and many times it is waste of both time and money.
And they have to start the process of finding a new business idea again.
So, if you decide your budget, then you can save both your time and money from being wasted.
Generate business ideas for e commerce company
Every business starts with one business idea or more than one business idea. If you have a business idea, then you can skip this step. Suppose you have home business ideas Or looking for online business ideas. In that case, I can give you some pointers with the help of which you can find a suitable business idea for yourself. The finding is yours. I can only guide you on how to find it.
There are three ways to generate business ideas
1) Take inspiration from existing products
The easiest thing here would be to search for business ideas on google or youtube. There are many keywords, such as online business ideas, home business ideas, business ideas, amazon business ideas, or any other keyword that can help you find a product idea. The results will give many business ideas.
2) Inspiration from hobby and interests
Another work that you can do is that you can shortlist your business ideas related to your interest, hobby, or skills. For example, if you have a good drawing and painting skills, you can sell by painting designs on plain shirts.
3) Variant of the existing product
And the third way is to bring a different variant of an existing product. Like if bamboo bottles have been developed in Tripura now and they are selling a lot
Shortlist all the business ideas that you like and then go to any online marketplace to see the competition of your shortlisted business ideas. Look for the products listed there and their features along with the price. And according to that, you can work on product ideas. Some people make a fundamental mistake in deciding the product without checking the competition.
Finalise the product for e commerce company
Whenever someone thinks of starting a business, then the most critical decision is to do business in which product. And many people make mistakes here. People take their most crucial decision without estimating demand and supply. Some people just read somewhere or hear from people that the demand for a particular product is very high or there will be much demand in the coming time. They make up their mind to start that business.
They do not see that if there is demand, then how much is the supply. If the supply is less than the demand, then it is a good thing, but if the supply is more than the demand, then that product will not sell, and in such a situation, people incur the loss. A point to remember here is that, the entire thing makes sense only when comparison between demand and supply happens. Either of them in isolation does not give the correct picture. When someone takes a business decision without understanding the supply side or demand side then it is not a business decision, but a gamble.
This is a very wrong approach from a business. Ideally, whichever product you choose, short term, medium-term, and long-term, there is a possibility of growth in all three. There should be a gap between demand and supply.
Study competition to identify your niche & decide product differentiation
It is imperative to study the competition and understand its product features. Simultaneously it is also essential to understand the price at which those features are offered. There are certain generic features that a product must-have. Then some product features differentiate one product from another. When we analyse the competing products’ features, we must identify a niche in which competing product is unable to cater. Thus when we design our product, we ensure to include those features that cater to the unserved product niche. When our products have features which competition does not have then, we create a customer base on basis of those features. Simultaneously, we also make a product differentiator within our product category; hence, our product would stand out amongst the brands’ plethora.
Let us understand this with a few examples.
Recently social media went abuzz with a news item about bottles made from bamboos in Tripura. This news generated much interest, and the creators of bamboo bottles got orders from India and abroad alike.
This example tells us that if we make a different product that is unique and ensures that we perform our social responsibilities, that product would have lots of buyers.
Now coming to the next example, a few days back, there was a news item again and social media. This news item talked about a gentleman from Bangalore who developed straws ( used for drinking) from coconut leaves. Even that product generated much interest, and that gentleman got orders nationally and internationally.
Coming to our final example, a few months back again in social media, there was abuzz about an artist from a village in Bihar. This village artist had painted masks (that we wear during a pandemic) in Madhubani style. He got so many orders that the entire village helped in serving those orders.
These examples tell us that if we have a product that is different or we have a product with other features, it will sell.
Decide the brand name for the e commerce company
Having a correct brand name is very important when starting a business. The most common mistake that people make while finalising a brand name is that they try to keep the brand name on the name of their loved ones or on the name of a deity that they worship. This approach is a mistake. In this approach, the brand name does not reflect or identify the product. For example, if somebody is in the business of making masks, then a name like ‘safe masks’ or ‘secure masks’ or ‘safe breathing masks’ would make more sense than Ajay mask or Vijay masks. In case somebody wants to pay tribute to its deity or its loved ones, they can keep the name of their e commerce company on them.
As a company name and a brand name are the two different things, it makes more sense to have a company name to pay tribute or for remembrance.
Once a company name and the brand name get decided, it is essential to finalise on a logo. And once that gets done, the brand name and logo should be registered for copyright, and the company name should get registered with GST. It is needless to say that without a GST number, this business cannot begin. It is also unnecessary to say that to start a business, a pan card and a bank account are also required.
Associate with an online marketplace and build your website
Once the registration process is over, the next step is to associate with the online marketplace like Amazon Flipkart eBay or Myntra. Depending on the product, a marketplace should get decided. Like if somebody wants to deal with refurbished products, then eBay is an excellent place. But if somebody wants to sell food items, then Amazon is a great place. And if somebody wants to deal with fashion, then Myntra Amazon and Flipkart are the right options. So depending on the product, the online marketplace should be chosen. Simultaneously, developing a website could also begin as the orders coming directly give a better margin on the sale.
Decide on warehousing and courier service
After the finalisation of the online marketplace, the next step is to decide on the warehousing of the raw material and the finished product and the most critical part of the delivery of the orders. E commerce companies like Amazon have their warehousing and courier service at certain places. Anyone interested in hiring those services can do so by paying some charges. Otherwise, the e commerce company can keep material at its warehouse and deliver the product through third-party courier service.
Decide product pricing
Now, we come to the most critical part, and that is to decide the price of the product for the MRP of the product. When determining the price, it is essential to keep in mind all the expenses. Like, operational costs and material cost, warehousing expenses, courier charges, the commission charged by the marketplace, and marketing expenses. After adding all the expenses, a reasonable profit margin gets added to arrive at the final price.
Ensure good reviews on the online marketplace
There must be good product reviews from the customers in the beginning. We know that higher the product rating by the customers better is the chance for the product to be sold or bought by another customer. To begin with, ask family, friends acquaintance to purchase the products and leave a review. In this way, you can ensure that when a customer looks at your product, it doesn’t get the feeling that he or she is among the initial customers. Instead, it will give the impression of the product in demand with great reviews. People find it very risky to try the product that does not have reviews at all or do not have sufficient reviews. So it is important to have 30-50 reviews from family friends and acquaintances within the first month itself.
Do marketing in the online marketplace
Most of the online marketplaces have the facility to do paid marketing. This facility should be used mainly in the initial phase so that the maximum people coming on that platform come to know about your product.
One of the significant reasons for even the right products to fail within the first year is that they do not advertise. Hence they have low visibility, and low visibility results in low sales. We know the saying which is, what is seen is what gets sold. As a product price already includes the marketing expenses. So marketing expenses should not dither an e commerce company from marketing its product. We know that more a product gets sold better the ROI (Return On Investment) on the marketing expenses.
In the conclusion we can say that an e commerce company can be started from home without much expenses. Also, if all the steps are followed diligently then the business can turn profitable quickly.
The 10 steps to start a profitable e commerce company from home with minimum investment are
- Decide the Budget
- Generate the Business Ideas
- Finalise the product
- Decide the company and product brand name
- Complete the required registration formalities
- Associate with an online marketplace and build website
- Work on warehousing and courier partners
- Product price
- Good reviews at online marketplace