With a fast moving world, people hardly find time or the energy after a hard day to roam around the streets to shop the items they want. Though physical shopping might have its own charm, but online shopping has gained momentum and it is here to stay. The e-commerce business opportunities are utilized by business houses that have physical shops too. The e-commerce has revolutionized the way we shop today. One click and we have our favorite product, delivered at our doorstep. If we don’t like it, then it can be returned with no question asked and your money is refunded. All you do is �click’. That is all. No hustle and no scheduled hours. You can shop early morning or you can shop in the middle of the night. It is for you to decide.
Setting up your online store might seem like a lot of hard work. Yes, daunting task indeed it is, but not impossible. It is no rocket science. It is just hard work and smart work and if it is your own business, then you might very well do the hard work. If you are passionate about what you are thinking then there is no looking back. Just go for it. Research hard, think smart and gear yourself up for the plunge. Like all business activities, online e-commerce is also not a smooth sailing journey but it has an experience of its own and you will love selling your product online with greater visibility and wider market presence.
A lot of idea is circulating now days. People are more creative and all sorts of products and services are found online from shoes to jewelry and fashion to groceries and even fresh fruits, meat and vegetables. So what is your product?
If you are new to the e-commerce industry you can very well take help from Store Coach’ e-commerce training course. However, we can delve into the details ourselves a bit and figure out how to set up an online e-commerce store.
1. Product: If you already don’t have a product, then this is perhaps the hardest part to decide. This is your first challenge. You need to identify a need, a gap that is troubling the customers in the existing scenario and try filling that place. You can check forums online to figure out the grievances and visit the online markets to determine the pros and cons of the goods and services available there. Once you have zeroed down on the good or services that you want to sell find your competitors. See, what their USPs are and what is it that is more convenient and different in your services. There are certain other things to consider while you keep researching your product / service.
A. Price: You have to determine the price of your product. You know your competitor’s price. You know your key benefits and features. While creating and procuring your goods you have arrived at your cost. You cannot keep a very low price as this will reduce your rate of return. If your price is high then traffic moves to your competitor. So decide an optimum range at which you can sell the product. Online survey says that a range of $100 – $200 is a comfortable bandwidth for buyers.
B. Cut or Margin: Determine the margin that you would keep for every sale that will happen. Online products and services have a range of 30 – 35 % margin. This is a crucial part of business planning.
C. Local presence: Local presence of your product can help you procure your product locally and hence reduce the input costs for your product and services. This will improve your margin and your ROI.
2. Suppliers: After you have zeroes down on the product and service that you want to sell, you should now scout for your suppliers. Who will give you a great product at a great price? We all are buyers and sellers at the same time. You need to find the manufacturers of your product and do the cost benefit analysis for each one. Be mindful of having multiple suppliers. This is important in order to have a smooth sailing operation with less hassle of supply chain management. You can try Google shopping to help you out with re-sellers of products. To find out your manufacturers or service providers you can use local directories or online directories. Make a list of the suppliers and start contacting them and make a deal with them which are win-win for both the parties. Also, get your licenses, permits and paper works in place required for selling a good in your country. Get yourself acquainted with the tax procedures and tax benefits also. Don’t be ever on the wrong side of the government. One small slip up can actually ruin your business. So get all legal stuff in place.
3. Set up your Website: Creating your website should not be any brainer. There are a lot of easy to use website creating and hosting tool available for online e-commerce. A website’s branding can have a huge impact on the business. Use search engine optimization and popular keywords to drive traffic to your website. If you are a novice then you can also hire a professional to get this stuff done for you. So choose a name, check it availability, host your website and get it up and running. Once you have defined your website, you need an e-commerce cart or shopping cart software. So what does this shopping cart software do? In short, this software will take orders on your site for your product, calculate the tax and shipping implications and will generate notifications for order processing. This e-commerce software will also manage your entire range of products and services and the check out process.
Make your website, easy to find. Try to have a live customer support. This is seen as a sign of good customer care by all online buyers.
4. Merchant Account: Now that you have opened your shop for sale, you need to have an internet online merchant banking account for your transactions to take place. You can buy a merchant account from your bank. This merchant banking should allow the facility of credit card payment. So when you talk to your bank, keep in mind all these transactional issues. Along with this you will also need a payment gateway, which connect your account and the customer’s mode of payment. You can use the popular PayPal as a way of accepting payments. It is cheap and easy.