How to start an online business in India

Online retail sector is picking up traction in India, and it’s one sector that is expected to grow manifold in the coming years, with the predicted growth touted to be even more than China and USA. Well, why not? The entire country is now being enticed into moving on to 4G, thanks to telecom giants slugging it out with discounts and freebies.

There are a number of e-commerce companies that have a large customer base. However, there are also a few that aren’t even a few years old. These fledgling companies are steadily trying to make a mark in this highly competitive and dynamic new market. There are stores that exist solely online, and there are stores that have a physical as well as online presence. Starting an online business is not rocket science, and all you need is some dedication and a bit of investment from your end.

Here is what you need to do to open an online store:

Choose a name

First things first. Choosing the name is tricky as it needs to be unique and, at the same time, something that customers can easily remember. As a rule of thumb, the name should be short and easy to spell, and easy to remember.

[su_pullquote align=”right”]The challenge here is in securing the best domain name for your unique online store. [/su_pullquote]

The challenge here is in securing the best domain name for your unique online store. There are a number of online tools that you can take help from to help spawn more ideas and keep track of your existing ones.

Build an online store

Start by building an online store. This is something that you can either venture into yourself or hire professionals for.

A number of ecommerce software solutions are available that you can make use of to build your store. There are solutions for all kinds of e-commerce stores; you’ll need to choose one based on your business objectives and future goals. 

Shopify is one option that offers you good value for money. BigCommerce, Volusion, WooCommerce, Wix, and Weebly are the other options that you can consider.

Here’s a tip – makes sure that your online store is mobile responsive.

Register your company

The process involved in registering your e-commerce business in India is not very different from putting together other companies. You don’t require any special license or registration number in order to run an online business here. If you already have a retail firm or a store in your name, you probably know the registration process.

You can be the sole owner of your store or start the store in partnership with someone. You can even start a Pvt. Ltd company, if you’re ready to deal with compliance and want to raise funds from investors. Whatever be the case, make sure you talk to a qualified chartered accountant before taking a call.

If you want to know, if it’s absolutely necessary to register your online store, then the answer is no. Hundreds of people are opening their online store and they have not really gone through any hassle of specific e-commerce related registration. Considering not all payment gateways can be integrated to your stores unless you are registered, this forms a crucial part of getting started.

Payment gateways

Having a payment gateway allows you to accept online payments in your store. In India, there are payment gateways that require setup costs but have lesser Transaction Deduction Rates (TDRs) and there are gateways without any setup costs but high TDRs.

Ideally you want low TDRs as you scale the volume of business online. The lesser the TDRs, the better. In order to apply to host a payment gateway, you’ll need to submit few documents like ID proof, business registration details, and address proof. The requirements for different payment gateways are different.

Logistics provider

In order to ship your products, you will need to partner with courier services. You either can approach big courier companies offering services pan-India or e-commerce courier partners.

Having a user-friendly website is half the battle won, as that will ensure a pleasant experience for consumers. A strong back-end to the entire website, is the rest of the battle.

Users in the Indian market are well informed and are sticklers for quality of service – if you find yourself starting an online business in India, you have a large, choice-hungry, ruthlessly demanding and competitive market ahead to capture. Good luck!

Featured Image Credit: Printi
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