A Complete Guide for Retailers to Selling Online Fast
It has never been easier to sell online. These days, it is easy to develop a simple website using various design templates that popular hosting companies offer. These hosting companies also offer additional value add services that can help market your products and services by offering SEO (Site Engine Optimization) aka search engine friendly site design. There are specialized ecommerce platforms that can help you build an ecommerce website very quickly.
Let us look at the steps involved in getting ready to sell online.
- Market research: doing market research is essential to understand:
a. if the idea is viable
b. if there is a market need for the products that you want to sell
c. Who will buy these products and what will they be willing to pay for them?
d. Who else is selling these products and how tough is the market?
- Write a business plan: a business plan is the foundation of a business. It is a roadmap to plan and run the business.
- Fund the business: a business plan gives us an idea of the amount of money that is required to start your business. If enough funds are not available, one must raise or borrow the funds needed.
- Choice of business location: this has an impact on taxation, legal requirements, and revenue.
- Pick a suitable name and register the business. Keep important particulars needed such as PAN and GST numbers in India, UEN/ACRA numbers in Singapore, business/trade license in UAE, or if it is an individual seller, their identity documentation such as driver’s license, PAN card, handy.
- Identify the channels where you will sell the products (See Fig 1). These can include one or more options such as
a. Seller’s own website: if selling on your own website, get a domain name from a domain registrar such as Godaddy.com, Hostgator.com. A web search will provide the indicative costs to buy a domain name from these domain providers. It might be preferable to use a well-known ecommerce platform such as Shopify, BigCommerce, Prestashop, to build your website since they come with preconfigured tools to add products, images along with payment gateways that are preconfigured for integration with the platform.
b. Sell on marketplaces domestically, marketplaces internationally: if sellers sell on marketplaces whether domestically or internationally, they will have to set up a seller account using one of the plans offered at these marketplaces. The information required to set up an account might vary but the essentials
Fig 1: Sales channels to sell products
7. Decide where you will store the products that will be sold, whether it will be at the seller’s own location or a third-party warehouse (See Fig. 2). One might completely avoid stocking products and instead get it directly delivered to the customer by the vendor who will supply the products in a process that is known in ecommerce as drop shipping.
Fig 2: Storage locations for products
8. Identify the fulfillment partner: Whether you will manage the fulfillment internally or with the use of 3PL players such as DHL, Fedex, UPS, Delhivery.
Fig 3: Fulfillment method.
9. Set up a business bank account and payment processing method to collect payment online. The ecommerce shopping platforms offer pre-integrated tools to set up payment gateways and all you need is an account on one or more of them. You can also setup direct payments using such mechanisms as UPI QR code.
10. Promote your website and products using social media, google ads, Facebook pages.
11. When you sell on multiple sales channels and have many products on sale, you will need a software:
a. to manage the orders received in multiple sales channels and consolidating them.
b. procurement of products.
c. management of inventory in one or more storage locations.
d. fulfillment of orders.
e. managing a catalog of products in various sales channels from a single repository.
f. manage reconciliations of payments from marketplaces.
Fig 4 illustrates the key functions managed within a software.
Fig 4. Software to manage orders and fulfillment.
Vinculum has software solutions for online sellers in the SMB and brands and can help with just online sales from their own website, selling on multiple marketplaces globally and providing a real time integrated view of the overall operations.
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