Starting an eCommerce business is a continuously growing trend. Since everything is going online, so are the stores. People no longer love to go out and shop for their needs. When everything can be done within a few clicks for the same price, then why waste time and fuel?
According to the stats of Shopify, the eCommerce industry is expected to double by 2023 to more than $6.5 billion nearly.
Image Source: Shopify / eMarketer
So why not jump and grab this opportunity for your products? With the rise in eCommerce players, it is getting easier to manage an online store.
However, there some points to take care of before starting your eCommerce business. Being prepared makes the journey easier.
3 Things To Know Before Starting an ECommerce Business
- Category – the kind of products will you be selling
- Product Catalogue with high-quality images of the products – this will serve as the first impression of your products
- Platform – the marketplace where your target customers are present to buy your products
The category is the industry that you want your products to list. You can even go narrower with your niche depending upon various factors.
In case you are not clear with your niche, choose your eCommerce niche using four easy steps. Since we have already covered that in a dedicated article, let’s know about the next stage of deciding an eCommerce marketplace.
There are two types of platforms to sell your products – pre-established marketplaces and self-hosted eCommerce websites.
Several marketplaces are selling a large range of products from multiple vendors of every category.
If you are confused about the market place for your product, then we are listing a few.
You can sell your artistic work and handicrafts on marketplaces like Craftsvilla, Afday, Etsy, Saffronart, and the India craft house.
If you have apparels as your products then marketplaces like Myntra, Shopclues, LimeRoad, and Koovs are open for you.
For electronic items, we have great options like Amazon, Flipkart, Croma, HomeShop18, Naaptol, and IndiaMart.
Want to sell food online? Zomato, Swiggy, Deliveroo, Faasos, and other food delivery partners will warmly welcome you.
Not just products but you can even deal with real estates. For selling or renting properties, you can use platforms like 99Acres, Magicbricks, Rent Mantra, Gumtree, Flatmates, and others.
Similarly, if you want to rent your property for hospitality, then you have partners like Oyo, Yatra, Airbnb, MMT, GoIbibio, TripAdvisor, and others.
Challenges with pre-established marketplaces:
No doubt it is convenient to list your products and sell on these large eCommerce websites with their branding.
After all, they are managing all the technical aspects for you. These websites don’t easily get hacked, and their security is really strong. You don’t have to work the backend hassle, and you can completely focus on your products and business.
Also, people easily trust when your products are listed on these big websites like Amazon or Flipkart. These tech-giants even handle the marketing for you.
However, there are some challenges.
1] High commissions
Multiple eCommerce platforms have their rates of commission which they charge.
Before even entering any eCommerce platform, it is important to calculate your Returns on Investments (ROI), margins, fees, cancellation charges, shipping charges, and even policies.
We will talk about the policies in the next point but calculate your finances beforehand – research about all the hidden costs and taxes that you would need to pay later.
It’s wrong to blame them as they are making things easier by handling server costs, shipping, and even providing you with an easy dashboard. It depends if these market places are sustainable for your business.
Always check the refund and return policies because sellers often ignore this factor before registering. How a particular platform responds to returns and refunds matters a lot. Who will be bearing the double logistic costs? Will the platform bear some part or will the seller has to take the losses?
Some marketplaces deduct the charges from returned products.
Look for the disputes as well. There are always some unsatisfied customers, so it is important to know how these platforms co-operate with sellers to solve them. These are trivial things to start, but they matter once the business starts growing.
According to the availability of resources, several marketplaces don’t allow you to sell your products in specific areas. Generally, logistics and shipping cause such issues.
Check beforehand if you are allowed to sell your products in your targeted locations to avoid any further inconveniences.
Also, you are not given the data of your customers in almost every marketplace. The reason is that their users are their customers, and sellers are just vendors for them.
These steps are also useful for Amazon and others to avoid stealing consumers from them to your eCommerce store. After all, marketplaces are just acting as middlemen. It’s possible to operate without them.
You even have restrictions on analytics. You cannot track your consumers to retarget or spot them later. If you have a self-hosted eCommerce business, then these controls are with you. You are the owner of your marketplace.
What are self-hosted eCommerce stores? Let’s find out.
Image Source: Unsplash
Self-hosted eCommerce Store
Building an eCommerce store from scratch can get slightly technical. You need to manage shipping, marketing, and even inventories.
But you hold all the control. You don’t have to rely on someone else’s marketing and data.
There are multiple platforms where you can build your eCommerce store and sell it from there. WooCommerce and Shopify are good examples. We will be covering them in our upcoming blog.
You can market your products on your own and create a strong brand for your own business. If you are doubtful about growing your self-hosted store against giants like Amazon, then check out the six ways how your eCommerce website can compete with Amazon.
If you need help with developing and growing your eCommerce business, then we might help you out!