How to Start Online Business in India – A Step by Step Guide

Wondering how to start online business in India? This blog is for you.

Online Business is growing rapidly in India. In recent years India has witnessed a huge surge in the number of people using the internet. India is one of the biggest smartphone markets, thanks to faster & cheaper internet.

Due to the smartphone revolution, the number of people using the internet has increased considerably. There are around 65 crore Indians using Mobile Phones & nearly 30 crores of them are using smartphones according to a recent survey by Counterpoint Research.

This has opened new avenues to entrepreneurs in the form of Online Business. The number of online stores is growing every day. A lot of online stores are on the way to be rolled out & countless are in the planning stage.

Online business is attracting a lot of wannabe entrepreneurs for sure however a lot of people are still struggling to figure out how to start online business in India. This article will help explain the steps involved.

Following are the steps to start your own Online Business /e-commerce store.

  1. A Decision to start the business
  2. Identifying the products
  3. Hunting for the right vendors
  4. Pricing Analysis
  5. Creating a business plan
  6. Company Formation / Firm Registration
  7. Open a current Account
  8. Apply for a GST Number
  9. Finalize on the Brand Name
  10. Create a Marketing Plan
  11. Finalize the Web Platform/Vendor
  12. Order your First Lot of Products
  13. Get the Product Photos & Description Ready
  14. Freeze the Shipping partner
  15. Get Your Online Store Ready
  16. Make a Trial Run
  17. Promoting the Store

A Decision to start the business… Ohh yes, an Online Business: This is a pretty basic yet very important step. A lot of people dream about it however very few actually end up doing. In other words, it’s like the number of people involved in planning a Goa trip and those who actually land up in Goa.

how to start an online business in India

Identifying the products: This is the most important step as the entire online business revolves around it. You could refer to the established marketplaces like Amazon & Flipkart. They are a great resource to check the top-selling products & product categories. In my opinion, the following categories have great potential: Home Improvements, Home Furnishings, Jewellery, Apparel & Accessories, Electronics etc.

How to start an online business in India

Hunting for the right vendors: This is one of the most time-consuming steps where you need to list & freeze the right vendors. An online business needs vendors for:

  • Products
  • Product Photographs
  • Website
  • Website Content
  • Shipping
  • Packaging Supply
  • Company Registration
  • Legal Compliances
  • Tax Consultation
  • Marketing

How to start an online business in India

Pricing Analysis: Here you need to understand the costs & the overheads. Simply put the product cost, costs of operation, your margins will help you to arrive at the selling price of the product. You could also benchmark the price by having a look at the prices of your competitors. Online marketplaces will be a great resource for this.

Creating a business plan: A business plan will help you to steer your organization in the long run. Decide your objectives & Core Values. They will help you in every critical situation. List down the financial needs, sales projection & a breakeven point.

How to start an online business in India

Company Formation / Firm Registration: To establish your entity legally, you could choose any of the following options:

  • Sole Proprietorship
  • General Partnership
  • Limited Partnership
  • Limited Liability Partnership
  • Private Limited Company
  • Public Limited Company
  • Corporation
  • Family Business

Open a current Account: You need a bank account to accept the payments. For businesses, it is the current account to be precise. To start with, not so popular nationalised banks are the best bet as they have better service & flexibility.

Apply for a GST Number: You can apply for a GST on your own or you could get it done from your tax consultant or a CA for as low as Rs. 300

Finalize on the Brand Name: This is another critical step where you give an identity to your business. Generally speaking, your brand name should be catchy, unique, easy to remember & small.

How to start an online business in India

Create a Marketing Plan: This is the backbone of your business. A well-executed marketing strategy could take your business far. The key is to prepare your buyer persona, identify the target market and finding the means to take your products to them.

Finalize the Web Platform/Vendor: Here you have some options. You may choose someone who could develop the platform for you from scratch as per your requirement or you may go with plug & play e-commerce platforms.

Some of the popular e-commerce platforms are:

Order your First Lot of Products: By this time you should go ahead to order your first lot of the products. Once the products arrive, things usually move fast.

Get the Product Photos & Description Ready: Product photos play a very crucial role in e-commerce. A clear & tempting photo will make the buying decision easy. Equally important is the description of the products. To the point, detailed description helps to answer possible buyer queries.

Freeze the Shipping partner: Believe it or not, shipping could be a real pain as you are the owner of the product till it reaches the client. If you can empower your client with all the tracking details, chances are that the client will be assured of the goods dispatched and will track them as & when he/she wants.

Following are some of the aggregators which will help you to consolidate your shipping efforts.

Get Your Online Store Ready: Getting your store ready would feel like a summit, however, this is just the beginning of the climb. Your store should be ready in all aspects like payment gateway integration, terms of use, privacy policy & shipping & return policy in place. Simple navigation & easy check out process is the hallmark of a good online store. You need to finalise on the domain name & web hosting provider.

Find a domain starting at $0.88

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Web Hosting

Make a Trial Run: Trial run is like a mock drill, it helps you to understand how things actually work & where are the loose links in the entire process. This will make sure that the entire system like the payment gateway, order notification emails, courier integration, courier pickup & the delivery works smoothly & in unison with each other. This will give you a chance to take corrective action if something is not working as intended. This will save you the last minute firefighting if it happens in an actual client order.

Promoting the Store: Once the store is officially launched you need to promote the online business on all the social platforms like Facebook Instagram. This will help you to generate the much-needed traffic to your store. In fact, a good digital marketing plan will help you to stay on top & compete with your contemporaries in the market.

This article is to assist those who want to start their online but not sure how to start an online business in India.  I  have compiled above steps based on my involvement in two online business, one in wildlife photography & accessories & other in imitation jewellery.

I hope this would have answered how to start an online business in India. Please let us know if this article has helped in any way. Also do let us know if you would like us to write anything specific related to startups, sales & digital marketing.

Until next time!

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