Selling online with your own website
Selling on market place is not easy and every sell will have a commission attached, your own site will not have their rules and their commission
Nowadays this is not very difficult as well as not very expensive too.
You can build a website for online business for as low as Rs.20,000/- but the cost can go as high as few crores of rupees.
How? Rs.20,000/- to Rs. Few Crores?
Well, lots of factors involved here, the website that serves few lakh visitors and buyers at a time is built to handle that big traffic, and operations. And a website like this one where you are reading this article is built on a economy server, it’s hand-made by an average technically equipped person that’s me :), with very small size data or pages and images, and most of the technology is taken from free resources. If this site gets 100000 people logged in at a time – the site will not survive.
But let’s take an example of Flipkart – they have over 1 crore products (2014 data) meaning over 300,00,000 images stored and browsed, similar number of pages of information. The database of over 2.5 crore registered users. This needs lot of technology and resources, and therefore it takes a team of over 10,000 people.
The reason I am writing this is whenever we designed the website for some clients, they came with demands to match the features of these big sites. They did not understand that they are paying for a small general store that can not have features like a big shopping mall.
To build your own site – your tech partner or the webdesign company can use the ready to use free software like Magento, Opencart, ZenCart or Woocommerce. Over this free software the software developer can attach the features you need over and above ready and free features. However the ready to use online store hardly need any add on feature.Often it is unnecessary enthusiasm of the new online seller to look like a big website. Which is only waste of time and money. We had clients who wanted to build site like zara.com, HM.com etc for Rs.50,000/-, Zara.com is worth US$ 9,400,000,000.
The consequence is that we returned their money back and said thank you, and after 3 years the website says UNDER CONSTRUCTION.
SaaS – Software as services.
There are companies like Kartrocket – they have a ready to use sites, all they have to do is take some monthly fees and attache the ready site to your domain name. And upload the product images, price, discount etc and start selling. Their fees starts from Free – to some Rs. 30,000/- per year. They do charge some commission per product as well which is very nominal.
Later the site has got the system to customize it to suite to your taste and product category. Now there are several negative reviews of such sites but you can ignore it. Every software has some trouble in the beginning.
It does not stop there – they also have the automatic logistic system. What is that? read further…
Services like Kartrocket are attached to all the important courier services for special rates and priority for e-commerce sellers, including Fedex, Bluedart, DHL, Aramex and lot more. The software is liked to these services, on registration you get the special code for your site, on receiving an order you can select the suitable and economy service for a particular area. For example if the order is placed from Sitapur, Uttar pradesh and if FEDex does not serve that area, the software will show up Blue dart as an option automatically (just an example).
The important thing is that you automatically get the Cash on Delivery option with such services.
So what is the difference in my own site v/s Kartrocket, very simple.
- If you are really a small business and you yourself do not have any tech background go with Saas.
- If you can afford to hire a tech company, or if you have some knowledge of building website you should build your own site.
Along with the website you will need the online payment facility – so that your buyers can buy with their credit or debit cards. To do this you can connect to PayU biz, TImes of Money, CC avenue etc. You have to go through some formalities to get the online account where you can accept the online payment.
To open a merchant account you will need
- Current account in a Bank
- Service tax or VAT registration document or Company registration document
- Identity proof
- Address proof.
Marketplace site does not need marketing efforts because they are there on TV, Newspapers and everywhere with over few 100 crore Rupees. But your own site will need marketing and a heavy dose of marketing. You can hire an online marketing agency to do this or you yourself can do this. Your options of marketing are
- Offline or traditional – Print, Radio and TV, plus exhibitions, fares, outdoor, like railway stations, buses, metro rails, airports etc.
- Online advertising on Facebook, Google, Youtube etc.
- Online promotions by bloggers, affiliates, or big portals of sports, news etc.
There is one danger waiting for you in this field, online and offline – you will see a lot of articles and will get 100s of proposals to get traffic for your website. Never ever believe anyone who promise lakhs of visitors to your site. These are cheaters, the magical tricks do not exist. Often the Newbies surf a lot of net when they get attracted to the online business news. Often the smart conman are waiting for you, many of them go to an extend that they hire expensive car, a bungalow and even the privet plan to show you that they made so much money online by some trick of software. Remember all those videos are made to fool you. therefore if you need traffic on your site you need legitimate techniques of marketing both paid and Free. You can hire reputed agency or do it yourself.
We charge the consultancy fees basis on your investment or the size of your business etc, The turnover of your company or the projected annual turnover of your online business should be minimum of 50 Lakhs in order to hire a consultant. As consultancy we will be doing the documentation, building the website, setting the logistics, define the process, take part in the selection process of your vendors, hire man power for you. Set up the marketing for you for example selecting, negotiating and releasing your Print/TV and Radio ads. etc.
A consultant will be with you for 3 months or 6 months or 1 year, to support your operations post setup.