If you want to start e-commerce store, your chances of success or failure can be measured from day one. Here’s how
To start e-commerce store of your own ask the questions below.
- How much time you take to start e-commerce store from the day this idea came to your mind
- How are you drawing your road map to start e-commerce store
- Are you making the list of challenges as well as the possible easy tasks to finish quick
- Are you making budget for hiring talent or trying to do it all by yourself
- Do you already know what are you going to sell online or you will think about it later
- Do you have any idea about marketing online
- Are you ready for the break even period or do you expect instant profits
- Is there anyone you know who can help you in setting up your online business
So these are few questions about your small online store you are thinking to start e-commerce store. Let’s see if I can help you with the answers below to start e-commerce store
Just a Month or two to start e-commerce store
If you have decided to start e-commerce store – it should take shape within a month. Spending more time than this is not a good sign. Unless you are waiting for the funds, to get your products ready. Or for the particular licences, your online store should not get delay more than a month.
I have so far seen dozens of e-com startups. From Rs. 200 Cr existing business to operate from home small one. The kick start defines the whole game. The people who are failed took over a year to start –
- Many took time to design the site
- Deciding what platform to use, Word press, Magento, Saas etc
- Time taken to negotiate with the logistic services
- Time taken to search Photography services
- Many took time to crack a deal with marketing agency.
Case study 01
You can not have an award winning design as a startup, a director of a 200 Cr turn over company asked me to start his e-com site for the ready to Food items for restaurants. (Like Chicken Chilly or Pav Bhaji in processed pack for restaurants, just open and pan fry, garnish and serve, that saves the multiple talent in the kitchen like Indian chef, Chinese chef etc, and offers consistent quality, hygiene and taste and takes less than 10 mins to serve with expanded menu) The idea is tried and tested, and absolutely awesome, it needs a huge investment which is already have been done, you will not believe that you must have tasted this food in your nearby restaurant.
I was appointed as a consultant for this project – the train halted at the interface of the website – First the client gave reference of Nestle website, after building the site he destroyed and asked for a design inspired by a German food company, after 3 months he came with an idea of ICICI bank website-he liked the user friendliness. This is the point where I demanded money for all these designs, and ultimately the contract broke – the site is under construction for last 3 years.
What do you learn from this case study?
- Nestle will give the contract to a giant webdesign company with budget of few million dollars – a dedicated team of 50 or more will work on it. You can mimic the design but not the functionality which is not designed for you. I can make a website that exactly look like Myntra for few thousand rupees, but will not be able to match the functionality even if you pay few lakhs.
- Getting inspired with several sites and treating your vendor as a testing lab services is not a good idea
- Your consultant is an experienced person use his experience and do not force him to deliver what
- A great idea can fail if you do not control your emotions.
Case study 02
A talented designer came up with an idea to start e-commerce store for her unique women wear designs, she started with selling on market place, then realized that her designs are unique and deserve attention that can only be achieved with her own site.
She struggled with the design, because she liked a design of a very success full online fashion house, her budget was of home business, her freelance designer could not deliver it, but she dragged him to create a look alike, then she moved to photography and contacted me, but the time gap between she agreed to work with my studio and actual shoot is 6 months, she wanted a model with very specific states and look. We have India’s 4 best agencies that can show us 100 top models profile plus celebrities from Bollywood, but that has a price tag. With bootstrap budget for 100 tops, you can not be that particular.
It’s been 8 months the site is no live.
Needless to ask what did you learn
Case study 03
An upcoming OTC brand wanted to sell their health drink online – the brand spends Rs 12-15 Cr per year in offline promotions, over Rs. 1.2 Cr in distribution process per month, (every year 200 men visit over 50,000 outlets to market the product and display in the stores or refer to the customers.) I prepared the e-commerce store in sharp 2 weeks and successfully ordered the products for test and checked the delivery and other service quality test. Great, but I received a budget of Rs.10K for Facebook promotions. The output was a sale of Rs. 30K. Discouraged MD stopped funding to online activity forever.
The offline business took 5 years, and nearly Rs.150 Cr in investment to reach to show glimpses of good results, how can online business show you the same within one week and Rs. 10,000/- ?
Since it was a big budget client – I directly approached Google – their advertising department was very excited and confident to help but recommended a budget of Rs.10 lakh to start with.
What did you learn?
Business is a tree – online or offline – you need to water it, nurture it equally. Online business is not a magical trick. But the stakes are higher. Check the super exciting opportunities of online store before you start and be prepare to spend on it. Tasting a free candy can not show you the actual results.
Case study 04
A garment store wanted to start online version, and went to a freelance consultant, the consultant made him spend over 10 lakh on a website alone, the surprising part is that the consultant does not know how to build a website, how to design, what are the available options, back end technology, marketing etc. He is a friend of a owner of a webdesign firm.
According to me the site he built should cost 1 lakh or less. And should not cost more than that because his inventory and expansion plan for next 5 years deserves this budget.
What did you learn?
Choose your vendors or consultants on some merits. His/her experience, whether he can speak on his own or he is helpless and always connect to some on phone to answer your queries. Whether he is taking you an a dream tour of making you millionaire one day or giving you facts and narrate reality.
I understood – what’s next?
- Connect to consultants who can do things for you and not get the things done for you for commission.
- Let your small online store be small – do not try to throw power by looking like Flipkart.
- Why would some one come to your online store to buy something when Amazon is there with possibly everything you can buy under the sun? Quality product? world class Customer Support? better value for money? amazing Shopping experience? Discounts? Great Design or user experience? Absolutely none of these. Then why will they come to your www shop? The answer is Personalize Experience. The owner of the store is standing at the doors to welcome you is the experience for your customer that can not be given by Armani’s to Big Bazaar or Dubai shopping festival to Flipkart Mega sale. Only you can offer that. That’s the key to success for your small, humble online venture. Whether you are selling handmade Rakhi, Art and craft, T-shirts, Mobile accessories, Designer sarees or hand bags. Give your customers personal attention.
- Do not get too deep into technology – unless you are an experienced software professional yourself, any platform of e-commerce is good for you if you can afford it to start e-commerce store.
- Do not run behind everything award winning standards it costs a bomb. Simple photography, simple local models, simple design, simple code, simple features, can do great business. Expecting the world class feature packed site for Rs. 10,000/- is not fair.
- Do not expect premium service as a very small startup – for example – a consultant will not travel for 2 hours to your doorstep to discuss idea of having an online store in future, it is just a possible business for him. Be prepare to travel half a distance with mutual understanding. Or do not expect the service providers to talk to you for hours over the phone to educate you for free.
- Take action – you can start your website with few thousand rupees within 7 days sharp, start it, you can grow with same to serve to million customer anytime you want.