“I want to sell online but don’t know where to begin!”

Or “How to sell online?” is the most common statement we hear from offline retailers. So we thought we should have a quick 9 step guide to put the basic steps to sell online in India in perspective.

1. Understand your cost structure and profit viability:

You must allocate certain extra costs like shipping (typically 5%-15% based on nature of the product, packaging (0.5%-2%)and payment gateway(1%-2.5%) costs in addition to your product costs to estimate the net margins that you will make if you sell online. Always try to be profitable at a per product level unless you have millions to spend like Flipkart and Snapdeal.

2. Prepare your digital catalog:

Take an excel file and start preparing your digital catalog. Each row should contain one product or an SKU (Stock Keeping Unit) as most call it. Column would be used to describe the SKU like SKU Code, Name, Description, Category, MRP, Color, Brand etc.
You also need to photograph your products. Take 3-5 pics per product from different point of views and distances with a clear and preferably white background.

3. Buy a domain name:

If you plan to have your own site, you must purchase a domain name. This is the name you enter in your browser window – example: www.mysareeshop.com. This can be purchased from sites like GoDaddy.com or BigRock.com

4. Prepare your online presence:

You can sell online through either your own website where you use the domain name purchased above. For this there are open source tools like Magento available or you could use cloud based solutions like Shopify. You could also sell on marketplaces like Flipkart, Amazon and Snapdeal by contacting them on their website and registering yourself as a seller. You can then try to finish the below steps while your registration process completes.

Related: How to sell on Amazon: A guide to registration and kick-starting sales

5. Packaging process:

You need to have pre-ordered cartons, tapes and other packaging material ready at hand to begin packing orders before shipping them to your online customers. If you sell on marketplaces, quite often you will be provided with the marketplace specific packaging and branding material.

6. Backend software:

A software like Primaseller which will help you manage your products on your website as well as marketplaces where you don’t need to constantly login and update as well as bill and manage your offline store would make it possible for you to scale without worrying about the process and subsequently business breaking down.

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7. Shipper contracts:

Contract shippers like Bluedart, GoJavas, Delhivery, Fedex, etc. to prepare price agreements beforehand so that you do not get held up due to formalities when the orders start ticking in. Make sure you optimize between Air and surface shipping depending on the nature of products you sell and customer expectations – cost vs speed.

8. Try slow and steady:

Do not list too many SKUs right at the beginning. You do not want to be overwhelmed by a hundred orders on day one. Instead, add 5-10 products, test your platforms and service partners – their reliability and whether you can make money on an individual product level before you try to scale.

 

Related: How to sell on Flipkart: A guide to becoming a seller

9. Scale:

Once you feel you have cracked the model, you need to hit the accelerator. Start learning skills like SEO, improve on your product content and searchability, and focus on operational (warehouse or store) efficiency to be a long sustainable and fast growing business.

Infographic that you can use for reference and share with your friends:

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