According to reports, up to 60% of people shop online in USA and up to 80% of people would have tried this experiences once in a lifetime Worldwide, as available. Shopping online has it’s benefits and minimal drawbacks, if its a purchase you made, did not meet your expectations. When you look to shop online, you have open market there for you, with many shops to explore and compare price. Most of all it’s convenient for people who are not able to make much time for shopping. India has one of the biggest market for online shoppers & I am sure many businesses would want to make benefit out of it.
Now, If you are a business man with shop in mall or any other shopping center and interested in opening doors of your shop to internet customers, I would say its definitely worth. It will clear the boundary of keeping your sell in shopping center only, and business will be open to people from all corners of country. But, does it cost too much? How is it worth if not generating expected revenues?
To start with, see how well your shop doing at your location. Now, if you can spare about Rs. 5000 a year to make your presence felt on Internet and draw more customers to your business, don’t you think it would be worth? To, start with think of your Internet Web Store as a visiting card for your local store with more detailed information about your products, shop hours, about your customer service etc. This idea alone is worth spending Rs. 5000 a year as a marketing/advertising cost that you can surely afford. Now, go step further, start accepting online orders for mail in delivery. Simple!
To have successful business on net, one must keep all product information clear, such as product photo, description, return policy/warranty/guarantee etc. Doing this, visitors to your site will become more interested in being your customers as they know that what exactly they getting, and how convenient it will be to get in touch with customer service in case they are not happy with their purchase. And, knowing that you are not home based business, having your local shop, they will know your business is legit.
So, how to start online business?
First of all, you will need Web host. Internet is like planet, and you need space on it. So, web host is a company who will rent you that space. Just like renting shop in some locality for example. If you try finding web hosts in India, you may feel that I must have missed putting extra couple of zero, when I said Rs. 5000 is all it will take. No, I have not forgotten. Look for Web Hosts from USA, if can’t find one that offers cheap services in India. You can easily get a web host with yearly cost of average around $70 a year, which will between Rs. 3000 to Rs. 3500 a year. And before picking web host, you think of name which relates to your business/local shop name to put it as a domain name. A name that anyone can type and reach to your website.
Most of the web hosts in USA offers free domain name as you sign up for yearly paid service. So, you will have name and space on net. Now, you will see your web host has simple software in control panels of your website, through which you can make simple web page for your site putting information and picture. This is the way you can do if you only want to put information. Now, if you want to sell online, you will need to find a shopping cart software.
There are many opensource/free software available online with many free templates to pick a look that you would like. For example –
Magneto – http://www.magentocommerce.com/
PrestaShop – http://www.prestashop.com/
And there are many more, simple and more advanced shopping cart software on net, you can select one that you will feel satisfied with. I understand that, you may think how I install all this without any knowledge. Well, If you know basic computer skills, I think you will be OK. All Information on how to use web host control panel, and install software, are given on website of your web host and shopping cart software. Just follow instruction and I am sure you will get it right (or drop your comment here, and I will send you in right direction).
Take few days, playing around your how shopping cart works, read its user guide and you will know how to add all information in it about your business, and products which you like to put for sale. Now, comes important part, how to accept payment online using credit cards? First, I tell you again, don’t fall for those web companies who offer merchant account and set you up to accept credit cards online for fee that starts from Rs. 25,000 and all other transaction fees, and yearly service fee etc.
Go for PayPal. It just charges you 3.9% of total sale value and $0.30 cent per transaction, which is way cheaper than those companies who currently offer services in India. PayPal is US Company, globally known, is legit and offers services in India and is safe for you and your customers. Your shopping cart software would have PayPal future built-in to it, so just enable it, after setting up your PayPal account and you will be good to go.
PayPal will handle all payment security part, so no headache whatsoever for you. This is enough information for you to make your presence on Internet. You still have roughly Rs. 1500 left, spend it for some computer class kid, who can help you out as you need in case you get stuck up :)
And, final thing, put your website name on your business card for your local shop so your local customers can also benefit from it. Remember, Idea is to keep your website clean, put all detailed description about your products. Don’t expect Rs. 5000 that you spending bring you lots of business from net only, think it as money invested for marketing of your business. Have a patience after it, and you will sure get benefit of it. Now, if you are home based business, than you can still follow this same tips, and those who wants to just start something without stocking any products from home, you can also research your local market for items you are interested in selling, and follow this tips and buy – sell – ship as you get order. Expand and Develop your website more as your profit grows.
Hope it helps, and any more information you need, just ask :)