Nowadays, words such as entrepreneurs, digital world, e-commerce, startups etc have become a part of our daily lives. We come across advertisements of various websites selling numerous things and services online. All these actually impact our buying decision making process and affect us in possible ways.
Websites offering huge discounts, cashbacks, exclusive deals or offers lure customers to buy from them than their competitors. Selling online is not a rocket science, but it is not a piece of cake as well.
It is not totally true that you can totally operate an online business without spending on marketing and other fixed expenses as in case of offline store.
It is often a big question for most of us unknown to the digital world: “How Can I Sell My Products Online?”.
In this article, I will tell you the number of ways you can sell your products online. I have listed 6 ways or places, where you can sell your products online. This plan is not the end solution to all your online selling problems. But, it definitely answers “ Where and How can I sell products online in India?”
Possible Way No. 1
Nowadays, there is a huge buzz about these marketplaces such as Amazon, Snapdeal, Flipkart, Shopclues etc. These big and well funded marketplaces are spending huge on their marketing campaigns, making them one of the most sought after places for buying things online. The main benefits of these marketplaces are
- You don’t have to own a website. So no expense in setting up a website and hosting it.
- Reduced Marketing Expenditure. You don’t have to spend huge amounts and struggle in getting traffic to your website. These websites have dedicated teams for the same.
- Dropshipping for delivery. You can use their logistic partners for getting your products delivered. No need for tying up with different companies.
- Payment Gateway is also not needed. All the payments are processed by the marketplace themselves. You are paid at the end of your billing cycle, directly in your bank account.
So, this kind of service is best for small and medium enterprises, who do not want to spend huge amount on marketing. These marketplaces provide a great opportunity for a kick start in your online business by providing a ready clientele for your product and technical expertise.
Examples of Online Marketplaces:
Amazon, Snapdeal, Flipkart, Shopclues, eBay, PayTM, Infibeam, Rediff Shoppping, Naaptol. See the complete list of online selling websites.
Possible Way No. 2
Managed eCommerce Solutions:
Have you heard about Shopify or BigCommerce? They are managed and hosted shopping carts, which provide you pre-designed layout for your own website. You have to buy your own domain, in order to get started. So, you can choose your own website name such as “www.flasharts.com” or “www.anynameofyourchoice.com”. You also have the liberty to choose whether you want .com or .in or .net etc. I personally recommend .com or .in, if you want to sell in India. Read more about things to keep in mind while choosing your domain name.
The advantages of such platforms are:
- You can customise your website and add your own desired prices/offers and banners.
- You can exclusively sell your own products on the whole website.
- No need for buying a hosting plan. You can use the platforms hosting.
- Instant support and clean HTML codes, leading to less bugs and problems in the website.
Examples of Managed eCommerce Solutions:
Shopify, BigCommerce, KartRocket, StoreHippo, Twikster, Zepo, Volusion, Shoptimise. See the complete list of ecommerce website builder here.
Possible Way No. 3
Own Customised Website:
You can get your own website made. For this you need to have
- A Shared or Dedicated Hosting
- Domain name
- Payment Gateway TieUp
A hosting plan for a domain generally ranges from 200 INR to 400 INR per month. There are a number of hosting companies providing you instant support and shared hosting. You can check these companies for a better view: Hostgator, JustHost, BigRock, Godaddy. There are a number of things to be kept in mind while choosing your hosting company. Check the list here. As I told above, a domain name is required. You can register your domain name at websites such as GoDaddy, BigRock. You also need a payment gateway to collect and process your payments online. These payments gateways have tie ups with several banks, wallets and websites, thus providing you a comprehensive solution for all kinds of payment. These gateways generally charge a setup fees and a commission on sales. Don’t just compare the commission charged, but also see the total banks associated with the gateway. The Examples of gateways are: CCavenue, Paytm, PayU,checkout.com etc.
Now to setup the website, you need to a contact a full time professional developer/coder and a designer. You can approach an agency or a well established web designing company that provides ecommerce development services.
Under this method,
- The designing company doesn’t use existing open source platforms and themes, but designs the website from scratch according to your choices and preferences.
- The setup costs, professional designing and development fees are very high.
- Sometimes, the time taken to develop a website can also be very high.
- This option is generally viable, when you have very precise requirements for your website. For Eg: A website for selling tailor made clothing, where users can design their own clothes.
This option is not recommended, if you have restricted funds and have basic requirements for a website.
Possible Way No. 4
OpenSource Content Managed System
Under this option, you need 3 basic things as mentioned under Way 3 namely Hosting, Domain Name and a Payment Gateway. Apart from this, you need to choose an open source shopping cart such as Opencart, Zencart, Magento and a theme or template for customisation supporting the chosen Cart. The price of such themes can range from 30 USD to 150 USD. There are a number of themes you can buy according to your preference from themeforest.net. It offers a huge collection of premium themes with 6 months free support from the theme developer.
Once the theme is purchased, you just need a basic web developer who can customise the theme and develop the front end. The benefits are:
- You have control of the hosting plans and do not have any monthly commitment with the ecommerce platform.
- There are a number of plugins and extensions readily available in the market that can help you fulfil your “out of the box” requirements.
- The development and customisation cost is low and is an one time investment.
- There are no restrictions on the number of products you can add on the website.
- There are less chances of getting bugs and breakdowns, as the CMS is made with utmost care and used by hundreds of people.
You can read my article on which open source to use: a comprehensive comparison of opencart, magento and zencart.
Possible Way No. 5
Facebook Shop or Social Media Selling
You can also sell through Facebook Posts and setting up a Facebook Shop. You can simply
- Post your products on Facebook using hashtags and attractive headlines.
- Accept orders through whatsapp or Facebook Messenger
- For Payments, you can ask for a bank transfer/Mobile Wallet Payment or give them COD option.This seems one of the most easy option, but it is not. It may be difficult for people to view the full catalog and compare the products. Your older posts may be ignored and hence may result in dead stock. You may also face difficulty in establishing trust with the consumers, as they may be hesitant in doing a bank transfer before the receive the product.
However, Facebook can be definitely use as a complementary selling point with your existing website. You can use it to market your new products, send offers and listen what your consumers are saying about you.
Possible Way No. 6
Lately, there has been a lot of buzz for classifieds. Giants like OLX and Quikr are spending enormous amount of money in marketing and advertising the concept of buy and selling used goods. So instead of using for selling used goods, you can also list your new products available for sale. If the buyer is interested, he may contact you via phone or email. The reach might be limited, but you might get a good response, if your advertisement stands out. Also, listing on such websites is free, so you don’t incur any fixed cost, but just add a point of sale.