When we started HitPlay, we were one of the few startups that started selling products online and via catalogues. Last year, since we launched our online store www.hitplay.in, we’ve seen tremendous growth week after week.
Since starting up back then, we’ve worked with so many ecommerce stores and have supported plenty of startups. And, during this course, we’ve seen plenty of websites come and go. So, here’s what you should keep in mind when going online.
Do you shop online more or offline more?
Shopping online is quite a new and different experience. Have you done it? How often? What do you prefer?
Is this your full time job?
Or, is this something you wish to start on the side? We’ve seen most online stores fail as a side business. However, you may consider setting up shop on Amazon or eBay if you wish to get a feel of the waters, before diving in.
Do you have the money to start shop?
Just a basic setup for a good ecommerce store, in India, typically costs between USD 5000 ~ USD 20,000 depending on what your requirements are. And, it’s probably best to build it in phases, starting small and growing.
Do you have the expertise to create?
A great online store is 90% better than a good online store. The monetary investments are the same, but returns are way different. There’s plenty of planning, involvement and expertise that is required in making a great store. While most reputed website developers do a good job these days, the greatness comes from your involvement in the project. Are you a hands-on person? What do you know of designing a store?
Do you have the money to sell?
In offline retail, normally, you need more (or as much) money to buy as to sell. An eCom setup it typically the other way around. You need more money to sell and lesser to buy.
Do you have 100’s or 1000’s of dollars a day to spend, to sell? How will you make that money back?
Do you have the patience?
With the worldwide reach from a single place an online store can give you, no other business can. And, for obvious reasons, you’re not going to be Amazon in a day, month or even a year! It will take you a lot of money, time and learning before you start seeing the returns. Typically, longer than in an offline store. Especially, in India, to get all your paperwork done, can take months together.
For instance, we took about 2 months to get a payment gateway (PG) for Credit Cards, another 2 months before we could start accepting net banking transactions and then weren’t happy with the service, so another 75 days to shift our PG, another 50 days until they started accepting MasterCard and now about 60 days to get FedEx to start Cash-on-Delivery for us!
During course, we lost plenty of time, money and customers. How much can you afford to lose?