- Today, it has become imperative for everyone to have an online presence
- If a small business doesn’t develop an online presence, it will remain confined to its own geography. If it wants to grow, it needs to either open more branches or stores in other cities, which can be expensive, or go online — a far more cost-effective option.
- Many traditionally offline businesses are now also migrating online because they don’t want to cede ground to younger online rivals.
- Being online also increases the probability of getting repeat business, as customers who have liked your goods can easily go online and order them.
- Enlist the help of an e-commerce enabler: E-commerce enablers offer their customers a variety of services. One, they build their client’s website and equip it with an integrated payment gateway, often for both domestic and international transactions. They could also provide an Android and iOS mobile app. Two, they help clients meet their orders by providing them with a courier service. If you go via an e-commerce enabler, the courier rate you get can be 30-40 per cent lower than if you were to approach them directly. Three, they help their clients with online marketing aimed at enhancing traffic on the latter’s website. This includes advertising customers’ products on Facebook and Instagram and helping with social media marketing: Managing the client’s Facebook page, engaging customers on Facebook, and so on. Finally, these players also list their clients’ products on well-known e-commerce marketplaces like Amazon, Flipkart, and so on. They also help manage all the orders from these sites on a single dashboard.
- It may also be better to go with players that offer the full suite of services, rather than just one or two piecemeal features. “It is simpler if you have to deal with just one entity for all your e-commerce needs. Also, using the full suite of services enhances the probability of your business succeeding,” says Purswani.
- Assisted e-commerce model: An alternative model through which a small retailer can go online is by becoming a member of a network such as the one set up by Shopx. Here, the retailer downloads Shopx’s app on his phone or tablet. Customers who walk into the store can order goods via the app, often with the retailer’s assistance. “Most of India does not make purchases online. Many middle-class Indians are also uncomfortable going into large-format stores. But, most people do on an average visit a couple of neighbourhood retail shops each week,” says Amit Sharma, CEO and co-founder, Shopx. It is these small retailers that Shopx targets. “Customers find comfort in buying online through a retailer because there is a person whom they can hold accountable if there is something wrong with the goods they have purchased,” says Sharma. Retailers earn a commission on sales made through the app, ranging from 3-15 per cent.
- According to Rajesh Sawani, a Dewas, Madhya Pradesh-based retailer who has been a member of Shopx for six months: You can order a wide variety of goods through this one app — fast-moving consumer goods, electronics, garments, etc. There is also the added convenience that the goods get delivered to your shop. On the flip side, margins could be better.” Sawani says he has been able to boost his income by about seven per cent in the six months he has been a member.
- hopx also has a B2B segment. Through it retailers can purchase goods from famous national and international brands for which demand exists even at their level. However, they are unable to access these brands directly because they lack the purchasing heft of a large-format retailer.
via Take your business online smoothly | Business Standard News