Online Shopping Portal is a business idea which has a great future and a guaranteed future for the next 10 years because ecommerce is expanding in India and every one is tempting to buy online rather than going to a local store because of time savings, quick glance of all the products , pricing, comparisions etc. If you are looking for a business which can help you to setup in serious money maker get into development of a online shopping mall.
Development & Planning Stage : This is the initial stage if you are planning to develop a shopping mall. You need to first decide if you are going for a ready shopping cart enabled script like Oscommerce, Cubecart, Zencart etc or else you would decide to go for a custom developed script which can be quite good because it would have all the features you would need customised but also would have unexpected bugs and would require you to have a programmers team fulltime work for you on the backend for checking out the bugs, upgrading the script and managing it. Once the script’s part is completed you need to plan about the size of the mall and the niche you are going to target like a greeting card’s store, flower’s store, sweet’s store, men & women apparal store or else a complete gifts store, based on which the investment would be decided and the returns would be expected. If you are going to work in team investment point of view you need to plan out for a big store which has multiple niche of products.
You also need to make sure that the products you are going to sell are having a good life rather than products like flowers which has a very short life and in this case you need to work on quick and timely delivery or else you lose a huge amount of loss on each delayed order.
Investment Stage : This is the stage which comes in when you have selected the products you are going to setup for your online store and you need to plan on the stock you are going to maintain and the amount of money you need to invest. The first costs would be setting up of a company , setting up the scripts or a developers team, salaries for a minimum of 1 year calculated in advance, money blocked in stock, setting up payment processorts, advertising budgets for 1 year etc.
Stock Setup : If you are going to launch a store exclusively for Shoes, Apparel or any niche there are generally three options :
1. Buying all the goods and then stocking in your own warehouse
2. Having a deal setup with a offline wholeseller who would ship the goods on your behalf to your customers.
3. Setting up a store where sellers would signup with you and sell their goods and you make the commissions.
In the first option you will need to invest a huge amount of money in order to maintain stock and you need to have a huge staff which keeps checking out all the stock on regular basis and also would sell of outdated stock on a lower price etc , on the other hand the second option of dealing with a offline whole seller would be a lot more beneficial because in that case you need to have a % deal with them and the wholeseller would ship all the products based on your customers requirement directly and you save a lot of investment in the form of stock investment and management. You need to have your staff regularly check out all the stock available in their store and cross check with the availability listings on the online store.
In case of the third option you need to setup a script similar to ebay where in sellers have a written agreement with your company and then they signup to sell their genuine products to your store customers and you charge them a selling fees or commissions. This idea was a great success in the recent years but now this trend is closing and the stores which are adapting option 1 & 2 are in more success because in that case the store owners are able to maintain quality and have a good relationship with their customers.
Store Promotions : Once everything is setup the next thing you need is to get into promotional activities by bringing in different options like press releases, offering discounts & coupons, advertising in print media, news & ppc advertising. Advertising by all the ways at the same time would be the most beneficial idea because in that case you will be able to create a brand and buzz. Make sure you have got a excellent customer feedback and call service because client relationship is the most important aspect in any business and you need to make sure that 100% of your clients are satisfied with your services and you give them a timely responce for any query/problem they come through.
Final Points : Though all the above stuff on paper looks really easy and exciting, you need to make sure you have read the complete pro’s & con’s in setting up a online store and start a complete business which can offer you long term returns. Dont just get started into this and once of the most important point in this is selecting a domain name or brand name for your mall because that should be something which is really easy to remember, spell out and brandable. Never be a quickbee and try to make the maximum commissions or profits in the beginning period because online shoppers are always smart in comparing the pricing from different stores for the same products and the then reading reviews of the products as well as your store before making any purchases.
If you are not sure about how to gather the investments required for funding your dream project, make sure you send in your ideas with complete projct reports to a Venture Capitalist firm which can help you in the funds and take their share out of the projects revenue, FYI most big projects are always funded by VCC. Lets stop here about this business idea and you can ask your queries regading any thing and i will try my best to help you out.