Doing business online in India has become more of the rule rather than the exception today. Bill Gates had said once, “If you are not online, you better be out of business.” When a person of the calibre of Bill Gates makes such a statement, it has to be true. Let us now see how to expand business online.
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What do the figures say?
The results of latest surveys done by BBC indicate that more than 500 million Indians use the internet for shopping online. This amounts to nearly 40% of the Indian population. Statistics show that the number of online shoppers could reach 580 million by the end of 2018.
The easy availability of the internet (courtesy – Jio 4G) in India has led to several Indians using the mobile internet to shop online. Hence, taking business online has become imperative for the survival of businesses in India. The spurt in the emergence of eCommerce retailers is the direct consequence of this development.
Benefits of doing business online:
Let us look at the benefits of doing business online.
- With an increase in the people using the internet to shop online, doing business online helps you target a bigger audience.
- Understanding demographics has become easy thereby allowing businesses to concentrate on the interests of people depending on their age, gender, and consumer behaviour.
- Doing business online helps in developing a smooth and effective interaction with the target audience.
- On the economic front, doing business online India reduces your overhead expenses by a great deal.
- Analysing customer behaviour and altering marketing procedures based on the interactions becomes easy.
Online vs Offline Business:
In order to understand how to expand business online, one should know the drawbacks of offline businesses. This comparison of the offline vs online business is necessary.
- The cost factor is the most important drawback of doing offline marketing. Advertising on radio, TV, and print media is expensive. Printing flyers and brochures are also becoming costly. In addition, you need to spend on manpower for distributing the pamphlets and brochures.
- Targeting a specific audience is difficult when you use these methods of advertising.
- Analysing the results is also a difficult task because of the distribution of newspapers over a large area.
- This method of marketing requires investing in printing and designing thereby affecting the costing of the products.
We have seen the comparison of online vs offline business. These are the principal reasons for the boom in digital marketing in recent times. Let us now see how to do how to sell online in India.
· Create an online store:
Starting a business website is the primary requirement for doing business online. The first step is to buy and register your web address. Automatically, you need to buy web hosting space. You have various domain selling websites such as Godaddy.com where you can get your website for as low an amount as Rs 99. Going for a .com or a .in domain extension is beneficial especially if you are targeting local customers. It is very important to register the website for a longer period and renew it well in advance.
Web hosting space is very important. You get unlimited web-hosting space by paying as little as Rs 500 per month. Invest in quality web programming languages like PHP and database applications like MySQL. These are important aspects of how to start a website.
· Start an internet shoppe:
Let us see how to start a website. It is better to go for an internet shoppe when you have limited products or services. The basic steps of starting a website involve the use of HTML templates and content management systems like WordPress. Starting a website is not difficult today. You can engage freelance website developers for the purpose.
Once your website is ready, you need to add content to your web pages. Provide the necessary navigational instructions to enable the prospective customer to place the order. Adding a business enquiry form can help in better interaction with your customer. Share your business details like location, email address, phone numbers, and social media profiles with your customer to establish the trust.
The most important part of doing business online is to accept orders and payments. You need to invest in secure payment gateways such as CCAvenue, Google Checkout, and so on. You can also invest in an independent payment gateway.
· Graduate to a web supermarket:
As you expand your business online India, you will have to graduate to opening a web supermarket. You have a lot of open source free eCommerce content marketing systems like Magento, Zen Cart, and so on to help you in this endeavour. It is advisable to go with eCommerce platforms having paid plans with support. Such platforms come with multiple payment gateways. You can also expand your business online by offering discount coupons or promotional codes. Accepting payments through credit cards or cheques is also one of the ways how to expand business online.
One of the most important aspects of online business is to have a security certificate. They call it the SSL (Secure Sockets Layer). This enhances the comfort level of your customers when they transact online. Getting one is not difficult as you can purchase them from providers like GoDaddy, HostGator, etc.
· Digital marketing is vital to doing business online
Marketing your website is essential. There are different ways of digital marketing for promoting your business online. Some of them are content marketing, email marketing, search engine optimization, affiliate marketing and so on. Social media plays a very important role in digital marketing. The reach of social media is tremendous. Any sme online entity should have an effective social media campaign working for it. Social media engagement is the best way to go forward and expand your business online.
· Go mobile:
The marketing trends are changing on a daily basis. Today, people are more comfortable doing business online using mobile phones. Search engines like Google place great emphasis on ranking websites depending on their mobile compatibility. This is the best way to reach the maximum number of clients. Having a dedicated mobile app is a great way of taking business online.
We have just seen that doing business online is the only way to survive and remain ahead in this competitive world. Hence, the faster you graduate to doing business online in India, the better it is for you. Now, you will understand the enormity of Bill Gates’ statement, “If you are not online, you better be out of business.”