First of all kudos to all of you and my special thanks to Mr.Alok for this initiative,although this is my first post I keep a follow up on all the activities and discussions happening on Rodinhood.
After listening and getting shared by so many innumerable journeys of members over here..
I am taking a plunge to start a E-Store of mine.
Let me introduce myself..I am Ashish Baharani an alumnus of 2010 batch of MBA...From the first day itself enrolling into MBA I made up my mind of starting something of my own..So as the blessings of friends and family..I started my own retail store in 2010 of Tees in the most reputed mall..Initially I was retailing only Tantra tees (A bombay brand) as an EBO and lately added more brands of tees in store which got a tremendous response..Right now most of our customers are either NRI's or People based in other cities but belonging to hometown..
Now I am looking forward to start my E store as I am already having the stocks and all the other requirements (VAT,Tin No.etc) which are needed ready..I really want to build a website of repute to cater the younger audience as our major clientele is of that age group..
How can I go about it ?? I have seen many E stores starting and closing up soon as sales dint pick up much...??Where should be my main focus??Initially I want a trial run before spending much on the webstore as to test run the response..??
You guys are really doing a good job...."RESPECT" is the right word..
Hi Ashish ,
Welcome aboard, As a person who never sold a thing before starting to sell online and doing it since past 18 months ( www,theskinmantra.com ) , I feel an obligation to tell you what lies ahead . In the points mentioned you will probably find some answers. Be prepared for a rough ride.
In your case , Tshirts being your main product , its going to be really difficult to get visibility from get go . You must have already done your home work , but just doing basic search with 5 keywords will tell you, how clogged the online space is
I am all for your own site and brand etc, but ebay is a great way to test waters without getting your fingers burnt.
I suggest you start with Ebay as they have a very professional and standard model . The great thing with ebay is that you can start it today without having to worry about Adwords , Marketing , Domain , Payment Setup . 2 things decide if you sell well on ebay 1) Price 2) Authentic Feedback by the customers. In an ideal world , these are the only things should matter anyway. So you are at least working on things that are somehow in your control. I have no experience with other aggregation sites such as shopclues , tradus. etc. We have been approached many times but their setup did not convince us of seamless transactions. May be Im wrong or short of experience or both.
we have a maim site which is where most of the business is done , but we continue to sell on ebay till date ,as it gives us flexibility
once you are able to automate order fulfillment , logistics, you can then spread your wingspan to have a online store,
An online store is simply much more than getting started and its becoming difficult with big guns including all possible verticals in their inventory. On my finger tips these are the companies that sell Tshirts Yebhi, Inkfruit, Flipkart, Zovi,Tantra, tshirts.in, tradus,pepperfry , jabong . So you have to find the answer to '' , Where am I positioned in terms of customer preference?''
Even If you have unbeatable product range, getting noticed and landing the customer is going to an uphill task.
There is some more information I can provide wrt Couriers, Payment Gateway and Adwords etc. If you can mention specifically what stage are you on after posting the initial question.
Do keep everyone posted with your progress and share your experience so that others may also benefit from your learning.
PS: Negotiate with everyone , literally everyone , no matter how big they seem.( your suppliers , courier companies , gateways, packaging providers etc etc ) .
Hi akash,Thanks a lot for your lovely comment..I am really delighted to hear the first hand account from you...Just a couple of questions arising in my mind...
A) Is Ebay really good for testing waters...i.e,do Indian customers buy from there as I haven't bought anything from there yet...??
B) You are absolutely right about the thing that internet is full of tee sellers and fighting with these big guys will only make me bleed..So I am thinking to provide something which is not available over there,a USP so that people feel like visiting to my portal..
C) I am also thinking to change my product line and start a estore of something which is not there yet..and people are looking for it...Hopefully I find it soon...
D)Lastly I also believe that a lot depends upon the name of the site you keep..Flipkart is not associated with books anyway...as the case goes with Jabong,Inkfruit,Tantra etc...So once you hit the right chord with the buyers...U r done with it... !!
Thanx again buddy
Nice to see you have some clarity after getting a few answers here...
A ) Ebay has recorded the max gross revenue yoy for any b2c transaction site since last 5 years ( not counting homeshop18 as they have TV channel as a POS ). So dont wrry about numbers.
b) I would suggest not fall into this kind of thinking trap where you get used to being extremely safe. Go with Tshirts as of now ....do not worry too much about profits , but have a stoploss . may be 20-30k , before you revise the strategy .If not anything , this is the best prep course for launching a big product,later on. You will be xposed to Logitics, Online accounting, Ecommerce ecosystem , How to rank high on ebay. What other are selling which you never knew, Theres a world to be explored.
c) As mentioned in the earlier point, waiting for a big product idea is a trap. I will tell you 2 scenarios with new products 1) You discover a product which people want , but no one is selling it online. this is almost impossible and every start up guys wet dream , if it does happen, chances are that a big etailer shark will launch it before you design your prototype.
Since the time I started, I have worked on atleast 4-5 products and by the time I perfected those things to be able to sell, 3-4 players with funded money already launched similar product. ( one actually took the idea from us , but executed real fast, tough luck for us , but its business )
2) You find a product which does have a potential to be big , no body is selling it and people need to be educated about it, once they know it exists, people readily buy it. ( eg laptop skins , still many people dont know it exists , but when they see it, they almost are convinced of having one) .
Here is the problem with such products, educating your audience about the product , which is basically marketing , and it can overshadow all your budget allocations and still may not produce the desired result. Hence I say , sell a product which people know about , have a differentiating element , may be quick service, customization , personalization , local service and master execution of all aspects and then replicate to other products.
d) I dint not get your question , but all the major startups ( self funded ) first executed their core product before moving to bigger things. Flipkart - Books ,Inkfruit - Tshirts , Myntra - Personalization, tantra - Tshirts. So there you have your answers.
Continue to post your progress and do let us know for further help.
www.groupshoppy.com can help for sure.
I dont know if this option is available online, but I saw a post here on rodinhoods where the guy (sorry dont remember the name) makes posters with your picture in it. you give a sentence and with your pic there will be a good poster made out of it. If you can get that option and get it printed on a tshirt and then sell that online it would be cool something unique.
Khushal...Superb Idea...I am already doing it am store..Customisation on tees (only white) are in production by our own vendor..I have decided to add a page for getting your own thing done on the tee...Thanx a ton for your advice.
good to hear that. integrate it on your site. make it interactive, give options( design, colour,etc). basically if i come on the site, i should be able to get a particular sentence, in a font, colour, pic, design and size of my own choice delivered at my doorstep. Wish you all the best and more importantly - send me one as a sample.
Ashish, there are a few people offering hosted ecommerce in India. Don't invest in your own ecommerce platform (say like self hosted magento) till you iron out the kinks and understand it. The question is not if it is viable, but how to make it viable with as little cost as possible.
See this link. Should be helpful: http://ankitkumar.in/how-to-setup-an-ecommerce-store-in-india/
thanks for ankitkumar link. just went to it and read through. amazing chap. i m thoroughly impressed. have tried to contact him now over mail for some business proposition.
do u have his mobile number by any chancea and if its ok to have it over email?
Thanks ashish..I am in talks with Zepo guys
i guess you need the following:
1. lots of patience.. something like no sales for weeks or months
2. lots of money. you would still need to run ur family
3. alternate source of income. refer 2 above
4. Good knowledge of online markets.... whats selling, what prices, hows the competition
5. VVV good knowledge of sourcing. if you cant get cheap, you can sell cheap. and then you wont sell!!!
6. Its a v v hard business i must share and admit. what you would do well is to first check out other sites, not the flipkarts or snapdeals but much smaller ones, which would still be much bigger than yours and see where they are going...