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ASK TANYA about Online Selling!

As a part of our ASK RODINHOODERS series, it’s awesome to present Tanya Rao who has been adding lots of articles to our ecom section and quietly helping every ecom player on trhs. She’s always sporting and just a ping away when there is a question in ASK that she can respond to!

So if you are thinking about selling online – she is the right person to connect with!

Who am I?

The name’s Tanya. Dry martini is not my style. Beer is more so. Now you know the way to my heart. 😉

I am part of Team Zepo, closing in on 3 years now. And in all this time, I’ve come across multitude of entrepreneurs and would-be e-preneurs, breaking down the blocks of “Selling Online”. And I’d like to think that I’ve tried to do my bit in breaking those blocks down. Selling Online is not rocket science! It is NOT. It’s rather simple, all you need is to be able to multi-task. 😛


So, how may I help you?

I understand that there are a lot of sides to selling online. And I am not claiming to be an expert, but me and my team are going to be around for you, every step of the way. Have a doubt, have a query, have a burning question – reach out and we shall answer it as best as we can, with our collective intelligence. 

What kind of questions can you ask me? 

1. How to sell online?

2. What if I want to sell online, but I don’t have any products of my own?

3. What is the best beer and the cheapest beer you get in Bombay?

4. What kind of registrations are needed to start selling online?

5. Should I go with FedEx or Blue Dart?

6. Will COD live on?

7. Should I get a payment gateway?

8. Is this just an ecommerce bubble that will blow up in our faces?

9. What food goes best with beer?

10. Do you want food!


So let me help you. 🙂 Look forward to it.





Tanya is following this page – so go ahead and ask her all you want to in the comments below!




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  1. Waiting to hear from all of you! Keep ’em questions coming. 🙂

  2. Hi Tanya,

    Is there like a short guide to know if i want to sell online? Especially the registrations part?

    Thanks in advance,


  3. Dear Friends,

    Good Afternoon.

    I am an Ex Army officer and is working with SAS Group in India. I am based out of Dehradun and my wife is into personalized women apparel/clothing. We have 1 child and is in class IV and now my wife would like to start her fashion studio in the city by opening up a store and going online either by an independent website or for the time being through Jabong / Snapdeal etc.

    I would like to ask you for advice on the following matters.

    1. We require funds to start a store of our own for which we require funds to either rent/lease a place or buy some commercial space by ourselves.

    2. Since I have not served the full mandatory army service so not getting pension. I have a decent amount coming as salary but not enough to put in the business.

    3. We require some angel investor or some bank loan to finance our project.

    Apologies for being so blunt and straight forward but dont know as to how to go about the things. Since at the end of the day I too want to own or part of family business.

    Request to please advice.

  4. Hi Sucharita,

    There is no ready guide as such, right now. But let me collate the various topics for you, right here, building it block by block.

    1. Business Registration: 2 rather easy options in my point of view. Sole Prop and OPC. Depending on your requirements, you can choose either one, and registration is fairly easy. With OPC the advantage is, that once you grow, you can easily convert the OPC registration to a Private Limited firm. 

    2. Taxation in Ecommerce (more specifically for sole prop., but valid for other registrations too)

    I know this is something that baffles alot of e-preneurs. Hence here are some pointers to help ease the anxiety of starting a business from scratch where you have to worry about everything.

    • For starting any business , you need a valid license like License under Shop and Establishment Act (Basic) or Incorporation Certificate for Companies, etc
    • TAN no. is not mandatory for Sole Proprietors unless your turnover in the previous financial year exceeded 1 crore.
    • Service Tax Registration is applicable only for Service Providers only. If during a financial year your company crossed 9 lakhs in turnover for service provided, then registration is mandatory within 30 days. And Service Tax is to be paid on the amount exceeding 10 lakhs. This exemption limit of Rs 10 Lakhs applies only for the first year and from second year onwards service tax has to be paid on all amount received towards taxable services
    • VAT is mandatory when the gross turnover exceeds 5 lakhs. However for imports registration is mandatory when it exceeds 1 lakhs. VAT has to be charges on the imported products as well as per the VAT schedule.
    • Other licenses required for Proprietorship are Profession Tax or any business specific licenses (Say if Food industry then, License under FSSA). As such for general business only these are the required.​
    • IEC is mandatory if you are shipping internationally. And for which, the pre-requisite is a registered firm.

    3. Setting up Store:

    Finally, the more obvious part. You want to start selling online but which way do you go? Go with a DIY ecommerce platform (there are plenty in the market) or go for a custom web solution. Let me jot down my points for you below, with bias to noone in particular. 

    • Do-It-Yourself with Open Source: If you are an expert coder, you can probably do it yourself for free, using tools like Magento which are open source. It takes anything around one to two months to build your website.
    • Hire a Web Developer: If you are not a programmer, you will need to hire a programmer or an agency to do the work for you. Once again, the cost depends on how many features you want on your store. The final cost can be anything between Rs 30,000 for a plain looking website to Rs 2,50,000 for a professional looking site with all the major features in it (the charges may wary measurably. This costing has been picked up from our customers who’ve moved from custom sites to Zepo). This will be excluding the cost of getting a payment gateway for your store.
    • Do-It-Yourself with a SaaS Platform: If you do choose a SaaS (Software as a Service) platform to create your online store, the plus point with SaaS platforms is that they not only cost you significantly lesser than custom development, they take a lot lesser time to take your store live. Most platforms today, provide you a free payment gateway at discounted TDRs, a logistics tie up to help you ship your products and can help you design a great store with free templates. You don’t need any programming knowledge to start your store. You can check out a comparison here:… (PS. Zepo, the team I am a part of, is one such DIY SaaS platform. Let me know if you need any help with it. )

    4. Payment Gateway and Logistics:

    The market is flooded with third party payment gateway providers and courier companies. But which ones to trust and go ahead is always a big question mark. Here are 2 review that we had done, that should help you along. 

    5. Marketplace Selling:

    To do or not to? High commissions or worth it? Which one is the best? Here are some pointers to help you.

    This is all of what I could think of as far as a guide to selling online was concerned. If there is something I missed, please feel free to let me know. 

  5. HI Tanya,

    we are into manufacturing & trading of electrical goods. Manufacturing of wires & cables & MCBs. Manufacturing is 80% & rest is trading.

    I’ve spent or wasted good amount of money over period of time with Indiamart, Tradeindia, Google ad words, etc. I do get inquiries but most of the inquiries are irrelevant or somehow related to electrical industry but not to our products range.  

    Last year or before; I had tie up with pensamedia for google ad words and my site hosting, etc. they ran away with money of many clients.

    I’m looking for solution since ever.. i know there is a good market over the internet but i don’t know how to target that market. 

    I’ve an idea to open Electrical store or where complete range of electrical products are available and that too MAKE IN INDIA. 

    If you can please help me in putting up my website, creating electrical store online, & other internet selling related things.. ?? 

    P.S: website which pensamedia created is:   & i know it sucks. 

  6. Hi Abhishek,

    I’d suggest you not to open up a store, for the plain and simple reason, it’s a rather heavy investment. And you can use those funds to start selling online and drive profit even before your offline store is up and running. 

    To put things into perspective, here’s a quick break down of the costs involved in either setting up an offline store or starting an online business.

    Nevertheless, if you would still like to go ahead with opening up a store in Dehradhun, you could raise a loan from public sector banks at low interest rates. Finding an angel investor would be rather tough and would not be the best way to go forward. Private sector banks like ICICI also have loans specially for small businesses. 

    Some examples being:

    1. Bajaj Finserv Self-Employed Business Loan

    2. Fullerton India Business Loans

    3. SIDBI Loans

    Also, try raising funds from friends and relatives, if possible. 

    Hope this helps. Do let me know if you’d like to know anything more. 

  7. That was a great start and exhaustive one for me! Thank you very much, more as I go along,


  8. Dear Tanz,

    Thanks for the prompt revert. Need to understand the Economics of the payment gateway be free?? Request to please make me understand with the Initial investment as 20 – 25 k as the OPX – What all does it cover . The Initial Investment seems to be 30 k seems very appealing.

    Request to please advice for the queries.

    Thanks a lot for the guidance. 


  9. Hi Rajeev,

    It doesn’t suck, it’s just outdated. 🙂 Don’t beat yourself over it. You can still make it work and you shall. Find my two cents below. 

    1. Identify your Audience

    You have mentioned it, hence the question. Are you a business-to-business(B2B) electrical store or a business-to-consumer (B2C). Why this is necessary is, what quantities are you going to let people buy?

    Now, if you are looking at a B2C, one major hurdle I can foresee is that, people don’t buy electrical wires and other supplies online. For the simple reason, that it is not pre-planned. I run to the hardware store, when I’m trying to fix my Diwali lights and that suits me fine. I am sure a predicament you must have foreseen yourself. 

    So I am assuming you are looking to become a B2B electrical supply e-commerce store.  

    2. Finding your Audience Online

    Now, to the part where you need to find these businesses online who will come shop for you. Let’s start with asking some basic questions:

    1. Is you audience online?
    2. If yes, where do they hang out online? Facebook, Twitter, Blogs, Online Trade Magazines, etc. 
    3. What are they doing online? Are they reading about their industry, socialising, buying products, etc. 

    Once this list of all your customer channels is ready, you can build strategies around the same. I understand you have already tried India Mart and AdWords. 

    There are 2 possibilities:

    1. Either your audience is not looking for you on these channels
    2. Your positioning was wrong

    A little introspection would help us get here once we are done with the first 3 questions. 

    3. Start an Online Store

    You already have a website which adds your brand presence on the web. Now you need a ‘Shop’ where people can actually shop. You have a couple of options to help you build such a store for you. You can go with a DIY ecommerce platform (there are plenty in the market) or go for a custom web solution or start a website using WordPress. Let me jot down my points for you below, with bias to noone in particular. 

    • Do-It-Yourself with Open Source: If you are an expert coder, you can probably do it yourself for free, using tools like Magento which are open source. It takes anything around one to two months to build your website.
    • Hire a Web Developer: If you are not a programmer, you will need to hire a programmer or an agency to do the work for you. Once again, the cost depends on how many features you want on your store. The final cost can be anything between Rs 30,000 for a plain looking website to Rs 2,50,000 for a professional looking site with all the major features in it (the charges may wary measurably. This costing has been picked up from our customers who’ve moved from custom sites to Zepo). This will be excluding the cost of getting a payment gateway for your store.
    • Do-It-Yourself with a SaaS Platform: If you do choose a SaaS (Software as a Service) platform to create your online store, the plus point with SaaS platforms is that they not only cost you significantly lesser than custom development, they take a lot lesser time to take your store live. Most platforms today, provide you a free payment gateway at discounted TDRs, a logistics tie up to help you ship your products and can help you design a great store with free templates. You don’t need any programming knowledge to start your store. You can check out a comparison here:… (PS. Zepo, the team I am a part of, is one such DIY SaaS platform. Let me know if you need any help with it. )
    • WordPress:

    4. Marketing the Online Store

    Some pointers on how you can start marketing your online store. I am dividing it into 2 essential categories:

    1. Increase sales with existing customers
    2. Increase sales with new customers

    Adding the video here, coz it’s actually simpler conveying everything like this than writing it down. 😛 But please please feel free to buzz me if you somethings are still unclear. 🙂

    I understand that not all of these may be the best fit for you. But I need you to understand that there are a lot of avenues that we need to tap into to drive those sales and not all of them involved spending money. 

    Spending money should be the last resort once everything else is in place for you. Like SEO, Social Media, Trade Forums, etc.

    Hope this helps. Always at your service.


  10. Hi Tanya 

    Thanks for this AMA related to online selling. Setting up an online shop is one thing but selling things requires intensive targeted marketing. So how do you actually employ the social media and other marketing tools available to entice your customer to your website and make them buy things ? Are there any broad rules to be followed while marketing and branding your eCommerce website ? Any goldmine here :).



  11. Hey Tanya,

    Thanks for taking out time & reaching out.  It satisfied lot of queries which had been running in my mind. 

    Yes, our business is B2B mostly. Hardly anyone buys wires or other electrical products for themselves. 

    I’ll write an e-mail to you directly & probably start with ZEPO. 

    Thank you. 

  12. Hi Tanya…. i am running one online portal for home delivery of multibrand icecreams in Gurgaon by the name Till last year it was known by the name

    As you are aware that there is lot of variation in temperature & climate in North India leading to drop in sales of Icecream in winter, can you guide/suggest me a bit abut how should i timely scale up my business as it becomes very difficult for me to retain my customers as soon summers starts again….pl go thru website once and feel free for any type of honest suggestions…!!!  

  13. Hey Tanya, 

    Did you do split testing the layouts,copywriting etc on the ecommerce sites and also the checkouts page? I guess most of the people stick with the default layout of the shopping cart sites. 

    Implemented any up-selling or down-selling methods for indian ecommerce sites?

    Would love to hear from you! 



  14. Hi Abhishek,

    Answering  your doubts.

    What does a Free Payment Gateway mean?

    Before we tackle this, we need to understand the different charges that are levied by the payment gateway companies.  

    1. Set-up Fee

    A one-time non-refundable amount to open a payment gateway A/C.

    2. TDR % (Transaction Discount Rate)

    It is the processing charges you pay to the PG provider, per transaction. They deduct this amount from every transaction and pass on the rest of it to you.

    Suppose a customer pays you Rs. 100 for a product. When your TDR is 6%, they would deduct Rs. 6. And deposit Rs. 94 in your bank A/C.

    This TDR is always borne by you, irrespective of which payment gateway you choose.

    3. AMC (Annual Maintenance Charges)

    AMC is the maintenance charge for your payment gateway A/C, which is collected once a year.

    An important point to remember is that service tax is applicable on both TDR & AMC.

    A free payment gateway essentially means that the Setup Fee and AMC are waived off. And you are expected to pay only the TDRs which may vary for company to company. Also, as per the terms and conditions, the AMC may be applicable from 2nd year onwards. 

    What is the Operating Variable Cost?

    The operating variable cost consists of expenses that will be made to run a business. For examples, things like:

    1. Internet, telephone and electricity charges
    2. Packaging material for shipping goods
    3. eCommerce platform subscription
    4. Payment Gateway TDRs
    5. Shipping costs

    Important thing here, these operating costs will vary depending on the size of your business. These estimates were drawn for a business that is just starting out. 

    Hope this helps. 


  15. Sure thing, Rajeev. Look forward to it. 

    However we can help,

  16. Hey Vishal, 

    Glad you asked this. 🙂

    One rule that I have blindly followed and still follow, irrespective of what you sell, if you are a B2B or a B2C, who your audience is. 

    The 80:20 Rule:

    80% posts on social media should talk about your what your customers are looking for – industry trends, how-to, tips and tricks, jokes, quotes, whatever.

    20% posts should promote your brand.

    A benchmark for this would be Redbull:

    Boy, do they know how to keep up their engagement. 

    Having said that, one also has to realise that there is no one key that fits all online marketing locks. Heck, I haven’t figured out the right mix till now. 

    But one thing I find myself oft repeating – marketing is all about apprehending what your customers are looking for and giving them the answers, before they realise their questions. So LISTEN! And listen closely. Social media is the best way to listen what are you customers are going to ask. 

    What we do today is TALK! Like a one-way street we bombard our customers with everything that we think will interest them; on email, facebook, twitter, pinterest, instagram – anywhere we can post and interrupt, we do. 

    The whole deal is, it’s not about talking. Marketing is about listening. Like Gary Vaynerchuk has said, social media is about story telling and not selling. 

    Watch this video:

    This is my goldmine. Hope it makes sense.

    It was more of a rant than a structured answer. Feel free to bombard me with more questions. 🙂

  17. Woah wow this is a goldmine. I guess at the end of the day providing value to customer in form of products, tips, posts etc. makes him move closer to your brand and this leads to him being your loyal customer as well. 

  18. That is so true! 🙂

    Glad I could help. 

  19. Hi Mukat,

    I understand retention must be quite a pain given such a long gap during the winter months. I would suggest, you start marketing as soon as summer hits again. And heavy marketing. I’m adding some points below to help you along. 

    Marketing your Store before Summers:

    1. Shoot Email Newsletters, SMS or Whatsapp messages to your customer database as soon as summer starts again.
    2. If possible, give them some discount or just re-iterate that you offer Free Home Delivery
    3. Invest some money in paid ads i.e. AdWords and Facebook and location target the ads
    4. Get some pamphlets distributed through local newspaper delivery boys in the locations you serve
    5. Get your coupons listed on PayTM, the recharge site. 

    Some Suggested Changes for your Website:

    1. If you can highlight some products on your online store’s home page. Right now there are just banners. Put up your best selling ice creams on the home page
    2. Improve your product pictures. Put up some high quality pictures and write product descriptions. Even though you are selling ice-creams from known brands, it just help create a feel of a well-maintained online store.
    3. On category pages, the products look hay-wire. You might wanna get Shopify’s support to fix it for you. 
    4. Add a Search menu for your online store. It’s easier for people instead of navigating through all menu options. 
    5. Contrast the text color of your menu bar. It’s not visible at all. Hence making navigation difficult. Checkout the example below. The second image has a more visible menu bar that grabs attention. 

    Hope all this helps. Tried my best to come up with do-able suggestions. 


  20. Thnks Tanya….i really appreciate for feedback given by you related to our website, will definitely work on all of these to improve the interface…

  21. Hi Suresh,

    Apologies for the delayed response. 

    We have done split testing on our websites, but that is something that our tech team at Noida handles. Only the best of the lot is implemented and taken live on the Zepo platform.

    The tedious bit is going to be digging out data from past tests, which would take a wee bit longer, since it’s not structurally documented. Nonetheless, let me take it down and pass it on the tech team. Maybe they catch a little free time and can dig it out. 

    Apologies if I couldn’t be of more help to you. 


  22. Hi Tanya, 

    Glad to be connected, hoping you can help! 

    I run an on-demand service for home tutoring – 

    We are currently using a payment gateway in a traditional sense, where once a student makes a payment through our payment gateway it comes to our account. We then take a cut and bank transfer the fee to the tutor immediately.

    There are two issues with this:

    1) It is not clear for the student when to make the payment – at the start of the classes or at the end.

    2) It is prone to students disappearing, without paying after a few classes or tutor disappearing after the payment is received. 

    We would like to avoid these risks by setting-up an escrow based payment. The student makes the payment as soon as the tutor is hired,  we will keep the payment and will release the payment once the student finishes the classes. That way both student and the tutor is protected. This is similar to how or does it. 

    We want to hold the payments for the term of the learning. For example, if a student has hired a tutor for a month for Rs 10k. The student pays let’s say on June 15, we receive it in’s wallet immediately, and we transfer those funds to the tutor after a month on July 15. We would like to know if there are any regulations stopping us from holding the payments for that one month period. 

    Here’s what I need help with:

    1) I would like to know if there are any regulations AGAINST setting up escrow payments in India?

    2) If we can hold the payments or have an escrow, should we change our payment gateway to something like Paytm or PayU?

    Appreciate your support. 



  23. Hi Tanya,

    We are in the process of setting up an online seller organization that will deal in around 6,000 SKUs for now. Can you please recommend an inventory/invoicing software with bar-code integrations that will allows us maintain all inventory-related transactions. We intend to use Tally for accounting till the business reaches enough scale to warrant investments in an ERP solution.

    Look forward,


  24. Glad to know that you follow Gary, have you read his book, ‘The Thank You Economy”?

  25. Hey Tanya,

    I am an existing seller at almost all the marketplaces like flipkart, Jabong, Myntra etc. We sell apparels by the name of RIGO. I want to ask how can I manage my data and use it to better my performance.

    I am looking for a tool to do sales analysis, Inventory forecasting, Reviewing performance of individual products etc. I believe use of analytic can really push ahead a business.

    PS: I use uniware for order processing but it seems very basic in terms of reporting 

  26. Excellent Question. #Following.

    I use excel to do this manually 🙁

    Something to automate this would be helpful.

  27. Hey Tanya,

    I would like to know if there are any PIM’s (Product information management) software that you would recommend. I deal with a lot of SKUs and have to update information about a lot of them regurarly. I would like to store all this information in a single place which can be accessible to the people I grant access to.

  28. Try Uniware they have lot of fields to put info about SKUs which your team can access

  29. Hi Abhishek,

    We recently did a piece on MSME funding in India, if that proves helpful to you.

  30. Hey Yuvraj,

    Nope, haven’t caught up on the book. I should now that you’ve mentioned it. 🙂

  31. Sure thing. Let me know if I can help you with anything else. 

  32. Hey Tarun, 

    Sorry for the late response. I don’t have much knowledge on the subject. So I have passed on the same request to our Payment Gateway team. As soon as I hear back, which should be by tomorrow, I’ll pass on the same to you. Rather get the answer from the experts than from me. 🙂

  33. Hi Vinod,

    Just replied to the same request on email. 

    Frankly, I don’t have much knowledge about POS units for Indian e-commerce and hence I may not be the best person to suggest this for you. I’d suggest you talk to people at storefronts at to what softwares and hardwares they use. 

    Apologies for not being much help. Do let me know if I could help you with anything else. 
  34. Hey Anubhav,

    I know of Unicommerce in the same service. And their analytics and reporting seems pretty advanced. We at Zepo are also in talks with them to integrate them with our own online stores, letting our customers sell on marketplaces and the online store from the same dashboard. 

    Do try them out and let us know if it is any better from Uniware. 

  35. Hey Yuvraj,

    Try out Unicommerce. May just be that much more better. 

  36. Hi Tarun, 

    So I got a response from my team. Hope it’s not too late.

    We spoke to PayU Biz, our partners about the same. And it’s definitely possible. But they deal with such requests on a case to case basis, for approval. They can release the payment on request or proof.

    But it would be great if you could share your contact details. We can pass on the same to team PayU Biz and they can help you better. 

    Hope this helps,

  37. Hi Tanya,

    Thank you so much! 

    I am speaking to Paritosh Sharma from PayUBiz in relation to this. In case there is any more light on this, here are my details:


    Phone: +91 9989016041

    Appreciate the support, you are a champ! 🙂



  38. Tanya, awesome answers.  🙂

    Do any of the the payment gateways support subscription billing?  Where we can bill the customer on a recurring basis with Indian CCs or DCs?

  39. Abey, 

    You can’t set-up recurring payments on DCs but, on CCs you can definitely with most payment gateways. 

  40. Tarun, thanks.  Do you know where I can find more info about this?

  41. Get in touch with Paritosh Sharma and team from PayUMoney – they are the best for this! 

    Contact Paritosh at

  42. Hi Tanya

    Can you help me with Payment Gateway Merchant who can accept International Credit Card except PayPal. It’s for a service product – where they need to pay X amount to use our service for X no of days.



  43. Hi Tanya

    I’m planning on a education website where I plan to sell courses via email and moocs (Massive open online courses). 

    I would like to seek your opinion and advice on

    1. How best to price and sell the courses? 

        Would Service Tax/Vat apply in this case, and if yes, how should I factor that into the price?

    2. How to decide on the payment gateway?

         What are the things I need to consider while making my choice? 

    In anticipation of an early reply,

    Yours truly,

    Rohit Kuttappan

  44. rohit – i think you should ask the first question to ramanuj  – check his expertise. 

    also chk priyadeep’s page. he’s the ed-tech guy.

  45. Hi Friends..!!

    We’re setting up Online platform for tourist visa for our customers. We’re based at Gujarat. 

    I want to ask you about Payment Gateway which provides invoicing/receipt to user / customer?

    Pls help us and provide your suggestions.

  46. Hi Richard,

    Most of the payment gateway service providers in India provide your customers with an invoice or receipt of transaction via email.

    Some of the payment gateways that I would suggest you can checkout for the above are:

    1. CCAvenue

    2. EBS

    3. PayUbiz

     Also for a review of the major payment gateway services available in India you can refer our blog post here.

    Hope this helps.

    P.S. As Tanya has moved on from Zepo,this is Rohan from the Zepo team posting on her behalf.

  47. What if I want to sell online, but I don’t have any products of my own?

  48. Hi Vipin,

    If you don’t have any products to sell online,the first step should be narrowing down on what kind of products you would like to deal with. The following points would help you take the decision.

    1. Figure out what target audience are you looking to cater to.
    2. Based on the above,choose the products you are sure will sell among them
    3. Please keep in mind,having a large number of product categories is not necessary for an e-commerce portal do well.

    Once you have decided on the products,then comes the problem of sourcing these products.You can source them from vendors or drop-shippers.Before we go on to how do we look for these people let me clarify the concept of drop-shipping for you.

    Drop-shippers are basically people who keep a ready stock of products on them and can ship them when they when an order is placed.

    You can find vendors/drop-shippers using the following methods:

    1.  Searching on marketplaces like flipkart,snapdeal,amazon etc, as lots of drop-shippers sell on such platforms.
    2.  Exploring product comparison and price comparison websites.
    3.  Looking for vendors on B2B platforms like Indiamart,India2bharat etc.
    4.  Also look out for manufacturers as they keep looking for traders/resellers for their products.
    5.  You may also find relevant vendors/manufacturers in your local market.

    After you finalise your products and vendors,you can start up with your own online store.On receiving orders you can get the products directly picked up from your vendors for delivery to your customers.

    For a more detailed description on short-listing and validation of drop-shippers and vendors,I would suggest you to go through our blog post on the same here.

    Hope I answered your queries.

    P.S. As Tanya has moved on from Zepo,this is Rohan from the Zepo team posting on her behalf.

  49. Thank you Rohan for your helpful inputs.

  50. Hello Tanya..
    It was a great and most helpful reading, simple, clear and conceptualised. Now I have some little queries regarding the topic. Please entertain them.

    1) Why TDR is so high? Say Your client is a trader and not a manufacturer. That means the margin will be quite low after meeting the expenditures. If the transaction is of a Rs. 1000, so TDR @ 3% will be Rs. 30 plus the bank charges if the payment is made through card. So if the person is keeping a 10% margin, then he is almost loosing a 5% profit. Should not be the monthly charges paid by a client accommodate these charges too? IMHO, it will make the whole process more progressive.

    2) In case of COD, how the company suppose to collect TDR fee??

    Thanking you in advance

    Yog Mohanty

  51. Don’t mean to hijack the post, but this is my understanding.

    TDR is set up by the payment gateways. In the beginning when volumes are low, you will pay a higher TDR. 

    As you scale, you can negotiate a better TDR with the payment gateway.

    For COD orders, TDR isn’t applicable. The shipping company might apply additional charges for a COD order.

    Hope that clarifies.

  52. Hi yuvraj…
    Thanks for responding..
    That’s exactly my point. Earlier the business, higher the rate. Is not it regressive for the whole eco system??
    Lastly so in a cod, there is no tdr at all??

  53. Hi Mr Yog,

    The payment gateways have different plans offering different TDR’s,these plans vary in the setup costs,the lower the TDR the higher the setup cost,you can checkout an example here.

    Also as COD is provided by the courier companies and not the payment gateway companies,there is no TDR involved.However they do levy a cash handling charge for COD orders that is additional to the delivery charges.This cash handling charge may be a flat rate or may depend on your invoice value,based on which courier company you go in for.

    Hope I answered your queries.

    P.S. As Tanya has moved on from Zepo,this is Rohan from the Zepo team posting on her behalf.

  54. Hello, I am planning to sell products online and I am planning to run it at home. Does that need TIN?Can I procure TIN with my residential address? Do I need to register that as a business firm and get rental agreement for the same? What should I do to get TIN? Is there option to apply online?Please guide me in this regard.

  55. Yuvraj, Thank you so much for the responses. Yeah those are turned out to be great help.

  56. Hi Hemant,

    The requirement of a TIN number or business registration totally depends on the where you are planning to sell online.

    On your own Online Store

    If you are planning to start selling online through your own e-commerce website then a TIN number or business registration is not mandatory. In India it becomes mandatory to register your own e-commerce venture only after it crosses a turnover of INR 5 lakhs per annum.

    Though a business registration before starting off is always advisable, and if you are not willing to spend much on business registration expenses,you can get a sole proprietor registration done in your name.For details on how to get that done you can refer our blog on the same here.

    On E-commerce Marketplaces

    If you are planning to sell online via major e-commerce marketplaces like flipkart,snapdeal,amazon etc then a TIN/VAT number becomes mandatory as most of these marketplaces have that as a prerequisite for their sellers.But some marketplaces such as shopclues and ebay do not require a VAT/TIN number to get your products listed on them.

    And yes you can apply for a TIN number/business registration online,via services such as

    To read more on why should you get your business registered?, you can go through our post on the same here.

  57. Hi Hemant and Rohan, I was just passing through, thought I could add some input to your queries.
    First thing you should know about VAT that it is a state level duty so each state has their own set of rules and regulations. You might find all your answers on your concerned state sales tax website. Getting a TIN is advisable. In order to have deals with Govt agency, or some well established organization, they might make it mandatory to have TIN. There is a turnover limit prescribed, usually INR 5 lac, till which you don’t need to take TIN. But if you have to buy/sale anything outside of your state, you need to have TIN as per law. Initially you will get SRIN instead of TIN. Yes you can show your residential property as your registered commercial place but subject to you need to prove to the official that you carry out your business from your home. They might come for a inspection too. Most of the state allow online registration, it’s simple and less time consuming. Just get your paperwork ready.

  58. Hi tanya!!!

    Hope you are in good spirits.

    I wanted to ask is there any tool, website or anything by which we could know that what is trending in e-com sector. I mean is there anything by which we could know how watches, kitchenware or apparel are doing on flipkart or snapdeal etc.
    Being precise, for example, i was planning to sell watches on Shopo. Was just curious if those who are already listed watches there are making decent sales or not??

    Thanks in advance!!
    Atul wadhwa.

  59. hi atul, tanya has moved on so rohan will reply. i need to do a fresh page for ecom queries!! soon 🙂

  60. Hi Atul,

    As of now there is no such tool in India which can tell you how a certain category of products are doing ,in terms of sales, on markeptlaces like Flipkart,Snapdeal etc.

    There is this tool though for Amazon US and UK,you might want to check it out,its called Junglescout.

    For online retail,the apparel category has shown maximum growth, followed by electronics, other verticals like lifestyle products(fashion accessories etc),baby products are also catching up.

    Also sales are not solely dependent on the category of the product,it majorly depends on :

    Promotion : How well is your product/brand promoted on these marketplaces or online,for example marketplaces provide the sellers an option of preferential listing or running ads on the homepage.

    Quality and Reviews : The product quality/experience or uniqueness and the user reviews are also responsible to a major extent for getting people to buy your products.

    The above two factors get your brand/products popular among customers,thus eventually getting you higher sales.

    Hope I answered your queries.

    As Asha said, because Tanya has moved this is Rohan from the Zepo team posting on her behalf.

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