In light of the recent pandemic, any business that wants to survive has had to move online in some capacity. It has become inevitable that we all have an online presence. Here’s a brief guide that I hope will help you if you’re looking to moving your work online during this season.
Without beating around the bush, let’s get started.
Step 1 is to Strategise. You need to figure out how can you move what you are doing online. Broadly, we can categories businesses into products and services. To begin with, lets address products in this article and move on to services in the next.
If you are selling products - you need to look at how you can set up online selling process. Here’s a few things you need and should consider first :
Manufacturing & Stocking: What is your manufacturing and stocking process? Has your manufacturing process been affected? Are you a small business with products stocked in your garage? Do you need a warehousing facility?
Fulfilment: How are you going to manage the receiving, processing and delivery of your orders?
Taxation: Look into the laws of your country when it comes to online sales. You may be required to charge and pay GST.
If you are a small business and have your manufacturing and delivery sorted, taking orders could be as easy as sending out emails or WhatsApp messages saying you are selling your products and collecting payments by sending customers a payment link. You could use stripe or Paypal or whatever your favourite method of online money collection is. When you have a larger volume of sales coming in, this might be inconvenient to manage.
You could also have a more formal system in place where you need to look at building a store. Having an online storefront can also boost your credibility as a brand and help you make up for the downtime you may be facing this season.
If you don't have a fulfilment plan in place: If you want to kill a few birds with one stone you might want to get on a platform like amazon that will handle warehousing and fulfilling. You can also look at a service like ECWID which allows you to embed your store in multiple places. If you sell through a fulfilment service like amazon, keep in mind that they are taking a relatively large percentage / fee from you in order to provide you with these services.
If your manufacturing, stocking and fulfilment plan sorted. You need:
1. An online platform to sell (see part 2)
2. You need a payment gateway to process payments. If you are fulfilling your orders independently, you need a platform to receive payments.
You need to set up a payment gateway that can be integrated with your online store.
This is your methodology of receiving money from your customer online and to your bank account. examples are paypal, stripe, payU etc. Keep in mind the these platforms will take 2-3 % on an average of your revenue.
3. You need to tie up with a delivery partner if you are fulfilling orders on your own. Look into your local post and courier options and look into how much this is going to cost you per delivery. This will also help you calculate the shipping costs for your products.
If you're ready to set up that online store - go to the next article and I'll take you through your options.