The Why & How Of eCommerce
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Making $100’s or $1,000’s of extra income each month can hardly harm anyone and it’s completely possible and there’s numerous people doing it every day with e-commerce websites. Online retail sales keep increasing year after year, so there hasn’t been a better time than now to turn to this business opportunity.
Pakistan, although a late entrant to the world of e-commerce, has recently recorded an exponential growth in online shopping trends and other e-commerce businesses over the past few years. We can owe this increase to Pakistan’s much-awaited entry into 3G and LTE services in 2014. With many new and existing organizations, businesses, and customers according to estimate US$30 million is being spent on online purchases. Pakistan’s e-commerce market is expected to reach over US$600 million by 2017.The growth trend has been observed throughout the region with e-commerce giants like India’s FlipKart raising USD1 billion in investment and China’s Alibaba with a estimated market capitalization over USD 250 billion.
Starting an eCommerce website might sound like a huge undertaking, but it’s not as hard as one may think. The points highlighted below are helpful in understanding the process:
• Choosing an Industry and Product. This is usually the hardest step of the process and can cause a lot of headache. Choosing the right product to sell online can have a huge impact on whether or not your eCommerce website is successful. But with millions of different products available and so much competition, its worth the time and effort to take time deciding what to sell. Before deciding the product to sell or the industry , one must also know the profit margin in the sale of that.

• Passion towards the industry is often overlooked but is usually a strong indicator of success. Starting and growing an online business or an eCommerce website always comes with a series of obstacles and frustrations. Passion for your industry can be the driving force to help push through challenges that arise. Running an eCommerce website that falls in the area of your personal interest or hobbies can be a sound plan for success.

• Deciding the price of the product is an extremely important step. If the product is priced too low it will be challenging to reach a positive ROI. If it’s too high (over USD500-1000) , customers might want to speak with someone over the phone or through live chat prior to purchasing to avoid scams over the internet. There is added time and money required for this customer support requires but can pay for itself 10 times over. An important part to be considered while pricing a product is calculating the taxes that will be applied on it.

• Deciding the profit margin: The profit margin can vary greatly depending on the industry. For example, electronics typically have thinner margins while phone accessories are often marked up more than double. This stage usually requires contacting the manufacturer directly or signing up with a distributor to settle on the profit margin.

• Product being exclusively available : Generally speaking it’s easier to drive sales online when the product can’t be bought in local stores because if the customers can’t get it locally then they must go online to purchase.

• Shipping Size : Bigger and heavier products tend to have high shipping costs which can negatively affect sales. Customers mostly only want free shipping and for this reason it can be difficult to sell a product with a hefty shipping fee. Products that are smaller and don’t require expensive shipping costs can help drive better sales . The practice of offering free shipping by increasing price by some manufacturers also tends to have negative impact on sales.
• After identifying which products to sell comes the stage to find out it’s manufactures. There are a few different methods of finding manufacturers that can save a lot of time. Powerful search engines like google shopping or online directories of suppliers can make the job a lot easier.
• After short-listing the manufactures comes the stage to start contacting them to resell their products. Not all manufacturers trust people who are just starting out since they don’t have any track record of sales. Larger manufacturers are harder to work with at this stage as they usually want to know previous experience so starting out with smaller manufacturers or distributors or those with relatively simpler requirements is a better strategy.
• Finally it all boils down to choosing an efficient and trustworthy service for delivery of products because a good ordered online is only useful if it gets delivered safely and on time. Offering a return/exchange option is a good way to earn customer satisfaction.
• Since the start of branchless banking and online payments from banks and branchless banking from various telecom operators online payments have become more of a norm but Cash-on-Delivery(COD) methods continue to remain widely popular in Pakistan accounting for more than 95% of online purchases.
The success of any online business or eCommerce website at the end of the day is determined by the trust of consumers which can be achieved through dedication to good practice.

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