I’m working on a updated version of this article and will publish it soon.
Indian e-commerce sector is booming. I see a new online store every week. Facebook ads are filled by new cloths, electronics, footwear etc.
You need at least these four:
- Product Catalog
- e-commerce Cart/Software/Platform
- Payment Gateways
- Shipping and Fulfillment services
These are basic requirements for setting up the store. I’ll cover these requirements below. Note: I’m only covering the Technical part here. Marketing, Legal and management advises are not covered.
What I’m going to recommend is only suitable for Small Business owners and applicable if you’ve a small team (or only you), small budget and some cool products.
If you’ve got a good budget and big team, I would recommend to you consult the e-commerce Developers. They may have better solutions to suit your requirements.
A product catalog is the list of products which you’re going to sell. You can think about creating a sheet of Products and their different attributes such as SKUs, colors, size, weight etc.
I recommend using Google Product Feed Specification because it’s being used by many carts. When you’ve got your Product Catalog (Usually an excel sheet), you can import into Shopping platforms and all the data will be copied.
I’ve joined the Platform and supported gateways together. Note: I’m not reviewing any Payment Gateways here .
No doubt, Shopify is the easiest way to start your own store. It’s more merchant friendly and has bigger integration portfolio. It has wonderful support for mobile devices. Shopify also offers support for Mobile Commerce and your customer can shop using their mobile.
DirecyPay used to be the single option as a payment gateway for Indian retailers. Shopify recently added PayU as additional payment gateway and now things are easier.
- Easiest and fastest
- Mobile Commerce
- Awesome Support (Phone/Email/Forum)
- Hosted Platform (No need for IT team/person and hosting)
- Suitable for even one-man Business
- Apps marketplace has more services than any other platform
- Beautiful themes and designs
Transaction Cost (Not applicable if you’ve upgraded plan)
Most of the Indian stores are using Magento. Magento is powerful, open source and free for community edition. It’s feature packed and integrates with lots of services to offer a good merchant experience.
It has some modules which support Indian Payment gateways.
- Self-hosted (Offers more control and no recurring charges for software)
- Feature packed platform
- Multiple Payment Gateway support
- Integration with many services
- Self-hosted software (Requires IT team/person and hosting)
- Support (Community edition only has forum support)
- UI is not good as other platforms
- Complicated coding (requires Magento specialized developer to add something or functionality)
- Free Payment Gateway
- Excellent support
- Bluedart Support for Shipping
- Works with all payment gateways
- affordable pricing (Costs just as much as your regular hosting)
- Still need some work with design
I feel sad here. If you’ve ever used UPS, FedEx or Amazon, you’ll have the same feeling. As much as I know, no platform seamlessly integrates with any shipping or fulfillment services in India.
Services like Flipkart etc let you check your order status but you’ve to open the carrier website for shipment tracking and you can offer the same service.
You can think about offering COD (Cash on Delivery) and fixed or free shipping to make this easy.
These are some other platform worth mentioning. I don’t have any personal experience with them but they are generating good amount of buzz.