How to Start an eCommerce Store in India

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Are you already selling things offline? Do you want to start selling to the whole country? Then perhaps it’s time to create an online store. But you have absolutely no idea how to create an online store and how much it will cost you. Not to worry. We will help you out.

In India, you have several options to create an online store. The choices at your disposal are as follows:

WordPress Based eCommerce Store (Good for <50 products)

If you do not have a huge number of products to sell and your website is not a simple ecommerce store then wordpress is a good choice to create an ecommerce store because wordpress is very very easy to configure.

To create the store, follow the following steps:

  1. Buy a suitable Webhost
  2. Install WordPress
  3. Install WooCommerce
  4. Configure your theme if it is not already Woo Commerce compliant. (Very simple task)
  5. Buy PayU Payment Gateway system
  6. Install PayU WooCommerce Plugin

You’re all set.

Approximate Cost: If you hire someone to create this for you, it will cost you close to Rs 30,000 to set everything up and subsequent annual charges will be Rs 10,000/-

Cloud Based eCommerce Store (Good if you are a novice and do not wish to hire someone to set this up for you)

A cloud based eCommerce store is essentially just an eCommerce store hosted on a website such as shopify.in or zepo.in

The biggest advantage with a cloud based store is that you can start selling products in as little as 3 days. The only downside with them is that your options are limited by whatever the platform offers you. This can be critical because when you’re marketing your store, you don’t want to be restricted. The other downside is that you have to invest way more money in the long term than you would if you self hosted your website.

Approximate Cost: Annual cost for a site which can host <200 products is approximate Rs 25,000

Even with this relatively high cost, it is highly recommended you choose this option if you’re very sure you want to keep things as simple as possible for yourself and don’t want to hire a developer.

Full Blown, Self Hosted, Flipkart like eCommerce Store

Finally, we come to the big daddy of all options. If you wish to create an eCommerce store which allows you to sell as many things as you like and does not put any restrictions, then this is the perfect choice for you. These are the steps involved in creating such a store:

  1. Buy a suitable Webhost
  2. Install Prestashop
  3. Buy EBS Payment Gateway system
  4. Install EBS for Prestashop Plugin

I recommend Prestashop because it is a perfect eCommerce platform and is extremely fast as well. It is also, relatively user friendly than other comparable eCommerce frameworks such as Magento or Zencart. And of course, it is free.

Approximate Cost: If you hire someone to create a Prestashop based eCommerce store, you will also require training to use it. Total cost will be approximately Rs 40,000. Subsequent annual cost will again be Rs 10,000

You should go for Prestashop based self hosted eCommerce store if you plan to sell 500+ products right from the word go. But if you feel you have limited number of products to sell, you should start with a Cloud Based Hosting since it will save you both time and money initially. And if your website is primarily not an eCommerce site, use WordPress with right plugins.


About the Author

Siddharth Goyal is "web development and internet marketing" trainer and is the founder of The Webinstitute and is also the digital operations consultant at Nurture Talent Academy. He worked full time with the National Digital Operations Center (IT Cell) of the Bhartiya Janata Party during the 2014 general elections where he worked closely with the social media (during Delhi elections) as well as the ground team.

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