The impact of COVID-19 is widespread. Irrespective of the industry your retail business is in, the slowdown has surely impacted your sales and the coming months seem unpredictable in terms of business growth. This is when most of you are thinking on the lines of how to start an online store in India.

Where retail experts on Economic Times and GQ say that it’s going to take more than a year for the retail industry to revive, the current circumstances highlight the shift of consumer behaviour to online shopping more than ever. Especially with the news of the lockdown opening for even non-necessity businesses after April 20th.

In this comprehensive guide, we’re sharing every little detail about how to start an online store for your fashion and clothing business to prepare for the new normal and succeed at it.

Starting an online store in India involves several steps, from planning your business and selecting products to setting up your online presence and marketing your store. Here’s a detailed guide to help you get started:

1. Research and Planning

  • Market Research: Identify the market demand, competition, and target audience for your products.
  • Product Selection: Choose the products you want to sell. Consider sourcing, quality, and pricing.
  • Business Plan: Create a business plan outlining your business goals, strategies, target market, and financial projections.

2. Legal Requirements

  • Business Registration: Register your business. You can start as a sole proprietorship, partnership, or private limited company.
  • GST Registration: Register for Goods and Services Tax (GST) if your turnover exceeds the threshold limit.
  • Other Licenses: Obtain any other necessary licenses or permits, depending on your product category.

3. Setting Up the Online Store

  • Domain Name: Choose and register a domain name that reflects your brand.
    Hosting: Select a reliable web hosting provider.
  • E-commerce Platform: Choose an e-commerce platform like Shopify, WooCommerce, Magento, or BigCommerce. These platforms offer various tools to set up and manage your store.
  • Website Design: Design your website with a user-friendly interface. Ensure it is mobile-responsive, easy to navigate, and visually appealing.
  • Product Listings: Create detailed product listings with high-quality images, descriptions, and prices.

4. Payment Gateway and Shipping

  • Payment Gateway: Integrate a secure payment gateway to accept online payments. Popular options in India include Paytm, Razorpay, and PayU.
  • Shipping and Logistics: Partner with reliable courier services for shipping. Consider options like Delhivery, Blue Dart, and India Post. Set clear shipping policies and rates.

5. Marketing and Promotion

  • SEO: Optimize your website for search engines to improve visibility.
  • Social Media: Use social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to promote your products and engage with customers.
  • Email Marketing: Build an email list and send newsletters, promotions, and updates to your subscribers.
  • Online Advertising: Invest in online advertising through Google Ads, Facebook Ads, and other platforms to drive traffic to your store.
  • Content Marketing: Start a blog or create videos to provide valuable content related to your products and industry.

6. Customer Service

  • Customer Support: Provide excellent customer support through various channels like email, phone, and live chat.
  • Return Policy: Clearly define your return and refund policies to build trust with customers.
  • Reviews and Feedback: Encourage customers to leave reviews and feedback to improve your products and services.

7. Monitoring and Improvement

  • Analytics: Use tools like Google Analytics to monitor your website traffic, sales, and customer behavior.
  • Continuous Improvement: Regularly update your product offerings, website design, and marketing strategies based on customer feedback and market trends.

Additional Tips

  • Legal and Tax Compliance: Stay updated with legal and tax regulations to ensure compliance.
  • Security: Implement security measures to protect customer data and prevent cyber threats.
  • Scalability: Plan for scalability to handle increased traffic and sales as your business grows.
By following these steps and continuously adapting to market trends and customer needs, you can successfully start and grow your online store in India.