Online stores have grown in popularity over the last few years in Nepal. The South-Asian retail giant Daraz currently dominates the online marketplace here. However, other websites like Sastodeal and Hamrobazaar also have a fair share of the market. Especially now, during the pandemic, starting an online store is a good idea. It is pretty much the only market worthy of investing in right now. With the advent of digital wallets like Esewa and Khalti, the e-commerce space in Nepal is taking a steep upward slope.
If you are thinking of starting an online business and already have a skeleton plan, these guidelines will help you reach your goal more effectively.
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Although E-commerce is rapidly growing in Nepal, it is still an infant market. Hence, laws and regulations are scarce at best. This may be bad news for consumers, but it is certainly good news for you. If your online store is a small personal store, you don’t need to worry much about the legality behind it. If you want to start a legitimate business though, you will have to go through the process of registering a business in Nepal. Refer to our article here.
Be sure to consult a law firm if your business is large-scale. In this article, I have assumed that you have already got the legal/ proprietorship issues figured out and just want to move to the online space.
Domain name and creating a website
You will have to decide on a website name first. You will want a high yielding, a short and sweet name that will get you frequent clicks online. Be sure to capture your domain name as soon as possible so that you get what you want and won’t have to go through the frustration of choosing a different name. If you are a total beginner and don’t know anything about websites you should read this article first. Come back after knowing everything about websites.
Think about your products
The core of every online store is, of course, the products. The type of products you offer determines the way you do business. For example, if you sell items that are currently very hot, you might generate some serious revenue in a very short time, but what is the long term plan with your store? And if, on the other hand, you sell some very niche items that only attract collectors or die-hard fans, it could mean that your items stay in your warehouse for a very long time. Can you afford this?
Think about dealerships, and how much it will cost you. Differentiate between a local dealer and an international one, analyze which one is right for you. Remember cost-benefit analysis is integral to any business’s success.
One of the challenging aspects of online shops is managing orders effectively. Firstly, think about how you will send out orders. Are you delivering them personally? Will you hire other people? You might know how to send a parcel, but what if a huge amount of orders come in? You will have to be swift to provide the best customer experience. Think big, and prepare solutions beforehand so that your business doesn’t suffer.
Decide on payment methods
You will want to decide what methods you want to collect payment from. Will you accept hand-to-hand payment, will you use Digital payment? You will have to open a current account for your business if you want to use bank transfer. I certainly recommend you do this. Only using digital payment is risky and hand-to-hand is pretty outdated anyway. Especially if your products don’t require physical delivery, online transactions will be the core of your business.
After you have everything set up, now you will have to think about the real stuff. How will you get customers? Fortunately, there are a plethora of options online for you to promote your product. The first thing you need to do is attracting visitors to your online shop. The more the visitors, the higher the customers, the higher your revenue. You can use tools like SEO, social media adverts, promotion through friends and family among other things.
Whatever you do, don’t sit idle. Take courses on entrepreneurship, grow yourself and your business with you. If you want a guideline to start here’s my article on entrepreneurship courses. Actively promote your business online and grow your profits.