Resources for Small Business

Top 9 Myths of Selling Online – Busted!

Thanks to a whopping $853 million influx of VC funds, the ecommerce story in India has grown leaps and bounds. Now, owing to FDI rules and drawbacks of inventory-based model, ecommerce companies are increasingly moving towards the marketplace model. And this means, they are looking for you – “small businesses” – to list and sell your products on their sites.

Also, many of the people who buy from you offline are going online. They are increasingly searching, browsing and buying products online similar to yours. Considering these, for any merchant, selling online would be the wise thing to do. But still there are loads of misconceptions and apprehensions around selling online especially among small businesses.

Being a part of Team Zepo, we come across many such misconceptions everyday. So, its time to clear the air by busting some of the top myths surrounding online selling.

Myth 1: My business and products are not suited for selling online.

Busted: Unless you plan to sell drugs, porn or alcohol, pretty much anything from kites to prasad, and wigs to vegetables can be sold online. All you need to check is if you have enough margin to cover the costs of selling online.

Myth 2: Setting up an online store is not my cup of tea. I would need a full-fledged team – like a designer, a tech co-founder, etc.

Busted: Ecommerce platforms can help you set up an online store in 5 minutes- time taken to finish that cup of tea. Also they come pre-loaded with a variety of themes which can be used or changed with a click of a button. And if the platform you choose is ‘AWESOME’, then it can be managed with the same ease as your Facebook profile. You don’t need an assistant to do that, do you?

Myth 3: People are afraid to use credit cards online.

Busted: People are increasingly buying online. This is proven by the fact that the Govt. run e-ticketing site IRCTC clocked Rs.170 crore worth of online ticket bookings in the FY12. And then there is ecommerce behemoth Flipkart which sells 20 products every minute and is targeting sales of Rs. 1000 crores by this year end.

Myth 4: Since I have not registered my business, I cannot sell online.

Busted: The only issue unregistered businesses faced was getting a Payment Gateway A/c. But now even that problem is solved. Thanks to PayU Paisa which gives you a PG service even if you are not a registered business.

Myth 5: I need hundreds of awesome features on my site to complete and do business

Busted: Ecommerce industry has quite a few stores which contradict this myth. There are many stores doing a 6-7 figure business a month and growing with minimal set of features and hardly any added customization. What matters the most is your product and how user-friendly your site is. Hundreds of jazzy features like drag-and-drop and 360-degree view are all secondary.

Myth 6: Payment gateways and logistics are a big pain to handle and also very expensive.

Busted: Some ecommerce platforms offer logistics support at a highly discounted price and also offer free payment gateway. With the ever growing number of PG companies, innovative payment options like GharPay and Logistics companies opening up to ecommerce like the old horse India Post, it shouldn’t be a pain to find the ideal fit which sits in your budget.

Myth 7: But acquiring customers is very expensive.

Busted: You can start with digitizing your own offline customer data base. You can also start selling on marketplaces and thus acquire customers from there by riding on their marketing budgets. Other cost-effective ways of acquiring customer would be to promote via social media, blogging, affiliate marketing, sending newsletters and more.

Myth 8: Selling on online marketplaces is a loss-making proposition, as they ask for huge discounts. 

Busted: The rule of business is simple – generate profits. No merchant will want to sell his/her wares at a loss. This is understood by the marketplace companies as well. The cost of the discounts and deals offered by them to their customers is never passed on to the end seller. It is absorbed as a marketing cost by the ecommerce company.

Myth 9: Online selling is an additional chore. It adds no value to my brick-and-mortar store.

Busted: Online selling is a medium which opens up your business to hoards of new customers and is a great channel to build your brand. It also helps you shed the non-selling stocks with its wide range of customer base.

Got more myths? Let’s bust them!

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Tanya Rao

Tanya Rao

Curious Growth Hacker @ Zepo. Traveller. Foodie. Cider Lover. Social Media Enthusiast. Audiophile at the Cellular Level. Start-up Kid. Sarcasm is First Language. Madness Personified. Love Mondays.

  • Jon Piter

    This is the perfect post to comment on because its based on exactly the same topic as what i have written about Pandharpur Online Darshan

  • Hi Rakesh,

    The myth in particular was trying to address a concern that unregistered businesses are not able to get payment gateways for their businesses. PayU Money has helped us solve that.

    As for selling inter-state, yes CST registration is definitely required.

  • Rakesh Negi

    I dont agree with your answer for Myth 4. A unregistred seller cant sell to other states. He must got registered with CST. For same state he can still do business upto 5 Lac but not other states.