Start an Online store & do it without wasting money.
Affordable, no drama, easy to manage, quick integrations, easy to add new functionalities - these are the things you should focus on. Managing a business itself is difficult, why add more complexity?
As of now(2022-03-12), I think instamojo store is the best option for small business in INDIA.
You can get an online store for just around 5000 INR. This is the amount web agencies charge for a very basic static website with not much functionality.
You can either join the basic plan which is only around 5000 rupees. They have other 2 plans that cost around 7000 rupees and 10k rupees respectively.
Even if you go with a free option like, PrestaShop or woo commerce, you will still have to pay for the hosting, domain name, and other services. Which actually will cost you the same, when going for at least decent hosting plan, along with headache of managing the website.
How to start an Online store & do it without wasting money - a guide for India.
Internet is filled with graveyards of old businesses domains(website names).
Many of them online stores are abandoned, and some are not functional.
There is no reason to start an online store spending 50k, when you can get even better one for just few thousand rupees.
But why would a small business spend 50,000 rupees to start such an online store? But ignore & abandon it later.
The answer is simple: usually taken advantage by someone, ignorant of the business, and other better options.
So in this article, I will share my knowledge on how to start an online store without wasting money. I am in this industry for many years and is familiar with the many different online store options.
Own hosting using a custom open source software.
Not the best option for those who have no time or not tech enthusiasts, but it is a good option for those who want to start an online store without spending much money.
There are many free options where the only charge is hosting. So following are some ready-made ecommerce stores(free pieces of software) you can install in your own hosting.
All of these are php based, old and proven methods with lot of support, community and plugins.
Prestashop - php based ecommerce store, with lot of plugins. PrestaShop is a freemium, open source e-commerce platform. The software is published under the Open Software License. It is written in the PHP programming language with support for the MySQL database management system.
OpenCart - another php based software. OpenCart is an online store management system. It is PHP-based, using a MySQL database and HTML components. It is a free software.
Woocommerce - Very common ecommerce store. It is more popular because it is made for WordPress. Many plugins, customisation, and many other features. Best option if you already have a WordPress website.
AbanteCart - created by Pavel Rojkov in 2010 and released to the public in November 2011. It is a free open source electronic commerce application and community based project. It is a PHP-based, open source e-commerce platform.
Pros of using a free software for online store - no extra charges other than hosting and domain registration, full control over the store, can be customized to fit your needs.
Cons of free software self-hosted online stores- need to worry about the security of the website, and the maintenance of the website and everything else, sometimes you have to pay for adding extra features i.e. plugins.
This is the best option for a small business. In subscription based plans, you can get a website for a month, or a year, or a lifetime.
A mobile app that comes with a subscription plan, can be used to manage the store. It is very easy and time saving. You don’t have to worry about anything other than taking orders, shipping and collecting money.
If things are not going well, you can cancel your subscription at any time.
Some of the best such options are:
Shoppify store - very popular subscription based ecommerce store. Pricing is bit high but it is very easy to use. Soo many features for not only selling products, but also managing the store, dropshipping etc and more.
Instamojo store - As i mentioned earlier, it is a subscription based ecommerce store. I use it for my website and is a very affordable option for small business. You can use them just as a payment gateway or both payment gateway and ecommerce store.
Pros of subscription based online stores - no worry about the security of the website, and the maintenance, and you can cancel your subscription at any time.
Cons of subscription online stores- monthly charges, limited functionality if you chose the basic plan.
Custom-building website for ecommerce.
Reinventing the wheel is not the best idea. But if the startup is very different in terms of concept and infra then it is a good idea to start with a custom-built website.
If you give a contract to a web developer, they most likely use one of the same tech mentioned above, but you get better customized website.
Reasons build an online store from scratch - full control over the store, custom requirements gets done, custom designs always get customers attention.
Cons - costly to build, costly to maintain, need a team(or constantly pay web agency) always to be there to maintain the website.