Thursday, June 23, 2011

How to Start your online retail business

I've been contemplating for months now, if I'm going to share what I have learned from my years of becoming an  online seller. You might be like me; a member of the middle class; probably a professional, working in a 9 to 5 job, thinking of what my real calling is (for me its fashion) or just not contented of having the minimum wage that we have. As what I learned from the money management seminar that I attended, We have to build up our savings (by setting aside more in our bank accounts or having a sideline or business) to enable us to buys stocks/ shares and later help us get out of the "rat race" :) or the corporate world.  
 DIY take on my site- very amateur but I survived.

Also, having an online business means that most or every transaction is completed entirely in the internet, so as  a budding entrepreneur, you wont have to worry about finding a location, and paying for costs more that what you could actually save. And it would not interfere with your day job, you work about 8-10 hours a day, what's another 2 hours when you get home? :) the best thing is that you are doing what you actually love and get paid for it; you are your own boss!

Maybe you already have ideas flooding through your mind and don't have the capital or you don't know where to start. Here are the steps on how you can start your own retail business, remember our aim is to start with little or no capital at all.

1. FOCUS ON YOUR INTEREST AND YOUR CAPABILITIES- if you're an IT graduate, making website layouts can be the best business for you, you don't need to buy anything, all you need is a great eye for detail, artistry and a little more time. I suggest you sell whatever is available around your house, clothes that were never worn, books that are still in good condition, accessories and bags that you don't feel like using; in that case you won't shed a single peso and will raise enough capital for the things that you REALLY wanted to sell.

2. THINK ABOUT YOUR SHOP NAME- just like when naming anything else, a brand must signify the personality of the people you wanted to market your product to. It took me weeks to figure out what to name my shop, I decided to name it uniquely; in that way a new word is twice as hard to forget. But make sure to check the meaning on the dictionary OK make sure its not a medical jargon for something yucky hahaha!


a. its free!  
b. registration is very easy, you don't need to leave your house. Just check out Gcash in the Globe menu of      your phone and follow the instructions.
c. most buyers have an account and they can easily send their payment to you. 
d. instant verification, a text message will be sent to you as soon as the payment is in your GCash wallet
e. lastly, by applying to have a GCash card, you can withdraw your money in any ATM! which is very convenient!

If you already have more transactions and possibly a bigger budget, you can add other payment options for your shop, I suggest having a separate bank account from your personal savings, I personally recommend BPI and Unionbank, you can both access your accounts through internet banking for easy payment verification; while in Unionbank, you can enroll in their EON account so that it can be integrated with Paypal; an additional payment mode for your shop's future. hehe...

4. OPEN A SEPARATE EMAIL ADD FOR YOUR BUSINESS- Again, so that your personal transactions will not interfere with your business transactions. You should use this one email add and password for anything related with your business. Make sure you create a formal signature below, indicating your name and position and other contact details needed by your customer. 

5. CREATE A XEND EXPRESS ACCOUNT- I highly recommend this courier, though they weren't my first courier when I started the business. But because I was finding cheaper shipping rates for my customers, I stumbled upon this site. The best thing is, they have FREE PICK UP! which is really convenient for me as a nurse, I really don't have much time, going to the mall to send orders. They also transact online, as long as you've opened an account with them. It's also really cool to fill up the waybills online and print them, all you have to do next is schedule for a pick up, and wait for them to arrive at your doorstep. 


a. Multiply- I started selling clothes here, before we just upload pictures and their descriptions. A lot of buyers have Multiply profiles which means a lot of exposure for your products. Now they are already a full e-commerce site, offering sellers to post listings but in turn every purchase will have a Multiply fee of 4% of the total transaction.  This would be a minimal fee for some sellers, but for new entrepreneurs, its still advisable to post products for FREE. :)

b. Ebay Philippines- talk about maximum exposure, a lot of people also turn to Ebay for more budget finds. Its user friendly and it has an integrated invoice, which means less leg work for you. For me, their best feature is the customer feedback ratings, which as a buyer would help you to have inform decisions, before doing any transaction.

c. Ravebug- as taken from their website, is a social marketplace where you can buy and sell items or services, set up your own online store, start your own eCommerce business, share consumer experiences and more. Their still about to formally launch next month so expect some flaws from their system. But if you want beautiful user friendly e-commerce shop, that is FREE this is the platform to go! :) 

7. CREATE AN ONLINE ORDER FORM- sign up with Freedback; this would help you create forms that has CSS codes that you can easily paste in any social media platform. You need a client's shipping information and of course her order, that will be sent to your email. This will also help you have records of your transaction rather than relying on the customer's text message. After checking the client's orders and location, you can now compute for her total billing including the shipping fee, you may now proceed to step 8 :)

8. CREATE AN ONLINE INVOICE- via Aynax, this would benefit your client so that she can see the breakdown of your order and other payment instructions (like you GCash number/ bank account details). This will then be sent to your customer's email and a copy to your Aynax account.

product inventory

9. HAVE A PRODUCT INVENTORY- list down your merchandise, take photos and type your descriptions and prices so that they'll be ready upon your shop's launch :)

10. FINALIZE YOUR SHOP'S TERMS AND CONDITIONS-  This would help you and your clients with their transactions to your store, assure them that you can be contacted for any inquiry. Indicate if you accept returns and exchanges. Most important is that you tell them that their payment is expected in the number of days that you indicated, non compliance would mean that they are not serious with their order.

11. LAUNCH! - It would be nice if you've added a couple of friends/ possible clients in your shop's site. Then you could set a date for your launch. This would also serve a a deadline for you to accomplish.

Final words, remember to utilize what you have in the moment, you just need a sister or a friend that you could photograph your products with; you don't even need a DSLR to have product photos. Save whatever funds that you have and if you've had enough, you could buy the stuff that you need to improve your store. Also, don't forget to have the BEST CUSTOMER SERVICE, this is what will set you apart from any business with the same products that you have.

That's it! You'll also learn more along the way, just enjoy and have fun!

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