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How to start an eCommerce Business in Nepal

Published Date: 2020-07-30

How to start an eCommerce Business in Nepal
With the motive to aid business owners and online entrepreneurs get started and set up an eCommerce store, we have come up with “How to start an eCommerce business in Nepal”. Making it possible to build an ample virtual storefront with branded products and global equipment, eCommerce has an ability to incorporate the global market. To ensure that you have a smooth ride during an eCommerce business, we have put together these step-by-step tactics. Feel free to exploit the information here to set up your own eCommerce store in a legal way with finances in order. 

Is there anything else more worthwhile than watching a business grow that you started from nothing? 

First, You have to know that starting an eCommerce business is so much more than picking a brand name, listing and online selling of the products .In this  modern world reigned by eCommerce celebrities like Amazon, having to visit physical stores is becoming far fetched. And, this is where the online shopping section of eCommerce comes in handy.


 
Before moving forward, let’s clear a popular misconception- eCommerce business is so much more than just online shopping. It is eclectic and encompasses several activities like Payment gateways, online ticketing, online auctions, internet banking etcetera. These all are the fields that you can research, explore and choose from as your eCommerce business.

Slightly Looking at the history, the humongous growth  of eCommerce is simply undeniable and so is the journey of  eCommerce sensations like Jeff Bezos (founder of Amazon), Jack Ma (founder of Alibaba) and so many others. Guess where they started? Yup, from scratch it is!!

The best of the best ideas in the eCommerce market are stuck simply because people don’t know how to get started or can’t find the correct information to begin. If you are one of those people, this blog is for you. 

Follow this blog for a step-by-step guide and instruction on How to Start an eCommerce business store in Nepal. 

Research the Basics of eCommerce business for perfect Business plan

If you start your eCommerce store with just  hunches and intuitions rather than core research, the chance of your business failing will be more. 
When you start any online business, money should not be the only thing you  invest into it. Researching every possible aspect is a key and first vital step toward a successful and long running business.
Research on the business structures and models before finally settling on the perfect business plan. While deciding what you want to sell online you should also understand the business models available simultaneously or even beforehand. 
Along with the business models,  some of the additional topics that your research should cover are- 

Find opportunistic place to flourish

After figuring out the business plan, it’s important that you know who your contemporaries are and how they are executing their eCommerce business. You have to keep tabs of the opportunistic places where your business can flourish. 

Discovering untapped market place to gain movers advantage

When you explore a market field that hasn't been touched much,you have different advantages of the first movers.  
In 1994 Pizza Hut was the first to start a trend and accept an online food order. Likewise, Amazon began selling almost everything online to almost everybody. These are some of the companies to enjoy the first mover status and untapped market advantages.
Though it’s not sure how your eCommerce business is going to work out in an untapped market, due to lack of competitors, you are likely to succeed, can build brand recognition and garner loyalty from customers and clients if your business idea is creative and thoughtful ,encompassing the need of the public. 
Hence, discovering untapped marketplace to gain movers advantage can workout for you so make sure you research it properly.  
Nepal is a hub/center of untapped business and market opportunities so even if you start a small novel eCommerce business, there’s a good chance that it will become one of  the next big things in the eCommerce business field of Nepal. Foodmandu entered into the untapped online business of online food systems in Nepal. It began a trend in Nepali market. 
 

Thoroughly generalize similar eCommerce Business for their shortcomings.  


The other thing you can do for establishing an eCommerce Business that will do well in the long run is to be updated  on your contemporaries. Explaining this, find out some eCommerce Business with similar products and services and garner as much information about them. Research about their best practices and what separates them apart from the rest of the existing business, research about their shortcomings and what you can do better. 

Determine  the location coverage of your business

So a global question- Does location even matter for eCommerce business?
Seeing surfacely, location might not seem as important of an issue for eCommerce. When one takes a closer look, one of the attributes to judge the success of eCommerce Business in the present era is the speed of delivery. 
The fast and even same day delivery capabilities depend upon location and market access. So even though Location is not as big of an issue as compared to a physical store, it is still quite important and needs proper research.
For an effective eCommerce business that will stand out from the day you establish it, you need to learn about the possible audience of the product and their location coverage.  
 
That way, you can have a rough calculation of sales and have a store easily accessible to the audience. This will help you deliver the products to your audience as fast as possible increasing your goodwill to them which is very important if you want your eCommerce business to be successful in the long term.   You have to choose a location with proper trade off -cost and accessibility.
Determine the location coverage of your business and check how feasible it is. 
For instance,  for the popular eCommerce business in Nepal known as Mero Shopping, the goods or products can be delivered in a single day or additional few days depending upon the delivery location and the store of Mero Shopping nearest to it. 

Know your market size for the target area

Be it physical business/retail shop or  eCommerce business or even software companies at that, knowing your potential audience and market size is key to your success.
 Before starting an eCommerce store,You have to know your market size for the target area so that you can have proper approximation of product , distribution and employees to begin with.  The ways of knowing your market size are defining/ knowing the scope of your product and estimating the market size for your eCommerce business. 

Know your potential audiences and their preferences


Every entrepreneur should define their target customer. Doing the following you can know your potential audiences and their preferences. 
  1. Define and determine your targeted and potential audiences/customers.
  2. Build a profile of your potential customers by putting yourself in their shoes.
  3. Plan for the long run
If you don’t attentively plan for the long run of your eCommerce business, the chances are it won’t have a long run. For starters , you can do the following while planning for the long run.
  1. Know your potential audiences, their preferences and estimate their number
  2. Know and understand your market potential while being realistic about it. 
  3. Product creation and quality maintenance
  4. Stay updated on the work of your contemporaries.
 

Get secure with reliable single and multi vendor marketplaces

Depending upon your budget and preference, you can opt for a single vendor or a multi vendor eCommerce store. Each of these business models have some pros and cons. What you have to do is research every part, reach out to many single vendors as well as multi vendor marketplaces and pick wisely what is best suited for you. 

Single vendor Marketplace

Given that this kind of eCommerce Business model incorporates only 2 entities i.e. single seller selling vending products to multiple customers , it is relatively easy to keep tabs on. Also, when you have to pay a single supplier, the administrative costs are lower. 

In Nepal one of the successful eCommerce single vendor marketplace  is Mero Shopping. 

Multi vendor Marketplace

Multi Vendor Marketplace comprises 3 entities- Vendor, Customer and Admin/Administrator. As the name suggests, Multi vendor Marketplace comprises multiple sellers/Vendors selling products to numerous customers through a marketplace that is owned by an administrator. 

Daraz is one of the renowned eCommerce Multi Vendor Marketplace in Nepal. 

One of the prime advantages of Multi Vendor Marketplace over single vendors is how you have other supplies to depend on or fall back on in the case of emergencies. Do comment below and let us know which marketplace option turned out to be more viable for you.

Convenient payment methods to be used.

You can research on different existing eCommerce businesses in Nepal to find out about the payment methods used by them. This technological era of digital wallets like mobile banking has made several payment methods possible for eCommerce business in Nepal. 
Some of the top payment methods that you can choose from are- 
  1. Credit Cards:  According to current research only 1% to total eCommerce business users in Nepal go for this payment method
  2. Wire/Bank Transfer: only 2% of total eCommerce users go for this. Even eCommerce businesses opting for this mode of payment are quite few. 
  3. Digital payment methods: About 10% of total eCommerce users go for this method. eSewa, HelloPAISA, Khalti are some popular digital payment gateways used for eCommerce business in Nepal. 
  4. Muncha Money Transfer /iPay: Few eCommerce businesses keep this option for small money payment. About 2% of total eCommerce users in Nepal opt for this method. 
  5. Cash on delivery: We have saved the best for the last.  This is the most po[pular payment method in Nepal and is used by about 85% of total eCommerce users in Nepal. 

 Make your Business Plan focusing on Personal    Branding

  • Allocate your budget and resources
After making a decision on a product and business model, you have to allocate your budget and resources for your eCommerce Business. While Allocating  your budget, keep in mind whether your eCommerce Business will have a single product line or multiple product lines. 
Make sure you invest on correct resources within your budget rather than just filling your store with anything you come across without regards to your budget. 

Come up with unique Brand Name which is short and easy to remember

This is another extremely important thing. The brand name that you pick for your business should be - 
  1. Brief and easy to remember
  2. Unique and intriguing
Also, make sure you don’t leave picking a brand name to the last       minute. While deciding on a brand name, you can also work for an appropriate logo that works with that name. 

Choose appropriate type of Company

Choose appropriate type of company for you eCommerce business basing it on the 
  •     how you want to run it-  independently or with partners
  •     liability
  •     Ownership
  •     Members
  •     incorporations.
The main types of company in Nepal are; 
  1. Sole proprietorship firms.
  2. Co-operative companies
  3. Partnership firms
  4. Private and public limited companies
 

Get ready and covered for any mishappenings

  As they say “Hope for the best, prepare for the worst”. Business is an unsure thing especially in its initial states. So, to be on safe side, you have to get ready and covered for any mishappenings. Have some other plans and a side budget if things don’t go as planned. This will save you a lot of headache and trouble on the later days of your business.

Registration of Your Ecommerce Business

Registering your eCommerce business provides you  some tax benefits as well as legal protections. Registration of your eCommerce Business can cost you around NRS. 25000.  You can hire a lawyer to register your eCommerce Business and get done with all the legal formalities while starting an eCommerce Business. 
Steps to register your eCommerce business are- 
  1. Get approval from relevant departments and the nearest local municipal corporation office for license or permit to run eCommerce business. 
  2. Register with the tax office TDS (Tax Deducted at Source). 

Open Bank Account for your business

After registering your business officially, it’s time to open a bank account for your business. You can open an account with the official name of the company in any of the A-classed banks of Nepal i.e. commercial banks. 
Organise all your legal documents- all of passports/citizenship certificate/driving license, evidence of address, company formation documents, tax IDs, bank statements and licenses for opening bank accounts . 
Once your bank account is set and ready, you can begin listing products as well as operate a convenient online payment gateway.

Build an Ecommerce website

You can go for pre-built templates and platforms for building your eCommerce website. You can also build an eCommerce website from scratch. Building a website from scratch gives you a lot of flexibility and features. You have a lot of options from themes, backgrounds etcetera.
  •   Use an existing/pre-built platform. 
Using some readymade templates that popular pre built sites like Wix, web.com, wordpress etcetera you can build an eCommerce website. 
This way will save you time as well as resources. You can edit some features,   add some information and get yourself a brand new website. However, your website might be less flexible.
  • Building an eCommerce website from scratch 
 If you want to design your whole website while navigating every aspect of it, you have to build an eCommerce website from scratch for your business. You can use everything from font to color to images to explain your business idea . 
 If you want to build an eCommerce website from scratch but you don’t know anything about it nor you want to spend your time on this you can research a trustworthy website development company like WeblinkNepal etcetera  to take care of this for you. Researching you will see that there are plenty of those. 
Just do your research and make sure that your eCommerce website is appealing in terms of look as well as functionalities like responsive pages etcetera. 

 Best Online payment gateway for ecommerce in Nepal

This technological era has made it possible for people to  pay their bills without visiting the store by the means of online payment gateway. Using the online payment gateway for eCommerce provides flexibility to the customers thus making them loyal to your eCommerce. 
Some of the best online Payment gateway for eCommerce in Nepal are: 
  1. National payment gateway-  esewa, A-classed banks of nepal etcetera. 
  2. International payment gateway: Khalti, Himalayan bank, Nabil bank etcetera. 

Courier Companies in Nepal for Ecommerce Websites

So let's first understand- what is logistics ? Proper planning and execution of transporting goods form point of origin i.e. source to point of consumption i.e destination is called as Logistics. Logistic is an extremely important leg of eCommerce business with an aim to satisfy customer requirements with both time and cost in mind.

Since you can keep tabs on your products in their transit until delivered to customer through logistics, figuring out logistics is very important for your ecommerce business.  

Some of the popular logistic services of Nepal are - Fast Movers Pvt. Ltd., Nepal Can Move etcetera. 
7. How to attract customers to your website?
If you're here reading this post on starting an eCommerce website, You probably know that just making a website is nearly enough if you want adequate customers to visit your website. For people to flood in your website, you have to follow some traffic increasing statistics like SEO. Getting decent traffic is crucial for your eCommerce website and business to flourish.

 Utilize SEO marketing

Proper SEO-Search Engine Optimization helps your website to attract the customers to your website. SEO is the present as well as future of digital marketing that has been heavily exploited by the best and most successful eCommerce sites. 
And guess what if Amazon being an eCommerce giant does it, you should too. 
        If you want to know furthermore about digital marketing and SEO contact us in this number...
  •   Social media advertisements
Given the extensive number of social media for instance - facebook, instagram, linked in etcetera users from Nepal, social media advertisements can promote your websites and thus bringing customers to your eCommerce business. Paying a certain amount you can occupy the feed of these social media users thus grabbing the customer eyeball. 
 
  • Publicity and promotions
When your eCommerce business is not a common thing and is still struggling to thrive, you might have to consider promotions of it in Televisions and radio programs. 
Since Nepal is still developing, this is still very much a trend . You can make a short promotion with an effective story to grab the attention of your prospect customer through these promotion videos, posters or bulletins.

Monitor your Key Performance Indicators

For a successful initiation and run of your eCommerce Business, keep in your mind to constantly monitor your key performance indicators. These performance indicators you have to keep track of are -
  1.  The number of customers- Is it growing or steady or decreasing?
  2. The traffic that your website is getting- Generate a curve for easy inspection.
  3. Conversion funnel 
  4. Gross profit
  5. Shopping Cart abandonment rates. 
  6. Customer lifetime value 
Collect Information to Evolve

This technological world requires you to be updated and evolve if you want to be successful in any business and eCommerce business is not an exception. 
You have to collect data regarding every possible attribute of your eCommerce business like number of customers,surveys ,feedback from the customers etcetera. Collecting this information , we need to be realistic and positive about it so that we can learn from it and grow.

Using productivity tools for  your eCommerce team

eCommerce business is a highly competitive business.So,  If you want your eCommerce business to last run while being on top, your eCommerce team needs to be highly productive and updated on the emerging technologies.  Here we present to you some of the productivity tools that will assist you in better customer support , day to day operations, collaboration with teammates, marketing etcetera. 
  1. MailChimp:
One of the best productivity tools for automatic email campaigns and newsletter suitable for email marketing and soaring up the ecommerce team productivity. 
  1. Mention:
Mention spontaneously or automatically goes through the social medias and webs for beneficial marketing tips and insights.other than this, It also helps to embed your brand into industry relevant conversations. 
  1. Slack:
Assists in proper teamwork and real time conversations. 
  1. Zoom
Zoom provides video conferencing services, online collaboration opportunities while maintaining team engagement thus increasing productivity.


11.Be ready for unforeseen Challenges
No matter how assiduous and dedicated you are to your eCommerce business, there definitely will be some elements that you can’t control or navigate. The best you can prepare for these unforeseen challenges are be ready for them.
With a positive attitude , a backup plan and discussions and advice from experts in the field of eCommerce, you can get through any challenges . The sudden shift in market demand, unexpected activities by contemporaries in the business etcetera can be the unforeseen challenges that you need to be mentally prepared for if you want to stay in the eCommerce business.

eCommerce law in Nepal

The Nepal Government has introduced a set of eCommerce guidelines /instructions and regulations to navigate and supervise the  growing eCommerce business in Nepal. One of the main purposes of eCommerce law in Nepal is consumer protection. 
eCommerce law in Nepal helds the eCommerce business responsible for fraudulent sales and misrepresentation of  defective products . It makes them liable and answer to their flaws.
Despite this, the rules and regulations also manage electronic transactions, promote the Nepali products via online stores and also manage the foreign currency transactions. 
As of March,2020 follow this  “The Kathmandu Post”  for more information regarding eCommerce Law in Nepal

Current scenario of eCommerce in nepal

eCommerce in Nepal is a current trend that is exponentially growing. There are many eCommerce businesses in Nepal like hamrobazar.com, kinmel.com, meroshopping.com, daraz.com etcetera. 
The feedback and appreciation that these eCommerce have been garnering in Nepal is tremendous, encouraging other businessmen and entrepreneurs in this field.  

Apart from online shopping , other services oriented eCommerce business in Nepal like food delivery service  i.e. foodmandu, foodmario, bhojdeal etcetera , plumbing eCommerce services, online Laundry systems are also taking serious trolls in Nepal. 

Nepal ecommerce market size 

The total estimated worth of Nepal eCommerce market is a whooping sum of $25 million. Increasing eCommerce stores and the year after betterment in their service is leading to broad eCommerce market size in Nepal.

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Uday sah -- I want to startup e commerce

Bijay Bhattarai -- good