There are many people in the western world who are making a good living selling products online and if you would like to join them, you’ve come to the right place. Of course, it is never a given that an e-commerce business will be successful; there are many variables, the products, marketing and customer service are all aspects to consider. In order to help you create a shopping cart website that enjoys steady growth, here are a few tips.
1. Make sure your business is legal
Whether at home or in a Southeast Asian country, you should register the business to avoid potential legal issues. If you plan to travel, you could register your business in Thailand or Indonesia, where you will receive many incentives that include a long-term working visa.
2. Choosing a product line
You need to be sure that your products are in sufficient demand and rather than approaching a wholesaler, why not source directly from the factory? There are many textile factories in Thailand and Cambodia and with super low prices, you can undercut your competitors. The supplier should be established and have the resources to supply large orders in a timely manner and you should visit the factory if possible and foster a good working relationship with your suppliers, wherever they might be located.
3. Bookkeeping & accounting
Whether outsourcing accounting in Indonesia or Thailand, this is without a doubt the best way to ensure compliance. Hiring local professionals can be facilitated by a local law firm that has many contacts. They can also find regular office staff that work to contract, which means you do not have employer liability, as your work is done by 3rd party providers.
4. Web design, hosting and administration
You can find all your IT needs from a single provider who can design, build, host and manage your shopping cart website, making sure that your store is online 24/7. The process begins with you choosing your web address, which will be reserved for you for 3 years, after which time you need to renew the subscription. Hosting packages vary; you want a high bandwidth to ensure fast page loading and a reliable webmaster will administrate your digital platform. Most packages include 24/7 cyber-security, which every shopping cart business must have. A secure site is denoted by the ‘s’ in ‘https’ and a secure socket layer (SSL) is all you need to protect your critical business data.
5. Digital marketing
Don’t make the mistake of thinking you can do without digital marketing, as this is essential to drive web traffic to your website. A sustained search engine optimization campaign will boost your site with specific Google searches, which is one of the best marketing strategies for an e-commerce business. Social media is another very effective way to market your products and by enlisting the help of a leading digital marketing agency, you can generate a large Facebook following. A leading agency would first carry out a digital audit to determine the strength of your online profile and they use this data to formulate an effective digital marketing plan that will deliver the desired results.
The best approach is to forge a working alliance with a good 3PL company that can handle all of your picking, packing and delivery. All you need to do is send your products and packing to the 3PL warehouse and forward all orders via email; you never even need to see your products with the right logistics support.
7. Payment Gateways
The more methods of payment you can offer, the better; all credit cards, direct debit, PayPal and even Bitcoin are all popular payment platforms. Your website must be secure in order to attract buyers and this is something your IT service provider can deal with. You could forge a working alliance with a ‘buy now-pay later’ service, enabling your customers to enjoy low interest finance.
The very first thing to do is compile a comprehensive business plan that covers every aspect of the enterprise and when that is complete, ask an experienced business coach to take a look. If you are planning to set up your business in Indonesia, you will need the help of a local English-speaking lawyer who can facilitate the business formation.