The Ultimate Guide To Start Selling On E-Commerce

Blog, eCommerce

The world of commerce has evolved a lot over the last couple of decades. Earlier, if you wanted to start selling, there were broadly two options in front of you – find a shop that can carry your product and sell and you had to find many of such shops to achieve the right scale for your business or set up your own store, which, till today, remains a very capital intensive decision.

But now, with the advent and growth of e-commerce, you have an option to sell the products through a marketplace (kind of your offline store with unlimited shelves and unmatched coverage and catchment with little or no restrictions on onboarding you as a seller) or through your own website (similar to your own store but with lesser upfront investments).

E-Commerce Market & its Evolution

The e-commerce market has grown leaps and bounds over the last two decades. The e-commerce market in India is estimated at $50Bn in 2022 and is projected to grow at a CAGR of 25-30% for the next 5 years to reach $150-170 Bn by 2027. However the share of e-commerce of the overall retail is just 5% and is expected to grow to just 10% by 2027.

There are two fundamental aspects that are driving the growth of this market. First, the rising number of people online. There are an estimated 450-500mn users of social media and chatting services in India. Out of the internet users, 250-300mn have transacted online and 180-190mn have shopped online at least once in the last one year, the third largest number of online shoppers after the US and China.

Second, the ecosystem for online selling has evolved a lot, with multiple players available across the value chain. Today, you have multiple marketplaces to list your products. You can even build your own website in no-time with Do-It-Yourself tools available online. The payment gateway services are robust with multiple payment options from netbanking, credit card, debit card, UPI, etc. available to sellers of all sizes. The logistics infrastructure is robust with reach across all pin codes across the country with same day, next day delivery across most key markets.

A growing market along with a robust support infrastructure augurs well for the growth of the ecommerce market and its participants. From easy sourcing to registering and listing products on the marketplaces to integrating payment gateways to tie up with logistic players – all of this can be achieved in a matter of days for any seller. Looking at this, there could not have been a better time to launch your product online and scale your business.

Going online, who do you prioritise – marketplace or your own website

Given that you are reading this article, I believe you have decided to sell your products online. Congratulations!!! You have taken the first step, but now what? Before you actually start selling on marketplaces or through your own website, you need to make certain decisions and complete a few formalities.

First and foremost, do you want to sell your products through your own website or through marketplaces? You could very well decide to sell it on both – i.e. your own website as well as marketplaces. The choice of the platform has an implication on what you need to focus your energy on to the scale of your business and the margin you make.

First, let’s assume that you have decided to place your product on marketplaces. Now, you will need to decide on which marketplace you want to sell your products through. It is a very important decision as your experience of online selling, success of your brand and money in your bank will be dependent on the choice of the marketplace.

How to choose the right marketplace for your business

There are so many marketplaces that exist in India today. How does one make a decision of selling on one or more such marketplaces? They all have their loyal audience and they attract a different segment of the customer. In order to shortlist the right marketplace for your brand or products, you will need to be clear about your customer profile.

For example, the choice of the marketplace will depend on what category are you selling, who is your customer, where is your customer located, how urgent does your customer require it, what is the delivery speed offered by the marketplace, what is the kind of traffic it attracts and what are the marketplace charges for selling products.

Let’s look at each of these aspects in detail below that should help you narrow down the platform which makes the most sense for you and your products.


Traffic is one of the most important criteria for selection of a marketplace. You could choose amongst Amazon, Flipkart and Meesho for the traffic and trust they bring.

The selection of the right marketplace is not done on the quantum of the traffic alone, it is done by understanding the quality of traffic relevant to your product category. The marketplaces with the largest traffic might not have the right audience for your product.  Therefore, the best marketplace for your products is the one that targets the ideal customers that you need.

        2.Product affinity

You need to see the affinity of the product that you intend to sell to the platform where you want to sell. If there are few sellers for your products similar to yours on the platform, customers are less likely to visit the marketplace to purchase similar products. Therefore, if you are selling fashion categories, you need to consider specialised marketplaces such as Myntra & AJIO for apparel. If you are into baby products, Firstcry is a good platform whereas if you are selling beauty & related products, Nykaa is the foremost platform for the same.

        3.Geographic Focus

If you wish to sell your products to a global audience then you need to find the best marketplaces for a global audience. Some marketplaces derive most of their sales from Tier2 and below markets whereas some marketplaces have a strong hold in metros. Your choice of marketplace will be dictated by such considerations based on the likely product affinity in these markets.

        4.Cost of doing business on a marketplace

In addition to finding the right customer on the marketplace, you need to look at the costs of doing business from a marketplace. Marketplaces charge a variety of fees to recover their costs. They charge commission on the value of the goods sold from their platform. In addition, they also charge fees for delivery, transaction fees or closing fees, and storage fees.

An easy way to account for all such costs is to build an Excel template wherein you enter the product price and it calculates the money you get for every sale. Amazon has a ‘kitana milega’ calculator for this purpose.

        5.Customer service levels

Another important aspect of selection is the level of customer service a marketplace offers, and the level of trust it has built with its customers. Resolving customer as well as seller issues is critical. One of the methods to understand these is to read reviews and visit forums to interact with other sellers. They will give real pros and cons of each platform. Sellers from your industry can give valuable insights through their experience with their preferred marketplace.

By evaluating platforms across the above criteria, you will be able to shortlist the marketplaces best suited for your products.

Considerations for setting up own e-commerce website

You can alternatively set up your own e-commerce website. There are various benefits of your own website. The biggest benefit is that you don’t need to pay a commission on sales to the marketplaces. In addition, you are able to convey your brand story to the customer in the best possible way. Further, you get access to all customer data, that helps you get a better understanding of the customer profile that helps you further in your marketing and growing your tribe.

However the biggest downside of your own website, is that the responsibility of building traffic falls on you. As building traffic to your website takes time, this also increases the time you would require to scale up your online business. Further, a lot of other aspects of the business such as logistics, returns, customer service, etc. needs to be handled by you which otherwise can be done by the marketplace.

Therefore, building your own website requires higher time commitment along with patience over a lengthier time period to drive revenues. However, it is more rewarding once it builds scale.

If you wish to build your own website, there are various platforms available in the market that help you build it. Shopify is a popular cloud-based platform that lets retailers create and manage their online stores. Woocommerce is an alternative to Shopify and offers an e-commerce plugin for WordPress. It is easy to customise the store as it has a wide range of features.

To set up your Shopify or Woocommerce store you will need to buy a plan that can set up your domain and hosting. Then you will need to select a theme that is most suitable to your products and target customers. Customise the theme for your store and add the products. Build an SEO-optimised catalogue and set up shipping and payment. This gets you ready to sell. You then need to implement your marketing strategy to drive traffic and sell. If this sounds too complex, reach out to an expert to build your ideal store.

While it is enticing to start selling your products only through your own website in order to save on the marketplace commissions, we feel that as a first time seller, one should focus their energy on getting the right product to the market at the right price and leave all the other distractions to the marketplace. Building traffic takes time and that impacts your ability to scale. Further managing different aspects of the business which otherwise the marketplace would have taken care of, are your responsibilities taking precious time away from building your brand. 

Therefore, we advocate that the sellers focus on the marketplaces to get initial traction and initiate the brand-building journey. Once the brand is recognizable and has some following, the sellers should get the customers to their own website for stronger brand connect and better profits.

Referral Links

Unlocking ecommerce potential

Registering on Marketplaces

Finding Products

Setting the stage – building the website from scratch

Competition Analysis


Best Ecommerce Marketplace for Online Business ✅ Amazon, Flipkart or Meesho? 🔥 Ecommerce Business

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Business, eCommerce, Marketing

we craft holistic strategies that ignite organic traffic, sculpt magnetic brand presence, and optimize every marketplace lever: SEO, Product Listings, Ads, Inventory, Data-driven insights – the whole symphony.

About Us

We were sailors navigating its currents, building brands that thrived on marketplaces and DTC channels. Every click, conversion, and customer interaction became a lesson etched in our memory.


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