As India’s economy undergoes a dynamic transformation, the e-commerce industry emerges as a frontrunner. If you’ve been considering stepping into the world of e-commerce, now is the perfect time to dive in.
The confluence of increased internet accessibility and the rise in smartphone users has propelled the rapid growth of the e-commerce sector in India. With technology opening up diverse business avenues, e-commerce is set to remain competitive and evolve as technology advances.
Rural India’s increasing internet penetration promises an exciting future for e-commerce. India boasts one of the world’s largest populations of internet users, reshaping consumer behaviour. Online platforms offering swift transactions and doorstep deliveries have become a norm, whether booking e-tickets via MakeMyTrip or purchasing essentials from Amazon.
The remarkable success of e-commerce giants like Reliance Digital, Croma, Ajio, Vijay Sales, Meesho, Nykaa, Amazon, Flipkart, and Snapdeal underscores the true potential of this industry. Their achievements are a testament to the untapped opportunities within e-commerce.
Curious for deeper insights? Let’s delve into the facts
According to Ibef.org, India is projected to surpass the United States as the second-largest e-commerce market by 2034. In 2025 the market is estimated to reach a staggering US$ 111.40 billion.
As per Invetindia.gov.in, the Indian e-commerce market is forecasted to soar to $350 billion by 2030, solidifying its position as the world’s fastest-growing e-commerce hub.
Crucially, e-commerce’s appeal rapidly extends to tier-2 and tier-3 cities, accounting for nearly half of all shoppers and three out of five orders on major e-commerce platforms. Sales figures in smaller mid-sized cities mirror larger urban centres, signalling an inclusive growth trend.
How to start an ecommerce business in India?
Step 1: Choose your ecommerce business model
When diving into the world of e-commerce, your first step is to decide on the right business model. This involves considering what kind of online store you want to create. The specific type of store will determine the business model that suits you best. There are two main options: a single-vendor store or a multi-vendor marketplace.
For a single-vendor store, you, as the seller, deal directly with customers. This is simpler because it involves only you and the customer. Managing your inventory and handling payments to a single supplier is also easier.
On the other hand, a multi-vendor marketplace brings together multiple sellers to offer their products to customers through your platform. This model resembles an online marketplace where vendors register with your site to sell their products.
These different models offer sales security and a stable supply chain. If one supplier faces issues, others can step in. Depending on your preference, you can sell your unique products through your online store or collaborate with other sellers.
Opting for your online business yields higher profit margins, while working with other sellers usually earns you a commission. Consider your strengths and goals to choose the model that suits your e-commerce journey.
Step 2: Give your ecommerce business a brand identity
Once you’ve sorted out your business model, products, and target audience, it’s time to establish your e-commerce brand. Creating a brand involves selecting a name that resonates with your business, products, and customers. Your brand name should be short, memorable, and reflective of your company’s identity.
Take a step further by designing a logo that complements your brand name. A well-designed logo reinforces your brand’s image and makes it recognizable.
With your brand name and logo in place, the next task is officially registering your business. In India, there are four types of business structures to choose from:
1. Sole Proprietorship
2. One-Person Company
3. Limited Liability Partnership
4. Private Limited Company
Your choice will depend on whether you want to operate independently or with partners. You must file tax returns and obtain a tax identification number depending on your business structure. Businesses like corporations and partnerships need an Employer Identification Number (EIN) to open a business bank account and manage taxes. This unique number identifies your business.
You can use your Social Security number instead of a separate tax ID number for sole proprietors.
Step 3: Register your ecommerce business in India
It’s time to complete the legal steps for officially starting your e-commerce business in India. Here’s what you need to do:
1. Download the DIN application form : Get the DIN3 application form from the Ministry of Corporate Affairs website. You can also apply online by submitting the required documents.
2. Prepare required documents : Ensure you have your Permanent Account Number (PAN) and Digital Signature Certificate.
3. Apply for DIN : Once ready, submit the application to obtain your Director Identification Number (DIN).
4. Confirm company name : Check with the Registrar of Companies (ROC) if your chosen company name is available. You can also verify name availability on the Ministry of Corporate Affairs website.
5. Incorporate the company : Once your proposed name is confirmed, you have six months to incorporate your company. You can also renew the name by paying a fee.
6. Obtain necessary certifications : Get your Goods and Services Tax (GST) certification, Shops and Establishments Licence (needed for payment gateway integration), and Professional Tax (PT).
7. Employee benefits : Set up Provident Fund (PF) accounts for your employees with the Provident Fund Organization and establish Employees’ State Insurance Corporation (ESIC) accounts to provide medical insurance.
8. Register under company act : Apply for registration under the Company Act 2013 to formalise your company’s legal status.
Following these steps ensures your e-commerce business is legally registered and ready to operate in India.
Step 4: Set up your business bank account
Once your company is registered, opening a bank account is important. This account should be in the official name of your company. Here’s what you need to know:
1. Bank account opening : As soon as your company is legally registered, you should open a bank account. It can be with any bank but must be in your company’s name.
2. GST registration : Obtaining GST registration is necessary if your online business operates as a sole proprietorship. Once you have this, you can open a business bank account in your business’s name.
3. List your products : Once your bank account is ready, you can start listing your e-commerce website products. This step gets you closer to setting up your payment gateway.
With a dedicated business bank account, you’re ready to showcase your products on your e-commerce site and arrange your payment gateway.
Step 5: Creating your ecommerce website
When building your e-commerce website, you have two main options: starting from scratch or using a pre-built platform. Let’s break it down:
1. Pre-built platforms : Using platforms like Easebuzz Webstore, WordPress, or Wix offers convenience. They provide ready-to-use templates designed for different types of online businesses. You can customise these templates to match your branding and add the necessary information.
2. Custom platform : Building your website from scratch gives you complete control over the design. This option lets you visualise and create your site exactly as you envision it.
As you launch your official website, consider these points:
You can host the website or hire a professional, depending on your expertise.
Regularly update your website with new content or product images to engage customers.
Creating an appealing and functional website is crucial, as it represents your brand online. Whether you build from scratch or use a pre-built platform, ensure it speaks to your customers effectively.
Step 6: Setting Up Your E-Commerce Payment Gateway in India
Understanding ecommerce payment gateways and their importance
E-commerce payment gateways serve as the bridge between your website and customers, enabling transactions to happen seamlessly. These gateways allow your online store to accept and process payments, such as credit cards, debit cards, net banking, and cash cards. Customers provide their card details, including expiry dates and CVV codes, and the payment is securely processed. The funds are then transferred to your business bank account.
Selecting the right payment gateway is crucial for your online business’s success. It should support various payment methods and ensure smooth transactions on your e-commerce website.
Documents needed for ecommerce payment gateway application
To apply for an e-commerce payment gateway, you’ll need these documents:
1. Business bank account details.
2. PAN card for your business.
3. Certificate of Incorporation.
4. Memorandum of Association.
5. Article of Association.
6. Proof of identity.
7. Proof of address.
8. Website Terms of Service.
Once you provide these documents, your online business will have a payment gateway. This gateway will enable secure online payments, enhancing the shopping experience for your customers. For instance, you can explore Easebuzz, India’s Leading Online Payment Gateway.
Step 7: Setting up logistics for your ecommerce business in India
Ensuring smooth operations with logistics
Logistics plays a pivotal role in the success of any Indian e-commerce business. It’s the process that manages the movement of goods, whether sending orders to customers or restocking your inventory. This process tracks your items throughout their journey, making sure they arrive safely at their destination.
Managing logistics involves partnering with distribution providers. Many Indian e-commerce owners collaborate with third-party logistics companies, outsourcing this aspect of their business.
Understanding the logistics process
In India, inventory software alerts you when a customer places an order on your website. After you confirm the order, you’re ready to ship the product. Teaming up with a distribution and supply company is beneficial for efficient operations. This way, the third-party company is notified when an order comes in and swiftly handles shipping. This approach is well-suited for growing businesses with the resources to work with distributors.
In smaller setups, you might directly package and send the product to the buyer, especially if you operate from home or have an office with inventory. Outsourcing your delivery process can save costs, but it’s a decision based on your business’s size and needs.
Step 8: Attracting your target audience to your website effectively
Mastering SEO for online success
To make your e-commerce business thrive, you must captivate potential online customers. This is where Search Engine Optimization (SEO) steps in. SEO strategies elevate your visibility on search engines, a crucial platform for 47% of Indian online shoppers who begin their search there.
The internet witnesses around 3.8 million Google searches per minute. Ensuring your website surfaces in these searches is vital. Different types of keywords aid your site’s visibility. ‘Head terms’ are short phrases (0-26 characters), while ‘long-tail keywords’ are more specific (26-40 characters).
Utilising tools for SEO
Various tools can help you discover keywords to boost your search engine ranking. Popular options include Google Keyword Planner, Google Autosuggest, Keywordtool.ai, Ahref, and SEMrush.
Paid advertisements and promotion
Consider paid ads on Quora, YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram. These ads appear in users’ feeds after payment, and it’s your task to turn clicks into potential customers.
Leveraging promotions and retargeting
Early on, promotions and sales resonate well with Indian consumers. Social media is a valuable medium to announce these offers.
Retargeting involves placing a cookie on users’ devices after visiting your site without purchasing. Displaying ads on affiliated sites they visit later can yield positive results, albeit at a cost.
The power of word-of-mouth and guest blogging
Word-of-mouth remains a potent, budget-friendly marketing tool. Encourage customer referrals to boost brand exposure.
Guest bloggers can review your brand, redirecting traffic to your site. Social media’s growth offers multiple avenues for customer connection.
Navigating the dynamic ecommerce landscape
In a rapidly evolving e-commerce landscape, your customers have diverse avenues to reach you. Successfully attracting them can shape the fate of your online business.
India’s e-commerce sector has emerged as a key driver of economic growth, giving rise to numerous successful companies. With more people shopping online and e-commerce maturing, there’s an opportunity for service providers to enhance efficiency and lower costs using virtualization and automation.
1. How do I register my ecommerce business?
After obtaining the necessary documents like DIN, PAN, ROC, Business Bank Account, GST Number, Payment Gateway, Professional Tax, and Provident Fund certificates, register your company under the Company Act, 2013 at this portal: https://efilingportal.in/CompanyRegistration
2. Can I start an ecommerce business with no money?
Start by planning your business and model. Then, list your products for free on platforms like Easebuzz Webstore, share them on other platforms, and use Easebuzz’s free website to launch your products online once approved.
3. How can I start an online business in India without money?
There are free services available to start an online business. You can create a website using Easebuzz Web Store or sell products on third-party platforms like Amazon or Flipkart without any upfront payment.