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12 Things An E-commerce Startup Need to Know Before Launching



The e-commerce market in India is accelerating tempting young entrepreneurs to begin their own endeavor.

As a startup, you cannot shell out too much money which is why every step of your e-commerce business shall be concretely planned using the right mediums and platforms for the right prices.

Mr Tejas Jhaveri is the founder of Flintstop, an e-commerce startup dealing in quirky, innovative and problem-solving products and also an e-commerce professor at IIDE. Here is what he has to say about “Everything you need to know before starting your e-commerce startup”

1. What product do you wish to sell?

Before you embark on your e-commerce start-up, you have to first decide what product you want to see. Here are ways you can do so-

– Don’t you wish to be a unique seller for a particular product online? Look for opportunities in untapped keywords, that would turn you into an exclusive seller in the online market.

Eg.2 years back there was no one selling the ‘3D Doodler’ Pen online. We made use of that untapped keyword opportunity and got ranked #1 on Google

– Sell a product online, which is difficult to find locally 

Eg. Just before I started Flintstop, I visited a few exhibitions abroad where I saw enchanted with products like the Robot Vacuum Cleaner or the Wifi Doorbell. Since I couldn’t  findthem locally, I started selling them online

– Have you ever played ‘Pokemon Go’ or used the ‘Hoverboard’? Well, these were early trends that eventually ware off. If you want to benefit from this then you have to Capitalize on these early trends.

– Look for an opportunity gap through product reviews 

Eg. Find a speaker on, on reading its review, you will notice that people are asking for feature that the product does not deliver like- wish the speaker was waterproof, had a battery indicator or has a longer play/charge time. These are factors you can take advantage of and develop a product meeting those needs.

– Find your customer paint points-Educate yourself about what you customers are passionate about (Photography, Biking, Music) and sell products which have a distinctive value proposition revolving around these passions

Eg. Flintstop sell a Fidget Spinner for the restless people, Universal Camera Clip lens for Photography lovers, Bike Mobile stand for avid Bikers. 

2. Dig deep into what your competitors are doing

It is always healthy to so competitive analysis before you launch. Hereare some fancy tools to study what strategies they have been using:

–    SpyFu  helps you research and downloads your competitors’ most profitable keywords.

–    Could you accurately guess how many unique visitors your competitors generate per month? Similar Web is primarily a competitive analysis tool for digging into a site, app or platform

–    Internet Archive- The wayback machine- this helps to view previous versions your competitor’s website 

–    Built With- Helps you analyse where your competitor bought their domain from, where their server is hosted, backend used to build their website, analytics tracking, plug-ins and widgets used on the website.

3. It’s time to get to business now! – Formation of your company

E-commerce Startup TIPS*Prices may vary for different businesses and subject to market trends

4.  Time to procure

Import, Manufacture or Outsource

Import – You need an IEC (Import Export Code) to procure products. Platforms like Alibaba and AliExpress can be used to find manufacturers globally.

Manufacture – This is the most capital intensive and a strenuous form of creating your own product(s) – Not something you would want to start with a nascent level.

Outsource – There are multiple people selling similar products both, online and offline. You can visit B2B platforms like Indiamart, Trade India and Exporters India to find distributors or manufacturers of the product you like.

5. Build your e-commerce gang

Your team is the face of your company along with the products and service you offer.  An ideal e-commerce team looks like:

E-commerce Startup TIPSBut, since you have limited funds at your disposal, you can go lean and start with a team of 2.

I was my only team member for the first three months. My father’s peon joined in to help with the packaging and deliveries. As there was a boost in the number of orders, we got our first intern. We now have 11 full-time employees and 2 freelancers working with us.

6. Get your name on the internet – Buy a domain

Your initial step has to be purchasing a domain name so that you can block your spot on the internet. Platforms like Godaddy and BigRock offer this at reasonable prices starting from Rs. 99 / year.

7. Build a reasonably priced website (Without needing any coding experience)

One of the biggest hurdles most startups face is the thought of hiring an IT professional or outsourcing to a digital agency to build a website – This is going to be costly!

Substitute it with one of the ready e-commerce CMS websites like:

-Wordpress (WooCommerce)








Each of these platforms offers a monthly subscription where they take care of the web hosting, backend inventory and customer relationship management.

8. Get a secured payment gateway

A payment gateway is a merchant service provided by an e-commerce application service provider that authorises credit card or direct payments processing for e-businesses, online retailers, bricks and clicks, or traditional brick and mortar.

A few of them are:

  • 2Checkout.
  • Airpay.
  • BitPay.
  • CCAvenue.
  • Citrus Payments.
  • Coinbase.
  • EBS.
  • G2A Pay.

E-commerce Startup TIPS
*Approximate rates

9. Time to tie up with logistic/courier partner

As the ecommerce market is rising there are multiple players in the logistics market. Some only intra-city, national as well as worldwide

– Easiest way is to tie up with a logistic aggregator – These companies liaison with top logistic companies which wipes away your task of typing up with them individually.

Eg. AVN Business Solutions, Shipyaari, Zepo Couriers

Or you can tie up with individual logistic companies – This will give you advantageous rates, but they will ask you to commit to a minimum order pickups/ day.

Eg. Bluedart, Aramex, GATI, EcomExpress, Delhivery, Gojavas and Trackon

– Have your own runners – This will be more feasible for orders within the city as you are headquartered at.

We recommend Fedex as a courier partner as it’s the cheapest option from all the others!

10. How to market your eCommerce startup 

       Via Social Media and PR:

–    Have a social media ninja hook up your social media with no budget

–    Run influencer campaigns – Give freebies to influencers for a shoutout

–    Generate infinite backlinks – Make a list of top blogs/website / product review websites and send them an article to generate a backlink

    Online presence

–    Remarketing – Drop cookies in your customer’s browser and throw back products on them which they last saw

–    SEO the sh*t out of your website. Make sure your title tags, meta description, alt tags and keywords are in place to ensure better indexing on Google.

    People perspective 

–    Have an army of sales men – Best way is to get college ambassadors in different colleges

–    Affiliate Marketing – Tell people on how they can make money from home / earn higher discounts by being an affiliate to your company (Go the Amway / Tupperware way)

    Mails & Texts

–    Email marketing – Highest conversions come through direct email marketing. Use software like Mailchimp and Pepo to run different email marketing campaigns

–    Whatsapp marketing – In a country like India, in which every housewife, every kid, watchman, chai wala has WhatsApp! Tap into all their mobile phones and broadcast your messages.(Please keep in mind to talk what your customer wants to hear instead of what you want to speak – Don’t oversell only products)

    Go Offline

–    – It’s the only place where your customer will be able to touch and feel your products. Take part in Popups, Exhibitions, Tradeshows. ( Do make sure they match your budget )

11. Analyze and optimize!

Make sure of having Google Analytics integrated onto your website to see what conversions you are making from which platform.

Google Search console helps you with what keywords people are using to get onto your website
Even Social media insights will help you understand you target audience better.

Once analysed, make sure you are optimising your campaigns according to your research.

12. Customer review and feedback. (Freebies for Flintstopcustomers, little things )

Positive customer feedback helps improving seller matrix which leads to increasing orders. We entice our customers with freebies, discounts to remove the negative feedback.

Things flintstop does to keep their customers’ happy- We have a database of their birth dates, we gift them goodies for their bdays. A personalised hand-written post it, a free packet of phantom mint ciggies to each customer along with a portable mobile fan just to bring a smile on their face.


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Guest Post

8 Reasons Why Content Creation Is Crucial for Startups



Why Content Creation Is Crucial for Startups

Startups are continuously looking for cutting-edge tactics to stand out and draw the interest of their target market in the ever-changing business sector. The development of content is one extremely effective instrument that has become a key component of this effort. The creation and distribution of material forms the foundation of a marketing strategy, helping to both attract and hold the attention of potential customers. In this article, we’ll go into eight incredibly persuasive arguments for why content production is a crucial component of a company’s success.

Building a Resonant Brand Identity and Amplifying Awareness

Firms receive a golden opportunity to build and present their individual brand identity through their media production process. Startups may masterfully explain their core values, mission, and unique selling propositions through finely written blog posts, captivating videos, and engaging social media updates. In addition to facilitating differentiation in a crowded market, the capacity to create a consistent and well defined brand identity also helps to build familiarity and trust among the target audience. This effective combination opens the door for increased brand awareness, giving entrepreneurs a particular advantage in a market teeming with rivals.

Cultivating a Citadel of Thought Leadership

Small businesses usually struggle with the problem of proving their knowledge and authority inside a certain industry. This is where the idea of creating media comes into play, giving entrepreneurs a vibrant platform to display their knowledge base and assume the role of thought leaders. Companies can climb the ladder of notoriety as authoritative voices in their chosen area by spreading intelligent articles, thoroughly researched whitepapers, and meticulously prepared industry analysis. As a result, prospective clients develop a sense of trust and confidence in the organization, which encourages them to see it as a helpful resource for advice and answers.

Nurturing Lifelong Customer Relationships

Impactful content development has a wider range of applications than only attracting new clients; it is crucial for maintaining and fostering connections with current clients. By utilizing content, business owners can easily engage their audience after the initial sale by providing insightful information, practical advice, and timely updates. As a result of such continual contacts, customers are more likely to be satisfied and to return to a business. Furthermore, these content-driven discussions usually result in meaningful discussions that help entrepreneurs gain invaluable feedback and ideas for future iterations. Likewise these contacts can present chances for cross-selling, up-selling, and individualized suggestions based on specific client requirements.

Propelling Organic Traffic Through the Roof

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the cornerstone of contemporary marketing tactics. Premium content acts as a powerful SEO tool, driving a spike in organic traffic to a startup’s website. The likelihood of landing a top spot in search engine results increases when entrepreneurs deftly produce material that resonates harmoniously with their target audience and effortlessly incorporates relevant keywords. In addition to increasing visibility, this also attracts people who are actively searching the internet for the specific answers that the firm is prepared to offer. Understanding the most effective content optimization strategies is crucial because of this. A rise in organic traffic can have a positive impact on domain authority, search engine rankings, and the number of people who find the organization’s material.

Enlightening the Audience Through Invaluable Education

The benefit of educational content is unmistakable, especially for startups that market cutting-edge goods and services. Firms can educate their customers about the diverse benefits that their products offer and the pain issues that they expertly alleviate through the strategic art of media production. This educational strategy not only helps the audience better understand the product, but it also equips them with the information they need to make wise purchasing decisions. Customers who are well-informed are more likely to convert and then become ardent brand supporters. An organization’s reputation as a dependable industry authority can also be strengthened by positioning it as a go-to resource through educational material.

Illuminating the Prism of Product/Service Value

Organizations sometimes struggle with the problem of explaining the intrinsic value of their products, particularly if they launch a market-changing idea. Startups have a wide range of chances to showcase the useful applications of their goods or services thanks to material development. They can vividly demonstrate how their solutions smoothly resolve real-world problems and improve the quality of life for their clients by arming themselves with meticulous guidelines, immersive tutorials, and fascinating case studies. Additionally, demonstrating the worth of goods or services through content can help overcome objections and inspire trust in prospective clients.

Harnessing the Enormous Potential of Social Media Engagement

Social media has evolved into a powerful channel for customer connection and business promotion in the contemporary digital age. When used skillfully, content marketing enables startups to control an engaging and active social media presence. Companies may keep a firm hold on the audience’s interest and engrossment by arranging a symphony of varied elements, ranging from aesthetically pleasing photos to educational and compelling films. A firm’s exposure and reach could soar to incredible heights thanks to the possibility for material in this active social media space to go viral. In addition, participating in social media can promote in-the-moment conversations that let entrepreneurs respond individually to questions, worries, and comments.

Flexibility in Formats to Cater to All Tastes

As a flexible tool, producing material gives companies the freedom to test out a wide range of formats that are all made to appeal to different audience preferences. Startups can easily tailor their material to align with the preferences of their target audience, whether it be the timelessness of blog posts, the mesmerizing allure of videos, the immersive appeal of podcasts, the succinct efficacy of infographics, or the interactive nature of webinars. This versatility enhances the entire user experience while expanding the organization’s audience and successfully navigating a variety of platforms and channels.

Content production stands out as an unquestionable pillar of success for startups negotiating the complex terrain of the contemporary business scene. Companies that are at the forefront of creating valuable, timely, and engaging material are in a prime position to build relationships with their target audience, eventually establishing them as preeminent industry leaders and moving them up the scale of sustainable growth.

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Offshore Vs. Nearshore Outsourcing – Ideal Approach for Business Growth 



offshore vs nearshore

The means of recruiting business personnel have significantly evolved. By outsourcing their digital needs, firms have gained more control of their processes and improved their productivity. It has allowed organizations in various industries like Insurance and IT to rely on international or nearshore teams to draw upon their services. 

Outsourcing software development is a great way to improve business performance and quickly scale up operations. Keeping costs low while staying at the forefront of innovation is a priority and outsourcing can help you achieve this goal.  

According to Statista, the IT outsourcing market is projected to reach $587.3 billion by 2027. It is essential to understand the differences between nearshoring and offshoring remote team models – two main types of outsourcing, to reduce costs and speed up the production of digital products. 

Offshore Vs. Nearshore Outsourcing: An Overview 

Both offshore and nearshore outsourcing involves hiring foreign workers for projects. With nearshoring, the countries involved are nearby, such as having an American IT firm hire staff from Canada. For offshore outsourcing, the firms are farther away from one another, like a Mexican company hiring developers from Poland, India, or Ukraine.  

Offshore Software Development Outsourcing provides the opportunity to draw from a larger pool of experts at a much lower cost, yet there is no control. Going with a nearshore developer means a client can outsource processes or tasks to a partner company while still in an excellent geographic area.  

Nearshore development presents a compromise, with the team being close enough for direct communication and onsite visits yet offering similar cost savings as offshore teams.  

Reason to Select Offshore Outsourcing 

Outsourcing works best for Startups to benefit from the lower wages software developers charge. According to reports, India is a popular choice for Offshore outsourcing services, with developers charging just $7.24 an hour.  

In addition to money-saving measures, offshoring grants access to a global pool of talented workers – something that may not be easy to achieve in a country like the US or the UK.  

There are many excellent examples of offshore outsourcing companies with experienced developers, providing access to a wealth of knowledge and existing skills. Accessing such know-how helps streamline the app creation process in getting it to market quickly and efficiently while minimizing the risk of common pitfalls. 

Prominent Limitations  

Before deciding to outsource to a distant vendor, you should take note of some potential disadvantages such as,  

  • Time zone differences could challenge direct conversations and urgent decisions with an offshore IT provider based in India compared to a US-based startup.  
  • Additionally, there is the potential risk of misunderstanding due to differences in language and culture. This could extend the timeline for development and cancel out any potential cost advantages.  

To avoid these issues, many US-based companies outsource to vendors in Eastern European countries like Ukraine or Poland, where cultural similarities are more likely to result in fewer communication issues. 

Reason to Choose Nearshore Outsourcing  

Through nearshoring, it is feasible to organize face-to-face gatherings between the startup and outsourced workers. It gives you an easy way to convey the project particulars to the programmers.  

Furthermore, you can circumvent the potential issues of linguistic and cultural discrepancies. Eastern Europeans typically have a better grasp of English and more similar business cultures, making nearshoring a smooth process.  

Moreover, nearshoring lets you maintain stricter security over the app and related information. It is especially crucial when a company needs to comply with data protection regulations. For instance, Eastern European countries like Poland and Romania are under the GDPR’s regulation. If you are starting a tech business in the UK, contracting with outsourcing companies in the EU zone has advantages regarding understanding data privacy rules. 

Possible Limitations  

  • Nearshoring may not always be the least expensive option regarding development costs.  
  • It ultimately depends on the country to which services are outsourced and the associated cost of living.  
  • For instance, Eastern European developers may charge between $50-$99 per hour depending on their expertise, whereas developers from Asia usually demand more than $35 per hour.  

Nevertheless, even though offshoring may provide the most significant cost savings, nearshoring has the advantage of operating in more convenient or comparable time zones. 

Significant Differences Between Offshore Vs. Nearshore Outsourcing 

Now that we know about nearshore and offshore outsourcing, let’s compare the significant differences across different aspects.  


Regarding outsourcing, the time zone difference between nearshoring and offshore is significant. With nearshoring, it is possible to have teleconferences within working hours or meet in person. However, the distance may be an issue for offshore outsourcing partners as these can be eight or more hours away, making it difficult for real-time collaboration. 

Specialist Selection 

Nearshore vs. offshore outsourcing differs in the available talent pool. With nearshoring, clients are limited to traditional domestic solutions. At the same time, those seeking offshore outsourcing have access to a much broader collection of skilled personnel that they can recruit from all over the world.  

Nearshoring may limit your search to 5-10 potential candidates while with offshore outsourcing, it can expand to 30-50 experts for your required skills. Additionally, finding highly specialized personnel for projects that may not be readily available in the local market is often easier with offshore outsourcing than nearshoring. 


Nearshore outsourcing is a cost-effective solution compared to offshoring. Developers in London typically receive an annual salary of $70,000, while those in Eastern Europe can be hired for a more economical rate of $36,000 annually. Although offshore outsourcing manages your development work to countries such as India and China can be cheaper, nearshoring allows for a more substantial saving while still gaining access to low-cost labor. 

Essential Culture Differentiation 

Hiring offshore developers brings about various cultural differences, which can cause problems. For instance, US businesspeople commonly take a direct approach to communication. While those from China tend to be more restrained in expressing themselves, presenting logistical issues while working together.  

Things to Consider for Selecting the Best Offshore Vs. Nearshore Outsourcing 

When considering nearshore versus offshore outsourcing, keeping in mind certain things helps you select the best outsourcing. 

  • Deciding which skills are needed in the ideal employee for the project is essential. 
  • After identifying what you need and deciding your budget, research solutions on the market and compare the different talent pools of nearshore or offshore companies.  
  • Also, it is crucial to stay in contact with the developers in either type of outsourcing.  
  • In the case of offshore outsourcing, having a project manager to be the eyes and hands of the client is needed.  
  • Cultural differences can be expected, so it is essential to understand that somebody working differently does not necessarily mean they do a lousy job. 
  • Finally, rules and regulations should be set to maintain order. For guidance on this, a reputable outsourcing firm can help you. 


In a nutshell, it is essential to carefully consider the type of team and project when deciding between offshoring and nearshoring. Both methods can deliver outstanding products with the latest IT tools and techs, but you should consider the cost and cultural needs when making a final decision.  

Offshore solutions are more cost-effective and efficient for companies to introduce their products to global markets. At the same time, nearshoring provides a better fit in terms of cultural compatibility and can benefit highly specialized projects like video game development. 

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Guest Post

Can Recruitment Policies Be a Driving Force for Strategic HR Management?



Strategic HR Management

Your recruitment strategic plan helps guide your business and foster success. To create a robust company culture and attract relevant, talented candidates, you should assess your current strategy and see where to implement new policies.

Why Is Strategic HR Management Important?

Strategic HR management is vital because it determines how your workplace functions. After all, employees are the backbone of your business, so their behavior, perception and motivation affect it. You ensure greater success when you select candidates who share your goals.

In recruitment, a strategic plan involves aligning candidates with the company’s goals and culture rather than just hiring to fill an empty role. While many startups try their hardest to hire anyone qualified, actual growth comes from having staff who feel aligned with the business.

Finding quality employees is essential, considering the hiring process can be incredibly expensive and time-consuming. Since you invest your resources into each new hire during onboarding, you must ensure they’re a good fit. After all, you won’t recoup your recruitment costs until after a minimum of six months on average.

Even if you’re okay with taking the loss and hiring someone else, you should know it costs double a worker’s salary to fill their role with a new candidate. You’ll have a much easier time if you have policies to help you source the best people initially.

Can Recruitment Policies Drive Strategic HR Management?

Recruitment policies can guide the development of strategic HR management (SHRM) to help your business grow in the right direction. The employees you choose are foundational to your success because they dictate your workplace culture and operations. You can find people who align most with your goals if you have the right policies.

How Can Recruitment Policies Improve SHRM?

Recruitment policies can improve SHRM at every stage, including sourcing, job posting, applying and interviewing. Establishing them in multiple places throughout your process ensures you receive high-quality candidates who align themselves with your business’s goals.

1.    Candidate Sourcing

Where you source your candidates can impact your entire recruitment process, so you should ensure you look in the right places. For example, people at a college job fair have little experience but are more likely to apply, while those on networking sites fit the role but have many other options.

If you have a quality staff already, consider using referrals to build your workforce since they reduce recruiting costs by $7,500 on average and increase employee retention rates. It’s best to consider what you’re looking for in a new hire to create the best candidate-sourcing policies.

2.    Job Description

A description is essential to all job listings, no matter the industry. At this stage of the recruitment process, having the right policies can help you get more people interested in applying. You must determine what information and requirements you’ll list to optimize them.

Consider how you currently describe the job when you post it — do you include the compensation range, necessary qualifiers and a snippet about your business? Considering around 63% of people only want to apply to places that disclose compensation ranges, you should consider including it.

3.    Application Process

Quality policies around the application process are essential because they determine who meets the hiring team. Only the people who feel they align with your company and fit the role well will reach this stage, so you should streamline the process to make it as easy as possible for them.

Even if you initially pique their interest, you must do more to get them invested enough to apply. In fact, around 92% of applicants begin applying for a job but don’t finish. Many walk away because the process is time-consuming or complex, so you should simplify it. For instance, you should determine if you require them to create an account or write a cover letter.

4.    Skill Assessments

Will you make your candidates take tests or fill out forms to prove their capabilities? Your recruitment policies should include the specifics of assessments if you use them in your process. For example, you must decide which ones to use and when you’ll use them.

Over 75% of medium-sized businesses use assessments when hiring externally, with most using them for senior-level vacancies. While they can be beneficial, candidates don’t typically enjoy them. If your current policy requires them and you don’t get much engagement, you may want to reconsider using them.

Will people filling senior-level vacancies have to prove their skills with a test or will you only use them for entry-level candidates? This is the kind of question you should ask yourself when creating a recruitment strategic plan.

5.    Interviews

You should clearly define your interview policies before progressing in the recruitment process. Will you require multiple face-to-face sessions, waive the requirement for internal hires or only conduct meetings remotely? You should also determine what questions to ask.

Standardization makes things more clear to candidates, incentivizing them to apply. It’s also an excellent strategic move considering a quality interview process helps you quickly identify the prospective hires that align with your business’s goals.

What Are the Benefits of a Recruitment Strategic Plan?

A recruitment strategic plan benefits a business by standardizing the process, improving applicant quality and potentially increasing employee retention rates. Qualified candidates who feel connected to your business’s mission are more likely to stay in their role and excel.

Employees feel more comfortable providing feedback and ideas when they align with their company’s culture, increasing staff collaboration, innovation and business success. It makes the workplace a nicer place to work, which could even improve client or customer interactions.

Over time, recruitment policies will become a significant driving force for SHRM. You will likely notice improvements to company culture and possibly even faster growth since you only hire people who feel motivated to achieve the business’s goals.

Drive SHRM With Policies

Your recruitment policies determine how the HR department selects candidates and how applicants interact with your brand. Additionally, they determine the future of your business since quality hires will work much harder than people with no stake in your success. Assess your current process to find improvement areas, then monitor your progress.

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