Online marketplaces are ideal for lifestyle goods like crockery. They enable you to reach a much wider customer base easily through digital marketing. A brick-and-mortar shop meanwhile only caters to a small area.
An online crockery business can be the lifestyle business opportunity you had always been looking for.
Here are some of the things you have to keep in mind when thinking about how to start a crockery business.
1. Settle on a Niche
It is important before starting any business to settle on a niche. Since a crockery business is a lifestyle business, you need to determine what kind of lifestyle you want to sell. For this, you have to decide which demographic you want to target.
Younger consumers, like newly graduated business professionals and students, prefer cheap but sturdy crockery. They also prefer colourful and quirky designs. Ceramic coffee mugs, cheap plates and bowls, etc, can be marketed to this segment. This demographic is also ideal for an online crockery business because they are internet savvy.
Older consumers, who have more money to spare and are likely homeowners are willing to invest in more expensive porcelain and chinaware. They are generally looking for something classy and graceful that adds to the ambience of their home.
Another extremely profitable consumer base is restaurants and cafes. These establishments often require a lot of crockery and are likely to place repeat orders as they go through their tableware more quickly than individual consumers. These establishments look for sturdy and good-looking crockery that can be bought in bulk. They would also be favourable to an online crockery store where they can easily order their tableware online.
You may also be able to make profits by starting a disposable crockery business servicing caterers, event organisers, etc.
2. Determine the Scale of Your Crockery Business
How big do you want your business to be? If you are starting an online crockery business then it is advisable to start small. Keep limited stock to reduce your initial exposure and risk while also giving an appearance of exclusivity. This is especially true if you are selling to individual consumers instead of restaurants.
Determine how much risk you are willing to take and how much you can invest early on. Investing more initially can cut your costs down the line but also increase your risk exposure. For example, starting an in-house crockery manufacturing business can cut the costs of buying from third-party vendors, but it can also increase your initial investment and risk.
3. Manufacturing versus Retailing
If you choose to start a crockery manufacturing business alongside retail then you may have to buy or lease a factory. This is an enterprise that requires a lot of investment. You will need to source materials, buy machinery and hire workers to handle the manufacturing. You will have to keep meticulous accounts, which can be done easily through apps like OkCredit. Staff payments and attendance can also efficiently be handled through apps like OkStaff which can digitise your records and ledgers.
A crockery manufacturing business is something you should only consider if you have a large amount of ready capital and experience in similar business ventures.
If this is not the case then a crockery retail business might be ideal for you. For this, you will have to buy your wares from a third-party vendor and sell them on your online crockery store. This gives you less control over the design and quality of your ware but is much more cost-effective. You can also ask the vendor to customise the crockery according to your needs and add your branding. Unlike a crockery manufacturing business, a retail business requires less investment and risk.
The availability of capital and the scale of business you decide on will determine whether you should go the manufacturing or retail way.
If you are starting an online crockery business then it stands to reason to use digital marketing strategies. You can use Google Adsense to market your crockery business to targeted demographics. By doing this you ensure that only those demographics who are your targeted consumers see your advertisements and you get maximum engagement.
Social media marketing and promotion are also crucial. Promote your online crockery business by starting social media pages to share your products as well as customer reviews. Encourage your customers to share pictures and reviews of your products on social media to attract even more customers. If you are selling your products to restaurants, encourage them to tag your crockery business on their social media posts.
You can also use influencer marketing, by sending your products to prominent lifestyle influencers to review and promote. Using coupon codes and affiliate links are important in influencer marketing to attract customers. This helps build your brand image and create a buzz around your product.
Another subtle method of marketing is by starting a blog on your online crockery store website. By using SEO optimisation you can ensure that potential customers get redirected to your website every time they search crockery or crockery business online.
5. Starting an Online Crockery Store
You will have to set up a website to host your online crockery store. First of all, you will need to choose and register a domain name for your online crockery business. After this, you will need to hire a coder and a graphic designer to build your website and optimise it for sales and hosting product and branding information. You could also use third-party service providers to create an online store for your crockery business without the need for hiring professionals.
You could also sell your products through social media by creating a business account. Many social media platforms like Instagram have started providing options to host an online store on their platforms. Thus, your social media page can serve as both your marketing as well as your sales platform.
Another option is to register as a seller on major retail websites like Amazon and Flipkart. These websites will handle both sales as well as shipping. All you need to do is keep an inventory, pack the products appropriately and manage your ledgers, which can be done through apps like OkCredit.
A crockery business involves shipping delicate wares. Therefore, you will have to employ a reliable courier partner that specialises in shipping fragile wares. Additionally, you will have to take extra care in packaging your materials. Invest in good quality boxes and packing materials like bubble wrap and styrofoam to ensure your crockery stays stable and secure during shipping.
If you partner with online retail websites then you can let them take care of your shipping. But even so, you must be careful with the packaging of your products. Broken crockery can result in customers asking for a refund and may also damage the reputation of your crockery business.
Investing in insurance to cover losses resulting from damage during shipping is advisable.
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Q. Do I need any licenses to start an online crockery business?
Ans. Your company will have to be registered with the Ministry of Corporate Affairs to obtain a DIN no. and a GST registration no. In order to secure your brand name, you should also apply for a trademark for your crockery business.
Q. Do I need a professional degree to start an online crockery business?
Ans. No, a professional degree is not required to start a crockery business. As long as you can arrange the capital, and get the requisite licenses you can start your business. However, taking your time to understand as much as possible about the business and doing some market research would be wise.
Q. Is insurance necessary for a crockery business?
Ans. Since crockery is fragile, it would be advisable to get insurance on storage and shipping for your crockery business.
Q. How to start an online store?
Ans. You will need a website for your online crockery business. The website will have to be optimised for handling sales and for presenting your products in a flattering light. You can also additionally sell your products through major retail websites like Amazon and Flipkart.
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