Benefits of e-commerce for small businesses

benefits of e-commerce

If you are an entrepreneur and have not started selling your products online, this is your time to stand up and go e-commerce friendly. Electronic commerce, basically known as e-commerce is a medium to process buying and selling of products and services online. 
The benefits of e-commerce not only includes introducing your product globally but also helps you in saving your time, money and other resources. 
So before we move ahead and talk about its benefits let’s go through the journey of the term.

Let’s travel to past

The term e-commerce was officially announced in the year 1991 as the internet was open for commercial use, the process at that time only supported the execution of commercial transitions electronically, that is the transition was only done between business organizations in order to send commercial documents electronically. 


The process of transition back then was done with the help of some leading technologies for electronic data interchange.
In the time span of 3 years the acceptance of the internet among the population of America. The general public turned towards a handy use of the internet and that was when the idea of e-commerce for buying and selling of goods evolved.


As it is rightly said, “Rome was not built in a day”, so even with the idea and a complete picture of plan the process took another 4 years. These years were invested in creating a security protocol like HTTP.
Finally, in the year 2000, many US companies represented e-commerce, especially by creating a web page on the world wide web.  
And since then the process is improving, being accepted and growing globally. E-commerce has been providing many benefits to growing businesses, just learn and earn them.

Benefits of e-commerce

In all these years e-commerce has been accepted and trusted by many organizations. Reports by India brand equity foundation (IBEF) depict that the Indian e-commerce market is expected to grow and reach up to US $ 200 billion by 2026. 
Therefore the foremost benefit of using e-commerce for your business is sustaining the market competitions and boosting your chances of success.  
E-commerce has evidently shown cases of many success stories but today we will only talk about the benefits of e-commerce for small businesses. 

  • Marketing

Marketing of a product has always been an important aspect of its acceptance in every domain. The process of e-commerce promises to make your work convenient. You can easily market your product on an online platform. 

With e-commerce, you can make your customers aware of your product, new launch and its features via online medium and attract a large mass in a short time.

More than this you can also attract your customers by providing a visual tour and with leverage content in different social media like websites, Facebook, Instagram, etc.

  • Provide datasheet

E-commerce not only markets your product but additionally, it helps in providing a detailed outline of your product to customers. 

You can now help your customers to go for the most appropriate choice as per their needs. The datasheet helps customers to get the right insight into your product at any time of the day and at any place. Customers now need not travel to the store just to see if this is the product that they are looking for.

For your customers, it is very important to get the right information in a convenient manner about the product and of course, this is another way for you to win their trust.

  • Retarget your customers

E-commerce helps you to keep an eye on your customers and their interests. You can now target and retarget your customers easily.

Retargeting your customers will market your product and boost the buying behavior of your customers. 

E-commerce helps the sellers to understand the buying behavior of customers and thereafter work accordingly. For example, if your customers select a pair of shoes and mark it as wish, so you will have data to retarget your customers accordingly. You can mail them with some discount offers or you can reach them again when you find that there is some attractive offer that your customers may like. 

On the other hand in traditional commerce, it was very hard for retailers to remember about the interests of all of their customers and then provide them the experience they are looking for.

  • Business never stops

Every shopper is different from their interests, buying patterns, shopping styles. Some shoppers shop for specific things others may shop because the product attracted. Some shoppers do shopping as a leisure activity while others may find it a hard task. Something that every shopper has in common is they shop according to their suitable time. 

And so e-commerce provides every business with a platform to work 24/7 for all 365 days. Now you can grow and expand your business with an unstoppable working culture.
Even if you are not physically available your channel will work for you. 

  • Reduces recurring cost

We all understand starting a business is really challenging, there are many challenges that cross the path of entrepreneurs. Out of all those challenges, one of the biggest challenges comes from finance. 

Since e-commerce is supporting your business in so many ways, how could it not help you here?

E-commerce helps a business by reducing the rent or lease cost of the store, maintenance of the store, personnel cost, store design, and personnel hiring and training cost. 
With e-commerce, you can work on an online platform making a virtual store. 

  • Offer details to your customer

Just looking at an advertising poster and buying it up! 

The buyers of today are smarter than this, they need details retailed to brand and product they are planning to buy and that where e-commerce comes in the picture, it helps retailers to not only to provide details to customers regarding products or services but it works in providing a detailed outline of the company.

There are times when customers want to know everything about the product including the brand and company and in retail stores, it is quite hard to give customers a detailed outline or answer to every question that a customer is looking for.

Therefore, e-commerce can help you there. All it demands is making a good profile of the company by making attractive and user-friendly websites.

So start giving your customers a little more.

  • Know review of your product

Nowadays every buyer follows the ratings by other buyers on the product before purchase and then accordingly initiates their step.

By the way, do you know how amazing your product is?

If you are saying “NO” then read what your customer says. Yes! With e-commerce, you get a chance to know the feedback of your customers and can also see and compare the ratings. 

It gives you a chance to work on your product according to customers’ needs and also make other buyers aware of your product features.

Now, this is clear that we need to use e-commerce portals for growth and success but how to avail them is still a question. Right!

Don’t worry, we have an answer for that too.

Is e-commerce just perfect?

No doubt, e-commerce comes with lots of benefits for your business and it has so much to offer you, but every offer comes with a cause. So here are some of the points to reconsider about e-commerce.

  • Reconciliation- being a part of commerce be it traditional or electronic you need to look upon the internal financial records and compare it with monthly statements of banks or other financial institutions. It is an important step to do, as it avoids fraud transitions, credit drafts, and many other similar issues. 

If you are an online seller and you sell your product on different platforms together, your task becomes more stressful, as now you have to download reports, look and compare, you may also have to recheck it.

Doing all these on your own is a real hectic task!

  • Accounting/ Return filing- The story of work pressure doesn’t end here, you need to send your excel sheets to CAs or do manual entries. 

The problem that most of the small and medium enterprises face is a lack of knowledge about GST that may end up with the loss of the company rather than generating profit.

  • Inventory management- It is amazing that you have registered your business in all the online channels to sell your product, but is it convenient to handle?

No, right. 

Registering to many portals is easy, even investing money in all of them becomes an easy task, but something that is not at all is managing them together. 

Switching between one channel to another and keeping an eye on all of them is not at all easy and even if you do that, the accuracy rate shivers. 

  • Return management- Did you give a thought of how you will manage the return of your products.

Things are easy when they go in favor but turns to be harsh when they do not move as planned. So yes, return management needs a lot of attention and you have to manage all those records and update in real-time. 

So the warning most of the time is about managing all the things together that make it hard for small and medium enterprises. 

  • TDS & TCS Compliance- The journey that you have to go through using e-commerce will also involve certain compliance issues. 

For every sale, the e-commerce operator will charge commission along with the other fee that includes handling, shipping, etc. The fee comes under Tax Deducted at Source (TDS) provision, which depicts that it is liable to deduct some percentage of your income tax (Income tax act, 1961). 

If the TDS does not get deducted and paid on these expenses, the online retailer will have to pay income tax along with TCS (Tax Collected at Source) for these expenses too.

So it is very important for an online retailer to manage monthly compliance of TDS records and keep a regular track on return filing and assessment of GST.  
And since this article has talked about and solved so many problems, here is a solution to this problem too. 

You can subscribe to eVanik and solve all these issues at once. You will have a complete suite to work at your convenience.

Conclusion

The benefits of e-commerce can go way beyond this. These are some of the glimpses of benefits that you can avail of moving to e-commerce. Since everyone in the world is looking for a place where they can shop with their convenience, without investing time on going to places and choosing among thousands of options. So this is your time to give your customers what they are looking for.

However, e-commerce needs high management and looks after but moving ahead with the right plan will always give a profitable result. 

Make e-commerce your choice with your existing retail store, don’t let boundaries stop you and give your customers more than what they ask for.

Because a happy customer is all you need to grow!

Best accounting software for e-commerce sellers in india

Finding out the most appropriate accounting software for your online business on marketplaces could be a really difficult task to choose from.

When you are considering to buy accounting software for your eCommerce business and especially if you are selling through marketplace platforms such as Amazon, Flipkart, PayTM, etc, it’s important to consider several factors. Moreover, if you buy the wrong one, it wouldn’t be easy to make a switch to another one in the middle of the year.

Here’s what all you must consider before you go ahead and buy your accounting ERP

Integration

  1. Your accounting software should be able to automatically integrate with marketplaces and fetch all data points like sales orders, returns, payments, commissions & marketplace fee and TCS
  2. These integrations should be real-time primarily because marketplace transactions are dynamic in nature. If you are thinking of downloading files from your seller accounts and then uploading it back to your accounting software, it may not be a good idea, simply because what you have downloaded today may get updated or modified by the marketplace tomorrow. This will become an infuriating struggle to identify the changes and re-updating your accounts
  3. Most accounting software does not have a direct integration with eCommerce marketplace channels. Therefore, it’s important to look for a middle layer solution that talks with your marketplaces and your accounting software simultaneously and seamlessly. eVanik OneWorld Suite is one such option that has direct integration with all major eCommerce channels and major accounting ERP providers.

Features & Functionalities

  1. The nature of accounting transactions in the eCommerce marketplace business vs. a regular trading business is largely different. The following table illustrates some of the key differences between both.
Nature of TransactionEcommerce MarketplaceOffline / Trading Business
Sales Orders & Fulfilment Multiple Statuses (Changing dynamically)
Party ledger of Marketplace instead of the end customer
Invoicing done by Marketplace (FBA Model)
Simple direct invoicing to end customers.
Payments Received in bulk for multiple orders/invoices after multiple deductions.
Payments received against one bank account or GSTIN location even if transactions have happened in multiple locations
Direct full payment against an invoice from the end customer.
Commissions / FeeMultiple charges linked against order/product/fulfillment model etc
Charges are dynamic and ever-changing
Charges to be adjusted at every order-level / item-level and warehouse-level
Mostly unlinked to sales invoice with exceptions like Shipping Fee
Sales Returns Returns initiated by the marketplace vs. returns received by the seller – when should it be recorded
Recording accounting vouchers for replacement orders
Simple Return Voucher or Credit Note
Refunds & Reimbursements Claims vs settled reimbursements
Refunded orders but not settled to seller
No impact
Inventory Stock transfer from the main warehouse to channel warehouse
Recalls from channel warehouse to the main warehouse
Inter warehouse movement done directly by marketplace channel
Damaged and unsellable stocks accounting treatment
No impact
TCS TCS is implemented only for marketplace eCommerce business
Accounting entries of TCS
TCS on return orders
Reconciling TCS with GSTIN portal
No TCS impact

  • accounting software may not have such large data handling capability. This may cause a threat of loss of valuable data, incorrect reports and delay in filing your returns.
  • Reporting your online business comprehensively in the way you would like to see it.
  • Ease of Use / Accessibility 
    1. Simplicity is the key to good accounting software. Ensure that you take a detailed product demo and list down all your queries at the time of the demo. 
    2. Most software will provide you a limited free trial period. Make maximum use of this trial with your actual data and see if this is working for you or not.
  • Cost
    1. Acquisition cost – Initial cost and annual maintenance / AMC charges
    2. Operational cost – Server cost
    3. Support cost 
  • Support and Implementation
    1. While most accounting software comes with standard support channels, it’s important to scope out your implementation requirements and support requirements with definitive timelines.
    2. Check the ratings and reviews to see how the software company fares on customer support and implementation.
    3. Customization will be required especially when you are into this complex business of eCommerce marketplaces. 

Tally .ERP 9

Tally .ERP9 is undoubtedly the leader in Accounting software in India. 

It is a windows-based enterprise resource planning software. The software handles accounting, inventory management, order management, tax management, payroll, banking and many such requirements of the business. It supports all day-to-day processes from recording invoices to generating various MIS reports.

Tally boasts of 6 million overall customer base out of which 2 million are with an official Tally license. 

Tally does not have any direct integration with any eCommerce companies in India and hence the commonly used workaround is the import and export of spreadsheets which may not be a good practice.

eVanik OWS is the only tool that has an automated chrome extension based integration with Tally ERP9. This means that there is no need for you to manually upload or download vouchers. No 3rd party module (TDL) needs to be installed into your Tally license. All ledgers, SKUs get mapped or created automatically through eVanik. And the GST reports generated on your Tally will be 100% accurate and error-free.

The biggest limitations of using Tally are:

  1. Limitation on data. Experience says that after posting 50-70k vouchers, the software tends to slow down. Generating GST and other reports take a long time.
  2. Tally is a single company / single branch software. Branch accounting is not available
  3. Its an offline and desktop-based software and cannot be accessed from a remote location
  4. The multi-user version of Tally can run only if all the users are on the same network.

QuickBooks Online

QuickBooks Online provides direct integration with very limited marketplace channels. In the Indian eCommerce context, this is even more restricted. However, if you have the technical expertise, you can do an API integration of a few of your marketplaces (that provide API) directly with QuickBooks Online.

QuickBooks offers on-premises accounting applications and cloud-based versions with features like expense tracking, tracking bills and due dates, and reporting

Currently priced at Rs. 4,800/- per year, QuickBooks comes with a 30-Day Free Trial. The “Simple” edition of QuickBooks Online limits to 1 Billable User, 250 Charts of Accounts, lack of custom reports and no multiple branch accounting options.

Alignbooks

Alignbooks leads the house when it comes to eCommerce accounting in India. Alignbooks is a Delhi based company focused on SMBs. Alignbooks recorded 1000 new customers within the first year of its launch.

The biggest advantage of this software is that it is completely automated and integrated with eVanik OneWorld Suite. Server-based APIs between Alignbooks and eVanik ensure real-time and automated transaction posting without any manual intervention. Reports are highly customized and the support is available 24×7 from the company. It’s Multi all the way: Multi-User, Multi-Company, Multi-Location, Multi-Branch and unlimited transactions.

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Zoho Books

Zoho Books is one of the most sought after cloud-based accounting software in India and now globally. Zoho Books provides end to end accounting and also has a very simple and useful mobile application in Android and iOS.

zoho books

The pricing of Zoho Books is very attractive for small businesses The standard edition comes at just Rs. 2,499/- per year with a restriction of 5,000 invoices annually and the premium edition comes at Rs. 19,999/- per year with 25,000 invoices. The pricing steeps up with more number of invoices.

Ecommerce integrations are limited to sales orders and returns. Payments from marketplaces can be managed through their bank feed integrations. Cons – Single Branch, restriction on the number of transactions, limited users, etc.

NetSuite

NetSuite is one of the leading solution providers of cloud-based business management software. NetSuite helps companies manage core business processes with a single, fully integrated system covering ERP/financials, CRM, eCommerce, inventory and more. NetSuite is focused on strong compliance management and designed for large enterprises. If you have a global and large enterprise business with multiple verticals, NetSuite is worth checking out.

Pricing of NetSuite may be one major constraint if your business is into early or growth stages. NetSuite’s cost depends on several factors including the selected product configuration, add-on modules required, total user count and contract duration. NetSuite’s base license pricing begins at $999 per month with general user access listed at $99 per month.

NetSuite comes with a basic integration with eVanik OneWorld Suite.



Xero

Xero is another popular online accounting software. Right from the Xero login page, the overall experience of the web and mobile version is fantastic.

Xero comes with integration with over 800 third party apps and a very hands-on expense management module. Xero boasts of over 2 million subscribers. The UI of Xero is one of the most beautiful in this segment.

Xero also claims to provide a reconciliation of Amazon FBA transactions and the Amazon Seller Central can get integrated with Xero. Besides Amazon, integrations with Alibaba, Etsy, and eBay are also available.