One of my Aunt buys raw materials from her Kashmiri(Indian) friends and sells hand made or designed dress materials. She doing this for quite some time and very happy doing it as its keeping her busy and earning.
At first I thought its small city venture where her customers are her friends only who buy from her if they like and when there is marriage season. But recently I overheard about her in my city when girls in my company were talking about nice dresses they have seen at some marriage at a small town. I also gathered information that they are interested to buy but cant travel so far and were wondering why it is not available online. The factor that had their attention was the cost and quality of the product.
So the idea is I want to extend this small venture and make it online. I researched for hosting online store for this and saw many hosted application providers. Being developer myself I thought of developing it but if good option is available I can go with it as I am not experienced in hosting and UI design for such applications should be great.
Can anyone please suggest something where to start from?
My questions are as below:
# Which hosting options shall I go for or where can I find better applications?
# If I have to develop it, where can I find some good free source-code to start from?
# Do I need to register this online store?
This online store will be in India only and at beginning only for my current city(South India)
Thank you for your experienced inputs.
Even if you go with a hosted solution over doing it yourself, there can still be a lot of overhead that you and your aunt might not want to deal with, especially if it's a small venture. I would suggest looking into sites that already provide an established marketplace for handcraft goods. Here in the US we have Etsy. They make setting up a storefront a lot easier and give ready access to millions of visitors who are already coming to the site looking for handcrafted goods.
I'm not sure what stipulations there might be behind using Etsy from India, but a quick search on a similar service offered in India turned up Craftsvilla. Here is an article on the service. Etsy has been around long enough that a number of people have found great success on it, and you can apply lessons learned from it to Craftsvilla or anything similar, such as:
Consider a completely hosted solution such as Shopify.com to help get your started. Its affordable ($30 u.s. per month flat rate), its flexible and allows you to brand your own store (unlike Etsy which is simply a marketplace).
This will enable you to get going on selling your product and if you choose to build your own solution you can do that while your marketing and earning revenue from the hosted solution.
You will have to check if Shopify is available in your country however.