What if you could reach hundreds of millions of untapped potential buyers with your ecommerce offers?

If that sounds like a pipe dream, it’s not — the market is India, and the opportunities are ripe for sellers who are willing to embrace the unique quirks of the marketplace.

Vipul Garg, co-founder & CEO of VFulfill, and AdTiger marketing director Lawrence Tope wrote their own success story by tapping into the Indian ecommerce market to the tune of $200k per month — and they did it in just 90 days.

Before we explain how, however, let’s dive into why India can be such a fruitful market for ecommerce sellers.

Why Ecommerce in India? 🇮🇳

India is one of the largest untapped ecommerce markets in the world. The population currently totals 1.3 billion, which includes 250 million English speakers and more would-be buyers on Meta than European markets like Germany.

Further, CPMs and CPCs are much lower than Western countries, and TikTok copyright controls are a non-issue because TikTok is banned in India (though that doesn’t keep people from using it, and there is no penalty for individuals who do).

The biggest hurdle for most sellers who are new to the market is unfamiliarity or discomfort with Cash-on-Delivery (COD) as a payment method. However, COD actually presents a significant opportunity in India due to advantages like fewer payment processor issues and the elimination of chargebacks.

So how do you make this market your own? By following the five-step blueprint for COD ecommerce in India.

The 5-Step Blueprint For COD Ecom in India

The COD blueprint for ecommerce in India consists of five steps: research, launch, test, scale, and optimize.

It’s a proven and repeatable method for building profitable ecommerce stores.

1. Research 🧐

Success in the Indian market starts with effective product research. This means identifying products that solve relevant problems, as well as logistical considerations like cost-effective shipping weight.

Useful tools to research products include eComHunt, SellTheTrend, Evryweek, and eComInsider, which is built specifically for India. Spy tools like PipiAds and Mina are also helpful, and try checking out marketplace bestsellers on Amazon and AliExpress to spot trends early.

Finally, use PC3 validation methods to evaluate potential products for the Indian market, which include product fit, creative fit, competition fit, and compliance fit.

2. Launch 🚀

When you’ve identified a product that you’d like to sell, there are still some components that you’ll need in place before you launch a campaign.

One side of pre-launch is front-end setup. If you have an existing store, you’ll need to optimize it for mobile, create GIFs for dynamic and fast-loading product presentations, and verify that your checkout process is smooth and capable of integrating COD payments. Use these tips as your starting point:

Set up front-end ops

The other side is back-end operations. If you can, consider outsourcing back-end operations like product sourcing, fulfillment, shipping, COD collection, and tax management to streamline the process even further.

3. Test 🧪

Measure the success of your product testing using metrics such as CPA, confirmation rate, and delivery rate.

In the Indian market, your CPA should be 20-25% of your AOV, confirmation rate should be at least 90%, and delivery rate should be a minimum of 55%. Use a COD profitability calculator to determine your margins for a given product or order.

4. Optimize ⚙️

Profitability in Indian COD ecommerce is dependent on two things: your CPA, and your delivery rate.

Lawrence and Vipul recommend a few tactics for optimizing CPAs. Try using discounts as hooks in your ads, and incorporate experts’ names and publications for health-based products for maximum engagement.

Also, try incorporating reviews and ratings from other Indian shoppers, and set up an automated cart abandonment sequence in WhatsApp to recover incomplete orders without increasing your CPAs.

The most effective way to improve delivery rates is setting up local fulfillment operations and connecting with a courier line to ensure that you can reach customers throughout the country in two or three days.

Setting up automated shipping updates and offers for UPI payments can also increase customer satisfaction and conversions, respectively:

Hooks & Creatives Test

5. Scale 📈

When you are running successful campaigns in India and you’re ready to scale, you can pursue one of two paths – scaling for more orders, or increasing the average order value (AOV).

To scale for more orders, you can do so vertically by launching new creatives or localized UGC content, or horizontally by diversifying into other traffic sources like Taboola, Google, Outbrain.

For the latter, set up discounted bundles and low-value bumps to get AOV increases from Indian buyers.

You can also boost customer lifetime value (LTV) by introducing hero products and remarketing to existing customers.