How to Start an Ecommerce Business From Scratch in 2024

Updated Aug 7, 2023.
How to Start an Ecommerce Business From Scratch

In November, Trevor Chapman invested just $200 in capital to start a new business. In two weeks, he was making up to $10,000 in daily sales. Within the first three months, he had made over $1 million in sales.

Jared Goetz, on the other hand, built his new business from zero to $2 million in sales within 2 months while working just 30 minutes per day.

For Irwin Dominquez, it took 8 months to bring in his first $1 million in sales.

One thing these three guys have in common is that they built businesses from scratch to over $1 million in sales in just a few months. The other thing they have in common is that they all did it by starting ecommerce businesses.

If you are looking for a low capital business idea that allows you to make money passively, starting an ecommerce business is your best bet.

In this guide, we’ll teach you everything you need to know about how to start an ecommerce business, including choosing a great niche, market research and validation, setting up your ecommerce website, sourcing products, marketing your ecommerce business, and so much more.

Let’s get started.

Step 1: Research Ecommerce Business Models

The first thing you need to do when starting an ecommerce business is to determine the most suitable ecommerce business model for you.

An ecommerce business model is a structure that defines how you will source your products and handle inventory management.

Your chosen ecommerce business model will affect things like the niches you can get into, the products available for you to sell, how you’ll price your products, your marketing strategy, and so on.

Below, let’s check out five popular ecommerce business models you can choose from.

1. Dropshipping

The Dropshipping Model
Source: Lateshipment

Dropshipping is an easy and convenient ecommerce business model that has rapidly grown in popularity.

With dropshipping, you only set up an online storefront and find buyers for your products, while the order fulfilment is handled by a third party supplier.

Most online entrepreneurs prefer the dropshipping model because it is low cost and highly convenient, since they don’t have to keep inventory or handle shipping. On the flip side, however, it gives third parties some influence over your customer experience.

2. White Labeling

This ecommerce business model involves selling generic products White Labeling
Source: Yourstory

This ecommerce business model involves selling generic products labelled with your name and brand.

For instance, you can find a manufacturer making generic sunglasses, have them label the sunglasses with your brand name, and then sell them as your own product.

3. Private Labeling

If you want to sell a unique product that no one is selling, private labeling is your best bet. With this business model, you first come up with an idea for a unique product, and then find a manufacturer to produce the product for you.

4. Wholesaling

Wholesaling and Warehousing Business Model

This business model involves purchasing products in bulk at low prices, and then selling them on your online store at retail prices.

Wholesaling gives you total control over your entire customer experience, and can offer great margins, but it requires lots of capital to purchase inventory and invest in warehouse space.

You will also be in charge of managing inventory, fulfilling customer orders, handling returns, and so on.

5. Subscription Service

Subscription Service business model
Source: Bmtoolbox

This is an innovative ecommerce business model where you charge your customers a specific amount of money every month and deliver your product to them every month. A good example of an ecommerce business using the subscription model is Dollar Shave Club.

Step 2: Start Ecommerce Niche Research

While Amazon has achieved success by selling everything under the sun, it’s very unlikely that you are going to build the next Amazon.

If you want to quickly achieve success with your ecommerce business, you have to focus on a specific niche. Choosing a niche makes it easier for you to build your brand while reducing the number of competitors you have to deal with.

It’s good to note, however, that not all niches are profitable. This is why you have to do some ecommerce niche research before starting your ecommerce business.

So, what makes a good ecommerce niche? Here are some things to keep in mind when looking for a suitable niche…

  • Go for niches where you can potentially add value to products that are currently in the market. This will give you an edge over the competition.
  • Do thorough market research for that niche, taking note of things like market size, potential for profitability, level of competition, marketing potential, market trends, and so on.
  • Ranking will have a huge impact on your ability to make sales. Do some keyword research using a keyword research tool like SEMrush and find a niche with a good balance between search volume and competition.
  • Go for niches you are highly knowledgeable in. The more you know about your niche, the easier it is to sell products within that niche.
  • Avoid niches that are dominated by household brand names. People are unlikely to ditch renowned brands in favor of new brands they’ve never heard of before.

Step 3: Validate Target Market And Product Ideas

Having identified a profitable niche, you can now start thinking about the products within that niche that you are going to sell.

Note, however, that just because a niche is profitable, this does not automatically mean that all products within that niche will be profitable.

Before you settle on specific products, it is crucial for you to validate the target market, as well as your product ideas and ascertain that there is demand for these products.

So, how do you do this? Here’s what you need to do to validate your target market and product ideas…

1. Check Best Seller Lists

The best way to identify highly profitable product ideas is to look at products that are currently selling well.

For instance, if a lot of people are purchasing Bluetooth speakers, it shouldn’t be that hard for you to sell Bluetooth speakers. After all, there’s a lot of demand for them.

To identify products that are currently selling well, go to ecommerce marketplaces like Amazon or eBay, select your niche, and then click on Best Sellers.

Let’s say, for instance, you want to sell cell phone accessories. Go to the Amazon Best Sellers page, select your product category (cell phone accessories), and you’ll instantly see products that are selling well.

Amazon Best Sellers page

2. Check Your Market Size

Once you’ve identified products you’d be interested in selling, the next step is to think about your market – who are the people you are going to sell to?

Start by developing a detailed buyer persona of your ideal customer. Who are they? What’s their age? Where do they live? What are their interests? How much money do they make?

After developing your buyer persona, you can then use it to identify your potential market size. The best way to do this is to use Facebook’s Ad Manager. Just add details about your audience, and Facebook’s Ad manager will tell you how many people you can potentially reach.

Let’s say, for instance, your ideal customers are men and women aged between 18 and 65 years, live in Florida, and are interested in fishing and mountain biking.

If you add these details to the audience creation tool in Facebook Ad Manager, it will show you the potential size of your market, which in this case is 5.1 million people.

Facebook Ad Manager Edit Audience

Another way to estimate your potential market size is to use keyword research tools like Google’s Keyword Planner Tool or SEMrush. Search for keywords related to your product, and these tools will tell you the number of people searching for your products.

If lots of people are searching for the product, you have a large potential market to sell to. If only a handful of people are searching for your products, you’ll have a hard time selling.

Sometimes, a product that is selling well at the moment might turn out to be a passing fad. If you base your ecommerce business on such products, you’ll quickly run out of business once the fad has passed.

To avoid such situations, it’s always a good idea to check the popularity of the product over time. The best tool for doing this is Google Trends.

With Google Trends, you can tell whether interest in your products is steady, increasing, or decreasing.

Naturally, you don’t want to focus on products whose popularity is decreasing. The best option is to go for products that have steadily maintained their popularity for a couple of years.

4. Test Before Investing

At this point, you should have identified product ideas that have a ready market. Before using all your money acquiring inventory, however, it’s always a good idea to do one final test to confirm that there are actually real people interested in your product.

One easy way to do this is to set up a landing page explaining what your ecommerce business will be selling, and then ask interested people to share their email address so that you’ll notify them once you launch your business.

This will help you to gauge the level of interest in your product from real people. The best part about this approach is that you’ll already have leads.

Once you launch your business, you can reach out to these people and promote your products to them, since they are already interested in your products.

Another effective way of confirming the level of interest in your products is to run a presale. Instead of asking people to share their email, ask them to pay for your products in advance. If a significant number of people pre-order your product, this is enough validation of your product idea.

Note, however, that this approach is only effective when you are creating unique products that people cannot buy elsewhere.

Step 4: Register Your Ecommerce Business And Brand Name

Now that you have validated your products and you are certain that there is a sizable market for the products, it’s time to pick a brand name for your business and register the business.

1. Pick A Business Name

Your business name is what identifies your business and lays the foundation of your brand, so you need to choose a good business name.

Generally, a good business name is one that is unique and memorable, one that gives people an idea of what your business does, and one that resonates with your target audience.

Avoid gimmicky names, since they can be confusing and distract people from your products.

Once you’ve picked a name, check with the U.S Patent and Trademark Office and your local secretary of state office to make sure that no other business has claimed the business.

If the name is available, the next thing you need to do is to check if the corresponding domain name is available. You don’t want to register a business, only to find out that someone else is using the domain.

Here is a list of some reliable domain registrars you can use to search for and register your domain.

  • Bluehost: Bluehost is one of the best domain registrars available. They offer a wide variety of top level domains (TLDs), including geo-located and country specific TLDs.
  • If you are looking for versatile domain registration options, an intuitive domain search system, and an extensive selection of TLDs, is a great choice.
  • Namecheap: This domain registrar allows you to get domains at very affordable prices. They also have a very effective domain name generator, and offer free domain privacy services.

Once you’ve picked a good brand name with an available domain name, the next thing you need to do is to register your business and ensure you are in compliance with all the legal aspects required to operate a business.

At this stage, you’ll need to choose a business legal structure, apply for an Employer Identification Number (EIN), and acquire all local and state licenses and permits that you need to legally start and run a business within your city and state.

This step can be pretty confusing for a lot of people, yet it will have implications on things like your taxes.

It is therefore recommended that you consult a legal professional to help you with this step. Below are some reliable online legal services that can help you with this.

  • ZenBusiness: ZenBusiness specializes in formation and registration of businesses, and is a good option when you want to get all the legal aspects of your new business right while keeping your costs low.
  • Rocket Lawyer: In addition to business registration, Rocket Lawyer also helps with creation and review of all sorts of legal business documents, as well as offering a myriad of other legal services.
  • Incfile: This is one of the best online legal services for matters dealing with formation and registration of new businesses, tax support, and compliance with local and state business laws.

3. Get A Logo For Your Business

Finally, you’ll need to design a logo for your business. A logo is a visual representation of your brand, and forms a large part of your brand identity.

Here, you don’t have to spend weeks trying to come up with the perfect logo. A simple logo will do. It just needs to be unique, easily recognizable, and should resonate with your target audience.

It’s also good to note that you don’t have to be a graphic design guru to come up with a logo for your business. Instead, you can use logo makers to come up with a simple and functional logo for your business.

Here are some good logo makers you should consider using…

  • Tailor Brands: This is an AI powered tool that comes up with dozens of suitable logo designs based on a few questions they’ll ask you to answer about your business and preferences.
  • Looka: This logo maker asks you to provide a few details about your business, and then generates hundreds of possible logos. If you find a logo you like, you have the option to customize it and change things like fonts, background shapes, icons, layouts, and so on.
  • Hatchful: Owned by Shopify, this is a powerful tool that allows you to create a logo for your business for free. However, hatchful offers limited customization options.

If you don’t want to use an online logo maker, you can hire a freelancer to design a logo for you from freelancing platforms like Upwork, Fiverr, or 99Designs.

Step 5: Create Your Online Store

Now that you’re done with the legal and basic branding aspects of your new ecommerce business, it’s now time to build the actual online store where your customers will view your products and make purchases.

Here, you have two options. You can either build your online store from scratch, or use an ecommerce platform.

For those who have never built another online store before, we recommend using an ecommerce platform.

Ecommerce platforms allow you to build your online store without having to worry about code, and they come with hundreds of templates that you can use to set up your store and have it running within a matter of minutes.

If you decide to use the ecommerce platform route, here are five of the best ecommerce website builders you should consider using.

  • Shopify: This is the world’s most popular ecommerce platform, and is a great choice for anyone looking for a hosted solution. Shopify is very easy to use, it allows integration with multiple third party tools and platforms, gives you a high level of customization, and provides detailed reports and analytics. Their customer support is top notch, and they have a wealth of information about growing your online store.
  • BigCommerce: Another popular platform, people love it because of the impressive set of in-built tools it offers. It has a drag and drop page editor, a customizable checkout process, it is optimized for mobile, and it allows integration with multiple payment processors.
  • Wix eCommerce: If you’re looking for a quick and easy solution for building your online store, Wix eCommerce is a great option. This platform comes with over 500 online store templates, supports unlimited products, and allows you to connect your online store to multiple social channels and online marketplaces. It also has a dropshipping feature that is pretty awesome for those using the dropshipping model.
  • Squarespace Commerce: This platform is great for those who want to create online stores with sleek storefronts. It comes with tons of elegant online store templates, built-in SEO tools, and mobile optimized storefronts. Squarespace Commerce also allows integration with lots of third party tools, as well as a point of sale feature that allows integration with a physical store.
  • Ecwid: If you have a small budget and are looking for a platform that offers free plans, Ecwid is your best option. Ecwid is essentially a widget that allows you to add a shopping cart to your social media pages, or your WordPress website.

Once you’ve chosen your preferred ecommerce platform, log into your dashboard, set up your online store, and add a few key pages to your site, such as the storefront (shop), about us page, contact us page, FAQ page, and a shipping and returns page.

At this point, your online store will be up and running. All you need to do now is to upload your products and you’ll be ready to make your first sale.

Step 6: Source Or Develop Your Products

Before you can start attracting customers to your business, you need to get the products you are going to sell. Here, you have two options – either develop the products, or source them from suppliers.

If you intend to sell your own unique products, your only option is to develop the products. You can either do this by yourself, or find a manufacturer to do it for you.

When you’re just starting out, it is a lot better to start with local manufacturers. With a local manufacturer, it is easier to confirm the quality of their products, it is easier for you to be involved in the manufacturing process, and you’ll be able to order fewer products while keeping your costs low.

Once your business has grown and can now allow you to order higher amounts, you can then switch to global manufacturers to enjoy lower prices.

Some of the platforms you can use to find global manufacturers include…

  • Alibaba: This is the best platform for finding manufacturers from across the globe.
  • IndiaMart: This is another popular marketplace where you can find thousands of manufacturers to create products for you. Most of the manufacturers are based in India.
  • Made-In-China: Like the name suggests, this platform connects you to manufacturers from China. A lot of ecommerce brands have their products manufactured in China because of the low prices.

If the products you intend to sell already exist in the market, your best bet is to source the products from suppliers. Here is a list of some of the most reliable platforms for sourcing physical ecommerce products:

  • Oberlo: This is the best option for finding dropshipping suppliers for your ecommerce shop. Oberlo also allows you to add products directly from the platform to your Shopify store.
  • Printify: If you are selling print-on-demand items on your ecommerce store, this is the best platform to find print on demand suppliers, with over 300 product categories to choose from.
  • Wholesale Central: If you’re using the wholesaling ecommerce business model, Wholesale Central is the best platform to help you find wholesalers to supply you with products.
  • Handshake: This is a wholesale marketplace that is run by Shopify. Handshake connects you to hundreds of wholesalers from the US.

Step 7: Attracting Customers To Your Ecommerce Store

Your ecommerce store is ready, you’ve sourced and uploaded your products, and are now ready to start accepting customers.

Here’s the thing, however. Customers won’t just come simply because your online store is up and running. If you want to attract customers and start making sales, you have to promote and market your ecommerce business.

Below, let’s check out some of the most effective strategies for marketing your ecommerce store.

1. Email Marketing

Email marketing is one of the most effective marketing strategies, both for ecommerce businesses, as well as other types of business. According to Oberlo, email marketing gives an average return of $42 for every $1 invested.

Email Marketing strategies
Source: Oberlo

Once you launch your ecommerce business, focus on collecting as many email addresses as possible – both from people who have bought your products, as well as those who have not bought but are interested in your products.

Now that you have their emails, you can then send regular emails to these people, encouraging them to visit your online store, alerting them about new products, notifying them about offers and discounts, and so on.

To build your email list and manage your email marketing campaigns, you’ll need access to an email marketing platform.

Here are some of the best email marketing platforms you should consider using…

  • ConvertKit: Great for sending fully customized and personalized emails, and allows you to add a buy button to your emails.
  • ConstantContact: This is a great option for beginners and small businesses. It allows integration with Shopify, and offers extensive analytics and insights about your email marketing campaigns.
  • SendinBlue: If you want to create highly persuasive transactional emails, SendinBlue is your best bet. It comes with an extensive email template library, and allows integration with SMS and CRM tools.

2. Social Media

Today, people use social media not only to catch up with friends, but also to find products they are looking for. As an ecommerce business owner, it is very important that you create social media pages for your business.

You’ll use your social media pages to boost your brand awareness, interact with customers and prospective customers, showcase your products, drive traffic to your store, and so on.

To improve the efficiency and effectiveness of your social media marketing campaigns, we recommend using social media management tools like…

  • Buffer: This is a great tool for scheduling social media posts, tracking and analyzing the performance of your social media campaigns, and collaborating with social media influencers.
  • HootSuite: This social media management tool allows you to manage multiple social media pages from one dashboard, schedule posts, monitor your brand mentions on multiple social platforms, and even monitor your competitors.
  • Sprout Social: With this tool, you can schedule your posts, listen to your brand mentions, view your social media analytics, manage multiple social media pages, aggregate customer conversations from different platforms, and so much more.

3. Search Engine Optimization

When a prospective customer is actively looking for a product, one of the first things they do is to search for the product on search engines like Google.

If you are not optimizing your ecommerce store for search, therefore, you are missing out on lots of traffic that could potentially turn into buyers.

Some of the things you can do to optimize your ecommerce store for search include finding the right keywords and using them in your site content, creating and implementing a link building strategy, adding alt-text to your product images, using proper title tags and meta descriptions, and so on.

Here are some SEO tools to help you optimize your ecommerce website for search.

  • SEMrush: This is an all-rounded SEO tool that is great for keyword research, competitor research, content analysis, and traffic analytics.
  • Ahrefs: Ahrefs allows you to do keyword research, perform SEO audits on your ecommerce website, analyze your backlinks and those of your competitors, track your rankings on search engines, and so much more.
  • Long Tail Pro: This is a great SEO tool for finding long tail keywords and analyzing the traffic, competitiveness, and potential profitability of these keywords.

4. Webinar Marketing

Many people think webinars are only a good marketing strategy for services and digital products. Used the right way, however, webinars can also be great for marketing an ecommerce business selling physical products.

With webinars, you can grow your brand, drive more traffic to your ecommerce store, build your email list, increase your sales, and boost brand loyalty.

Marketing your ecommerce business through webinars is pretty simple. Host a webinar on a topic that your potential customers are interested in and promote the webinar to get people to attend the webinar.

During the webinar, make a presentation that truly adds value to your attendees’ lives. Finally, at the end of the webinar, you can now promote your ecommerce store, promote your products, give discounts, ask people to sign up to your email list, and so on.

Below are some of the best webinar software platforms that you can use to host high quality webinars that will deliver results for your ecommerce business.

  • WebinarJam: This is one of the most popular webinar platforms. We love WebinarJam because it comes preloaded with tons of sales and marketing features
  • Demio: If you are looking for a webinar platform that is simple and intuitive to use, this is your best bet.
  • GoToWebinar: This is another popular webinar platform that is best suited for those looking to host live webinars with high quality live streaming.

5. Blogging

Very often, customers have some questions that they want answers to before they make the purchase decision. How does the product work? Will it solve my problem? How can I get the most out of the product?

Here’s the thing however. Most of them won’t reach out to you and ask these questions.

Instead, they will search for these questions on search engines and then get directed to blogs that contain these answers. If your ecommerce website does not have a blog, you are losing out on these potential customers.

Adding a blog to your ecommerce store and regularly publishing relevant content gives you a chance to attract potential customers and influence their purchase decision long before they are ready to buy.

By the time they are ready to make the purchase, you’ll already have cultivated some trust and will be at the top of their minds.

Step 8: Optimize Your Ecommerce Business Operations

When you are just starting out, handling the day to day operations of your ecommerce business by yourself might not be too much of a hustle.

As your business grows, however, the amount of work needed to keep your ecommerce business running smoothly will increase significantly.

You’ll have a bigger inventory to manage, more customers to handle, more orders to fulfill, more marketing requirements, and so on.

Trying to handle everything by yourself will only hold back your growth. If you want to grow and scale your ecommerce business, you’ll have to optimize your business operations. The best way to do this is through automation.

Automation allows you to delegate some of your tasks to software tools and platforms, allowing you to get more work done in less time, and with minimal effort and errors.

Below, let’s take a look at some of the business operations you can optimize to improve the performance of your ecommerce business.

1. Inventory Management

As your business grows, you might have hundreds, sometimes thousands of products in your inventory. Manually managing the movement of such a large inventory is not only hectic and time consuming, it can also lead to costly errors.

The best way to accurately manage such a huge inventory is to invest in inventory management software. With inventory management software, it becomes a lot easier to ensure you have optimum levels of inventory at all times, depending on expected demand.

Here are some of the best inventory management software you can use in your ecommerce business.

  • Zoho Inventory: In addition to helping you track and manage your inventory, Zoho Inventory allows integration with tools and platforms like Shopify, Slack, and RazorPay, and provides you with useful insights that can help you improve your bottom line.
  • QuickBooks: QuickBooks is best suited for small ecommerce businesses with smaller inventory management needs, and those looking for an affordable but reliable solution.
  • Stitch Labs: If you sell your products across multiple channels, Stitch Labs is the best software for tracking and managing inventory from different channels in one central place.

2. Accounting

Investing in accounting tools and software will make it easier for you to track how money is flowing into and out of your ecommerce business.

Below are some of the best accounting tools and software for your ecommerce business.

  • Intuit QuickBooks Online: This is a feature-rich, cloud based accounting software that is best suited for small ecommerce businesses that want to be able to monitor and track their books on the go.
  • FreshBooks: If you are looking for an affordable accounting tool with a ton of features, FreshBooks is your best bet.
  • Zoho Books: We love Zoho Books due to its ease of use, rich set of tools, and its advanced functionality, which makes it suitable for ecommerce businesses of all sizes.

3. Marketing Automation

Marketing automation makes it possible for you to put your marketing campaigns on autopilot, allowing you to promote your business to more people and attract more customers without significantly increasing your workload.

Some of the best marketing automation software you can use to optimize your marketing efforts include…

  • SendinBlue: This is an all-round marketing platform that allows you to automate your email marketing and SMS marketing campaigns.
  • Constant Contact: With Constant Contact, you can automate your emails, run social media campaigns, run A/B tests, and so much more.
  • Maropost: Maropost is designed for multi-channel marketing automation. With Maropost, you can automate your email marketing, social media marketing, sales, and customer relationship management.

4. ERP Systems

ERP systems are multifunctional platforms that allow you to manage multiple aspects of your ecommerce business from one place.

With an ERP system, you can manage sales, marketing, finances, employees and personnel, supply chain, and so much more.

Below are some of the best ERP systems you can use to optimize the day to day operations of your ecommerce business.

  • NetSuite: This is a cloud-based ERP solution that helps with revenue management, financial planning, inventory management, procurement, order management, billing, and several other business operations.
  • Odoo: This ERP system is a great choice for automating sales and marketing, human resources, web presence, employee productivity, and customer relationship management.
  • Oracle: This is a fully featured ERP system that is best suited for larger ecommerce businesses. With Oracle, you can automate procurement and supply chain, finances and accounting, business intelligence, and so much more.

Tips For Starting An Ecommerce Business

At this point, you already know the step by step process of setting up an ecommerce business, and you are either ready to start building your ecommerce business, or have already started working on it.

Regardless of where you are on your journey to build your first ecommerce business, here are some tips that will help you increase your chances of success.

1. Be Ready To Invest Lots Of Time

A lot of people get into ecommerce because of the allure of passive income. They want to build a business that generates money even while they are spending time with their family, or traveling around the world.

While an ecommerce business will certainly help you build passive income, it’s good to note that this won’t happen immediately.

An ecommerce business is a front-load business, which means you’ll need to invest a lot of work at the start before the money starts coming in. You have to build your online store, create content, work on search optimization, market your business, and so on.

Don’t start an ecommerce business expecting to work 2 hours per week. If you want to achieve success quickly, be prepared to spend a huge part of your time working on your business, at least during the first couple of months.

Sure, there are some entrepreneurs who manage to get their ecommerce businesses into profitability within one or two months, and without breaking their backs, but these are exceptions, rather than the norm.

2. Focus On Building A Brand

Even though you are starting an ecommerce business in order to make money, don’t make this your key goal. Instead, focus on delivering value to your customers and building your brand.

For instance, delivering lower quality products might lead to higher margins and greater profits in the short term, but eventually, many of these customers will never come back or recommend your online store to their friends.

To avoid this, focus on building a strong brand from the very start. Partner with high quality suppliers, make sure you’re only selling products you’d use yourself, and generally make sure that your customers have no reason to complain about your services.

3. Offer Great Customer Service

Online shopping comes with some level of risk for your customers. For instance, when buying a shoe online, there’s a risk that the indicated size could be wrong, or that the material might not be what the customer expects.

To help minimize such risks, customers will often want to talk to someone and have their concerns addressed before they make the purchase.

If you do not address customer concerns quickly, many of them will abandon the transaction and buy from someone else. To avoid this, focus on delivering great and fast customer service.

Provide customer support options like live chat, phone support, a detailed FAQs page, self-service content, and so on. It’s all about building trust with your customers and putting their minds at ease before – and even after – they make the purchase.

4. Optimize Your Store For Conversions

Very often, ecommerce store owners put a lot of focus into driving traffic to their sites, but most of these visitors only look around and leave without making a purchase.

If you want a good chunk of your site visitors to buy from you, you have to make sure that your online store is optimized for conversions.

Some of the things you can do to optimize for conversions include…

  • Using high quality product images
  • Creating highly detailed product descriptions
  • Offering benefits like free shipping
  • Tracking cart abandonment and following up with these customers
  • Making your checkout process easy

5. Optimize For Mobile

According to Oberlo, 56.7% of all web traffic today comes from mobile devices.

Global Mobile Phone Website Traffic Share Statistics
Source: Oberlo

If your ecommerce website is not optimized for mobile, you are losing out on lots of traffic as your visitors abandon your site in favor of mobile-friendly online stores.

6. Focus On Repeat Customers

Very often, many ecommerce website owners put all their focus on attracting new customers to their online stores.

Here’s the thing, however. It is a lot easier to sell to someone who has bought from you before, than to sell to a new customer. The repeat customer already trusts your business, and they know what to expect when they order from you.

While we are not saying that you should stop looking for new customers, don’t forget about your current customers either. Reach out to them via email, build relationships with them, give them offers and discounts, and continue marketing relevant products to them.

7. Continually Test, Track, And Improve

When building an ecommerce business, the truth is that you’ll never get it right the first time. If you understand this, you won’t fret about making everything perfect before launching your ecommerce store.

Instead, you should continually test new ideas and approaches, track the performance of these approaches, and then refine your strategies and make small improvements here and there. Do this, and your ecommerce business will eventually become successful and highly profitable.

How To Start An Ecommerce Business FAQ

Is starting an ecommerce store profitable?

Yes. Starting an ecommerce business is a profitable venture. There are hundreds of thousands of people running profitable ecommerce stores from all over the world.

It’s good to note, however, that starting an ecommerce business is not a get rich quick scheme. 

Building a profitable ecommerce business takes a lot of time and effort, and for most people, it takes about 18 to 24 months before an ecommerce business starts turning a profit.

However, if you diligently follow all the steps and advice we have shared in this guide and remain committed, you’ll definitely make your ecommerce store profitable. Just don’t give up too early.

How do I start an ecommerce business with little money?

Starting an ecommerce business doesn’t always require lots of startup capital. If you go with business models like dropshipping and print-on-demand, you can start your online business with just a few hundred dollars.

At the very least, you’ll need money to purchase a domain and pay for a subscription on your preferred online store platform.

Once your store is up, you can then take advantage of free marketing channels to drive traffic to the store. If you want to grow your business quickly, however, it’s good to set aside some money for marketing as well.

Is it hard to start an ecommerce business?

No. It is very easy to start an ecommerce business. Ecommerce platforms like Shopify, BigCommerce, and Wix eCommerce have made it easy to set up your store and upload your products, even if you have no prior experience building an online store. 

Platforms like Oberlo and Wholesale Central, on the other hand, make it easy to find suppliers for your products.

Note, however, that just because it is easy to start an ecommerce business, this does not mean that achieving success is easy. 

Like with any other business, you have to work hard marketing your ecommerce business and building your brand if you want the business to be profitable.

How much does it cost to start an ecommerce brand?

You can start an ecommerce business with as little as $100. With this amount, you’ll be able to purchase a subscription to a reliable ecommerce platform, get a good-looking theme, and pay for logo design from a freelance designer.

The costs can however get a lot higher, depending on the type of ecommerce business you are setting up. 

For instance, if you intend to use the wholesaling business model, you will need to purchase inventory, lease warehouse space, and so on. Such expenses can sometimes push the costs of starting an ecommerce brand into thousands of dollars. 

What are the most profitable product categories to sell in my online store?

Some profitable product categories that you should consider selling in your online store include:

– Health and fitness products
– Clothing, shoes, and jewelry
– Beauty and skincare products
– Bluetooth speakers
– Smartphone accessories
– Drones and drone accessories
– Shapewear products
– Pet products
– Natural hair products
– Toys and games

There are several other profitable product categories that you can sell on your online store. All you need to do to uncover them is to do your own research on sites like Amazon and see what products are popular.

What are the different types of ecommerce?

There are four major types of ecommerce. First, we have B2C (Business-to-Consumer) ecommerce, where ecommerce businesses sell their products or services directly to the end users.

Second, we have B2B (Business-to-Business) ecommerce, where the ecommerce business sells to other businesses, rather than consumers.

Third, we have C2B (Consumer-to-Business) ecommerce, where individuals sell their products and services to businesses. A good example of this is social media influencers offering their services to businesses.

Finally, we have C2C (Consumer-to-Consumer) ecommerce, where individuals sell products and services to other individuals. Online marketplaces are a good example of C2C ecommerce.

What is the best ecommerce platform for a small business?

The best ecommerce platform for a small business is Shopify. Shopify is easy to use and highly intuitive, their prices are affordable, even for someone with a small budget. 

They offer a fast and easy checkout process, and their online stores are highly customizable. They also offer integrations with platforms like Facebook and Google, which makes it easier for you to market your online store.

What are the biggest mistakes when starting an ecommerce brand?

Some of the biggest mistakes you can make when starting an ecommerce brand include:

– Starting your ecommerce brand without doing your market research and without a proper understanding of your target audience.
– Selling the wrong products.
– Trying to develop your own ecommerce content management system.
– Choosing the wrong ecommerce platform.
– Not providing a great user experience on your ecommerce website.
– Failing to invest adequately in promoting and marketing your ecommerce business.
– Failing to develop a good SEO strategy to help your ecommerce business attract organic traffic.

Ready To Start Your Online Business?

Starting an online business is a pretty easy thing to do – if you know what to do. We have just provided you with a step by step guide on how to start an ecommerce website, so there’s nothing else holding you back from your dream of becoming a business owner.

If you start today, you can have your online business up and running before the end of the week, maybe even earlier.

Note, however, that an online business will not necessarily turn you into a millionaire within a month. Many of those making millions from their online businesses did not get there in a month. It took them lots of time and hard work.

The good thing is that, after reading this guide, you know what you need to do, so if you put in the time and work, you’ll also get there.

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Anastasia Belyh

Editor at FounderJar

Anastasia has been a professional blogger and researcher since 2014. She loves to perform in-depth software reviews to help software buyers make informed decisions when choosing project management software, CRM tools, website builders, and everything around growing a startup business.

Anastasia worked in management consulting and tech startups, so she has lots of experience in helping professionals choosing the right business software.