cover image

Get in the Business: 10 E-commerce Business Ideas

Reading time: 0 minutes

Did you know that around 80% of all people on the web have made at least one online purchase? That’s an insanely large amount of people. It’s safe to say that e-commerce businesses are taking over.

The best thing is, e-commerce hasn’t even reached its peak. By the end of 2018, e-commerce is projected to grow by 13-25% over the previous year. If you haven’t already, this might be the perfect time to start an online business. The customer base has never been larger and is only expected to grow further.

Here’s another piece of good news: it’s really easy to start. There are a ton of tools that you can use, and more information on how to do it than ever.

This doesn’t mean that you’ll start making money in an instant since you still have a lot of ground to cover. Sure, selling online might be easier than starting a traditional business, but you still have many aspects to work on.

Should you Start an E-commerce Business?

The short answer is – definitely! There are so many benefits of selling products in your online store. Obviously, the biggest one is the ability to be your own boss and have full control over your financial success. You also have all the freedom that comes with it. You get to work on your own schedule and transform every idea you have into reality. E-commerce entrepreneurs also face much lower average startup costs than the traditional ones. Other appealing benefits of starting an e-commerce business are self-fulfillment and the freedom of access to the internet – meaning that you can basically do your work from anywhere to anyone! Besides, this type of business doesn’t necessarily require a team, so if you’re a non-sociable person, this could be ideal for you.

Of course, there are two sides to the e-commerce coin. As much as the financial freedom sounds appealing, you would expose yourself to the risk of unstable income. At some point, optimizing your business website can be quite a challenge. The competition is also fierce since the secret has long been out.

Despite this, starting an e-commerce business is definitely a journey worth embarking on. If you think that this is for you, here are some tips to get started.

How to Start Selling Online?

The first and most important aspect of starting an e-commerce store is finding the right product. It needs to be something you’ll enjoy selling, something that has potential. Find a niche market and make sure that there’s room for you in it.

After you do this, you can decide between producing it on your own or finding a good manufacturer to do it for you. If you go for the latter, remember that good communication is essential.

Once you have your product and means of production, you need to think about building your brand. This is among the most important steps, as a well-built brand can make a world of difference to your chances of success. Think about the basics, such as the name and the design of your store. It can be a standalone website, or you can use one of many e-commerce platforms.

Once you’ve created your store, think about fulfillment and shipping. There are many options to choose from, so go with the one that fits your and your customers’ needs, as well as your financial goals.

Make sure to develop a strong marketing strategy as well. Many businesses that have a great product fail because of their deficiency in this. Marketing is one of the keys to success, so make sure to be thorough and cover every aspect of it.

A Good E-commerce Business Idea in a Nutshell

As with pretty much every business, it’s the start that’s the hardest part. Coming up with a successful idea isn’t easy, so you need to devote quite some time and energy into it. After you’ve come up with the best product possible, you need to make sure that people can’t resist buying it. A unique product with a clear value proposition is definitely a criterion of a successful business, but the customization options are also essential (eg: Nike allows to design your own shoes). User experience is another factor that should be considered. Without providing clear and easily understandable navigation you might lose potential users.

To do this, you first need to focus on the visuals. Product presentation, website/platform, and pretty much everything else consumers see needs to be appealing. You also need to make customer satisfaction a priority. People need to see that you care about meeting their needs, not selling them a product for the purpose of making money.

Of course, using different marketing channels is an absolute must. Get to know your customers and find out what platforms they tend to use, then target them through these specific channels. Each and every industry is different, so dedicate enough time to discover the major characteristics of the industry you’re competing in. Once you have this information, you’ll able to create and run your marketing campaigns more effectively.

All of this is just the tip of the iceberg. If you want to see some great e-commerce business ideas in action, take a look at these examples:

1. Smartwatches

The market for wearable tech is huge. By 2019, the smartwatch industry is expected to hit around $53.2 billion. If you’re willing to invest a bit, reselling smartwatches can be a perfect idea for your online store.

There are all kinds of consumers that are on the lookout for a good smartwatch at any moment. From people who simply want to track their workout, to those who are obsessed with bringing technology into their everyday life.

Idea advantages:

  • Huge market
  • Multiple business models available
  • Multiple niche markets for targeting

If you want to make sure that you beat your competition, the first thing to focus on is quality. You need to earn people’s trust by offering good products instead of just cheap ones that they can find in many places. You can also use different features to target different niche markets.

The only risk you might be facing is that every tech gets old. You’ll have to do your best to keep up with the latest trends. Amazon seller Mocha Trading is a great example of a successful business in this market so you can learn a lot from its offering.

2. Wireless earbuds

Another great tech product that you can sell in your online store is wireless earbuds. By 2025, the market is expected to reach $15.8 billion, which makes this a great opportunity for growth.

Bluetooth and wireless technologies are on the rise, so is the demand for wireless accessories. Since wireless headphones are a fairly new category, there’s no risk of this tech becoming obsolete, especially since the technology that would trump wireless isn’t likely to show up in the near future.

You should, however, think about the constant improvements that you need to keep up with. The initial investment will depend on whether you want to be a reseller or a manufacturer, so consider your financial capabilities before you choose.

Idea advantages:

  • Growing technology
  • Big current gap between supply and demand

The way you can distinguish yourself from the competitors is by creating unique content related to wireless earbuds, instead of just promoting your shop the regular way. Create video tutorials, reviews, and information that your buyers will deem valuable.

eBay’s Unopery is a great example of a successful store. With a positive feedback of 98.7%, it’s safe to say that they know how to meet their customer’s needs. Have a look at the products they concentrate on. Don’t copy them, but rather think along the same line.

3. Phone cases

As long as people use smartphones, there will be enough room in the phone cases market for you. And since we all know that we basically can’t live without our little devices, this is a great idea for your new business. The only proof you need is the fact that the market is projected to be worth around $121.5 billion by 2025, and a part of that worth can be yours.

Idea advantages:

  • Huge market
  • Allows for flexibility

The only thing to beware of is the fierce competition. While there’s still room for you in the market, sellers are going out of their way to provide the best products possible. So how to succeed in the face of this?

One word – branding. Instead of being a drop in the sea of drop shippers, create your own unique brand. This can be quite costly so you might want to start with reselling until you have enough capital to create a brand.

Once you do, focus on creating unique phone cases and make sure to have an outstanding customer service. ROCK is an amazing example. Aside from phone cases, they sell other accessories as well, which is likely what you will do at one point to diversify your product line.

4. Beard oil

There’s a high chance that you already know this, beard mania has taken over men’s world. A huge majority of men is trying to grow an amazing beard to get on board with this trend. This is why beard oils are used by around 40% of American men, which is a huge increase from 15% in 2012. This is likely to remain the case, which makes this another great business idea.

Idea advantages:

  • Market on the rise
  • Easy to identify the target audience

If you want to rise above the crowd, the best way to do it would be to ensure a great social media presence, as it has the biggest variety of tools that you can use to distinguish yourself. As always, marketing is key, so focus a lot of your efforts on it. Also, if you’re creating beard oils yourself, there’s a ton of ways to perfect the formula, which can define your brand.

The danger you’d be facing in this business is that trends come and go. Even though beard oil is on the rise, it may be a matter of time before men start shaving their beard off again. When that happens, you might be at risk of failure if you don’t innovate.

Badass Beard Care is a brand to look up to when creating your own. Their market presence is great, so you can learn a lot from them and get some inspiration on how to make your brand stand out.

5. Enamel pins

Over the past couple of years, enamel pins have been one of the most popular business ideas. If you’re looking to start a business, this category is among the safest, as there are no signs of it going down in popularity in the near future.

Idea advantages

  • A wide variety of products to sell
  • Many opportunities for creating a unique brand

What makes this an amazing idea is that the number of options are virtually endless. There are so many different types of enamel pins that you should be able to identify your own niche. The initial investment is large, even if you decide to make your own. Drop shipping is still a more popular option, but creating your own can set you apart from the competition.

The only danger is the competition. If you want to distinguish yourself, you’re going to have to work pretty hard. DustandPages is a great little Etsy store that has achieved lots of success over the last two years. You can do the same if you’re able to source at healthy margins unique pins that people won’t be able to resist.

6. Workwear

Statistics show that this market is on a continuous rise. Its growth is slow and steady, so there’s definitely enough room for you. What makes it great is that you can sell many different types of products, which increases your chances of success. Workwear can range from safety clothing to body warmers and coveralls.

Idea advantages:

  • Multiple niches
  • A variety of potential target audiences – eg: mechanicals, railway conductors.

This is where you might have to invest quite a bit of money, as quality work apparel can be quite costly. If you play your cards right and develop a good business plan, there’s a high chance that the investment will pay off.

The main dangers of this idea stem from a wide variety of options. If you’re not thorough with your research, you might not find the right products or target the right segments of consumers.

Kolossus Workwear is a business that you might want to check out since they’re doing an amazing job. Other than their own standalone website, they sell on Amazon, eBay, and other platforms, which is an option for you as well. Find out why Kolossus Workwear branches out on many sales avenues, versus those that concentrate on one or two.

7. Compression Socks

This niche market has exploded recently, and the demand has never been higher. If you want a fairly safe way to enter the e-commerce game, this is one of the go-to products. Many resellers and manufacturers have shown up recently, but you can still carve out your niche if you have what it takes.

Idea advantages:

  • Large Potential
  • Defined target audience
  • Good diversification opportunities

What you’ll want to be careful about are the benefit claims. Promising certain effects puts you at risk of losing your customer’s trust. Never state anything directly, but use conditional phrases instead. Since this is a search-based product, you need to make sure to master SEO. This can make or break your business.

SockBoomer is doing a great job on eBay. They positioned their products very well and there is a variety of them, which opens doors to different niche markets.

8. Bamboo toothbrush

Due to heightened environmental consciousness, bamboo toothbrushes are among the top-trending products right now. The market is at an all-time high, with matching consumer interest. Due to the demand for environmentally-friendly products, this is likely to stay the case in the future.

Idea advantages:

  • Fairly new trend
  • Easier to market than many products

There aren’t any serious caveat associated with this particular idea. It’s fresh and people love it, so the only thing you need to do is ensure that you find the best way to sell it.

Instagram might be an opportunity when it comes to market this kind of product since bamboo toothbrushes can be nicely visualized. However, conduct a research before you start using this channels and find out whether your target customers are active Instagram users. Also, make sure your SEO is on point, as this product has a high search volume.

The Bam & Boo Toothbrush shows how it’s done. They have a unique business model full of innovative ideas so you might want to take a look at what they’re doing.

9. Throw pillows

As more and more people strike out on their own, the furniture market has seen quite an increase recently. Among the many different products, throw pillows are one of the most popular. They allow customers to personalize their space, which is something that every new homeowner wants.

Idea advantages:

  • Many target audiences
  • A variety of potentially profitable products

Throw pillows can come in many shapes and sizes. This means that you can specialize in many different products. Because of this, it’s not very risky to sell them, as long as you update your collection regularly.

If you want to succeed, you need to make sure that the pillows in your inventory are different than the ones your competition is offering. This would require some creativity to make your brand stand out.

MotifPillows is another successful Etsy store that has managed to rise above the competition. They have over 20,000 sales and counting, so they’re definitely doing something right.

10. Hair removal tools

Although this is something that people (mostly women) have been using for quite some time, statistics show that this industry has grown with particular strength over the last two years. Perhaps people are removing more hair at a higher frequency. Whatever the case, now can be the perfect time to get on board this trend and start reselling these tools.

Idea advantages:

  • A large market that is growing consistently
  • Many types of products to sell

Running marketing campaigns is essential in this case, as well. Try to find the top channels where your potential clients are active and create dedicated ads to them.

You also have to focus on SEO. The goal of this approach is to show up high in search results and ensure that consumers can reach you without feeling uncomfortable. As long as you market this product the right way, you’ll be on the right track.

Finishing Touch is a great brand that offers all kinds of products in this category. Their market presence is great and customers love their products, so you can definitely learn a thing or two from them.

Main Takeaways

A ton of great business ideas are making people good money right now. What you can see here are only some of the hottest ones right now, reserved for the eye of an aspiring entrepreneur.

If you are one, here are some of the first steps that you should take:

  1. Dedicate time for building the business – If you’re thinking about starting a business, you probably have a regular job or something else that makes ends meet. Creating a schedule is necessary for estimating the time it takes for your project to take off.
  2. Think about your budget – You need to make sure that you have enough money to start and to keep the business running after you start it. Don’t bite off more than you can chew, but rather start small and build your way up.
  3. Do your homework – Before you choose a product, make sure to do a ton of research on it. Take a look at what the industry leaders are doing and adapt to your scenario.