How to Start an Ecommerce Business in 2024 From Anywhere in the World

An ecommerce business is a fabulous lifestyle business model that you can start and run from anywhere in the world, whether that’s your kitchen table or a beach in Fiji.

From candles, clothes, jewelry, beauty products, toys, pet accessories, games to tech gadgets, printable journals and planners, shoes, water bottles, and more, the choice of what to sell is only limited by your imagination.

This is a completely remote business opportunity that anyone of any age and skill level can master.

I’ve had a fair bit of success with ecommerce over the years, setting up my own stores, selling on marketplaces like Amazon and buying and selling existing ecommerce businesses.

In this article I’ll outline how to start an ecommerce business in 2024 and beyond, that you can start, launch and grow, with just your laptop and a grand vision!

Quick Takeaways:

  1. Choose Your Business Model: From print-on-demand to private labeling, select an ecommerce model that suits your interests and goals.
  2. Pick Your Platform: Whether it’s Shopify for a personal store or Amazon for a broader reach, the right platform can make or break your business.
  3. Define Your Niche: Specialize in a niche to stand out and attract a dedicated customer base, rather than competing with giants like Amazon.
  4. Research Profitable Products: Product viability is key—choose items with high demand and profitability to ensure a sustainable business.
  5. Craft Your Brand: Your brand is your promise; create a strong visual and narrative identity that resonates with your target audience.
  6. Launch Your Store Quickly: With focus and preparation, your online store can go live in a day—no physical inventory needed.
  7. Market Aggressively: Use ads, social media, and influencer partnerships to get your store noticed.
  8. Plan to Scale: Data and feedback can help improve and expand your business with strategies like upselling and new product lines.

What is an Ecommerce Business?

Ecommerce (electronic commerce) can literally be used to describe any kind of online business transaction. It’s basically the buying and selling products through online services or over the Internet.

So technically every post I write on this blog about starting an online business could be lumped under the ecommerce business banner, but for the sake of this article, I am specifically talking about the sale of physical products.

Even more specifically, the selling of physical products on your own online store as opposed to Amazon, Etsy, eBay, etc.

If you’d like to know how to start an ecommerce business using Amazon FBA, you can read my mammoth posts here – How We Built a 7 Figure Amazon FBA Business in 12 Months

Is an Ecommerce Business For You?

Of course, I can’t answer this for you, but I can talk a little about the pros and cons of starting an ecommerce business.

The awesome benefits of starting and running ecommerce companies or businesses are the same for all online lifestyle business models;

  • Passion to Profit: You get to create something from your passions if that’s what turns you on.
  • Flexibility: You get to work from anywhere in the world (my entire brand motto)
  • Go Global: You get to sell to a global marketplace (although be careful with this one because of shipping costs – I cover that in the shipping module) – but literally from day one you are an ‘international’ brand.
  • No Inventory: You can get started without even seeing what you’re selling (although I don’t advise it). But! You don’t have to have any inventory to hand, you don’t have to store anything and you don’t even have to be responsible for shipping et al!
  • Low Upfront Investment: You can also get started with relatively low upfront investment. You will need a few quid to get your platform set up, get some designs done for your site etc, but you don’t need to lay out $$$ upfront to buy stock (the downside of Amazon)

If you’ve just called your entire family into the room to read out how exciting this venture is and are shouting ‘someone pop the champers, this time next year we’ll be millionaires’, just hold your horses!

There are some downsides.

  • Competition: The ecommerce space is pretty competitive. To stand out you’ll need to create a strong brand and come up with some creative marketing techniques
  • Customer Trust: New ecommerce businesses face the challenge of building trust with customers who may be skeptical of unfamiliar online retailers. (Working with influencers is a huge upside here)
  • Thin Margins: Competitive pricing often leads to thin profit margins, making it difficult for new ecommerce businesses to achieve profitability (particularly with print on demand)
  • Marketing Costs: Attracting customers can require significant spending on online advertising, which can quickly deplete marketing budgets.
  • Customer Service Challenges: Providing high-quality customer service, which is vital, requires resources and efficient systems to manage inquiries and complaints.

To start an ecommerce business is hard work. Rome wasn’t built in a day as they say and neither will your online store be. (Well technically that’s not true, you could actually have an online store up and running in a day). But….

Once your ecommerce store is live then the hard work really starts.

There are a lot of ecommerce businesses out there including of course the big hairy monster Amazon, all vying for the attention of your potential audience. So standing out in a crowded marketplace is going to be tough.

The people who have the most successful ecommerce businesses build a strong brand and use all available resources to promote their products.

Nomatic – bags and accessories for nomads

The Different Ecommerce Business Models

Print on Demand

Print on Demand (POD) is basically what it says on the tin.

It’s a streamlined ecommerce business model where products are only created (and printed) once an order is placed.

Unlike traditional retail models that require bulk production and inventory management, POD allows you to sell customized items, such as t-shirts, mugs, socks, shoes, iPhone cases, and wall art, without the need to stockpile goods.

Here’s how it works: you choose a product from a POD company’s range of blank items, such as apparel or accessories. Then you apply a custom designs directly to these products. Once designed, you list them for sale on your website or a marketplace. When a customer makes a purchase, the order is sent to a POD company, who prints your design on the item and ships it directly to the buyer.

image of a woman face wearing black shades and printed on bags, top and note book -print on demand ecommerce business product example
Example of some POD items from one of my old shops

This model has become extremely popular among ecommerce entrepreneurs because it minimizes risk and overhead costs by eliminating the need for large upfront investments in inventory.

However, one of the challenges with POD is the higher cost price of items, requiring a significant markup to turn a profit, which can sometimes make your products less competitive in the market.

Later in this post, we’ll delve into strategies to manage these costs, but it’s worth noting that POD is one of the quickest ways to launch an ecommerce business with minimal initial setup.

Dropshipping

Dropshipping is another straightforward and potentially lucrative route to launching an ecommerce business, with its success heavily influenced by your product sources and the profit margins you can achieve.

In a dropshipping model, you curate products manufactured by others, showcasing them on your website. When a customer makes a purchase, you place the order with the manufacturer, who then ships the product directly to the customer. This method eliminates the need for you to hold any inventory upfront, reducing initial investment and risk.

However, the backbone of dropshipping is the quality of the products you choose to sell. Investing time in sourcing high-quality items is crucial because your business’s reputation depends on it.

Fortunately, platforms like Shopify streamline the dropshipping setup process with apps like Dsers, which integrate seamlessly to facilitate product management and order fulfillment.

Despite its appeal, starting a successful dropshipping business isn’t as straightforward as some sources might suggest. There are complexities and challenges not often discussed by dropshipping advocates and course sellers.

As we explore further, I’ll provide more details on the print on demand and dropshipping models to highlight both the advantages and the challenges, ensuring you have a clear understanding of what to expect.

Arbitraging

Arbitrage in ecommerce involves buying products at a low price and then selling them at a higher price on a different platform, capturing the profit from the price difference.

Commonly, this might involve purchasing items from car boot sales or garage sales at bargain prices and then reselling them on platforms like eBay or Amazon for a profit.

Known as retail or online arbitrage, this method is considered a relatively low-risk entry point into ecommerce.

Although I haven’t personally engaged in retail arbitrage, Jim Cockrum’s Proven Amazon Course comes highly recommended if you’re interested in pursuing arbitrage.

Private Labeling

This is the most popular way to start an ecommerce business model on Amazon FBA. (And how we’ve supported our lifestyle over the last few years).

Amazon FBA involves selecting a product already performing well on Amazon and sourcing it from a supplier on platforms like Alibaba. You negotiate the purchase of a minimum order quantity, often a few thousand units, and brand the products and packaging with your own logo before shipping to the Amazon warehouses.

You then list the product on Amazon and utilise both Amazons marketplace and your own promotional strategies to generate sales.

This method can be highly profitable but does require an initial capital investment and carries greater risk due to inventory commitments.

We successfully ran a 7-figure private label brand on Amazon before selling it in early 2020.

Designing & Manufacturing Your Own Products.

If you’re a crafter and make all your own homemade products, platforms like Etsy or Amazon Handmade offer a marketplace for selling unique, self-made items.

This route allows you to leverage your creative skills to design and manufacture your own products, offering them directly to consumers who appreciate handcrafted goods.

This method not only personalizes your ecommerce venture but also connects you with customers looking for authentic, bespoke products.

The Different Ecommerce Business Platforms

Choosing the right ecommerce platform is critical for the success of your online business. Each platform offers unique features and varies in terms of cost, usability, and scalability. Below, we explore some of the most popular ecommerce platforms to help you determine which one aligns best with your business objectives.

1. Shopify

  • Overview: Shopify is renowned for its ease of use and quick setup, making it ideal for beginners and seasoned merchants alike.
  • Best For: Businesses looking for an all-in-one solution with robust support and extensive integration capabilities.
  • Key Features: Integrated payment processing, a wide array of themes, and a comprehensive app store to extend functionality.

2. WooCommerce

  • Overview: An open-source plugin for WordPress websites, WooCommerce allows you to convert an existing site into a fully functional ecommerce store.
  • Best For: Current WordPress users and those who need a highly customizable platform.
  • Key Features: Seamless integration with WordPress, extensive customization options through plugins, and control over data.

3. Magento (Adobe Commerce)

  • Overview: Known for its powerful features and scalability, Magento is a favorite among medium to large enterprises.
  • Best For: Businesses that require advanced ecommerce features and have the technical know-how to manage them.
  • Key Features: Advanced security features, customizable design options, and strong inventory management capabilities.

5. Amazon FBA

  • Overview: Amazon’s Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) program allows you to leverage the marketplace’s extensive reach and fulfillment network.
  • Best For: Sellers looking to capitalize on Amazon’s massive audience and streamline shipping and handling.
  • Key Features: Access to Amazon Prime customers, simplified logistics, and potential for increased visibility.

6. Etsy

  • Overview: Ideal for sellers of handmade goods, vintage items, and crafts, Etsy provides a niche marketplace.
  • Best For: Small-scale artisans and those creating unique, often personalized products.
  • Key Features: Strong community, easy setup, and a focus on unique, small-batch products.

Your choice of platform should depend on your product type, budget, technical expertise, and long-term business goals. Consider starting with a platform that offers simplicity and room to grow. As your business expands, you might find that switching to a platform with more advanced capabilities is beneficial.

For the purposes of this article we will be focusing on Shopify as that is the ecommerce solution that I use and recommend for anyone wanting to start their own fully owned ecommerce business (as opposed to using a 3rd party platform like Amazon or Etsy)

shopify front page

How to Start an Ecommerce Business – 6 Key Steps

Step 1 – Choosing Your Ecommerce Business Niche

Embarking on the journey of starting an ecommerce business begins with defining your niche. It’s essential to identify not just what products you want to sell, but also who your target customers are, and how you plan to reach them.

If you’re certain about your niche and ready to proceed, feel free to skip this section. However, if you’re still at the stage of thinking, “I want my own online store,” but aren’t sure about the specifics, this guidance will be invaluable.

First, consider your personal interests and passions. What products or activities are you passionate about?

Often, selling products that you personally enjoy leads to a more engaging and successful business because your enthusiasm will naturally attract others who share your interests.

Here are some questions to help you pinpoint your interests:

  • What activities do you enjoy?
  • What topics do you find yourself frequently talking about?
  • What are your hobbies?
  • How do you typically help others?
  • What can you spend hours doing without losing interest?

Reflect on these questions and jot down some ideas. For instance, you might think about:

  • Your love for crafting soaps,
  • Your passion for makeup and beauty,
  • Your affection for pets,
  • Your endless conversations about the future of AI and technology,
  • Your enjoyment of jigsaw puzzles,
  • Your keen interest in books and literature,
  • Your dedication to gardening,
  • Your love for baking,
  • Your hobby of tinkering with car engines or electronics,
  • Your enthusiasm for model building,
  • Your delight in hosting game nights with friends and family.

With your list of interests, consider whether there’s a viable ecommerce opportunity for each. Here are potential business ideas based on the examples listed:

  • Sell handmade soaps or DIY soap-making kits,
  • Offer makeup or skincare products,
  • Provide pet accessories and supplies,
  • Market technological gadgets and innovations,
  • Distribute jigsaw puzzles,
  • Write and publish book reviews, affiliating with book sellers like Amazon,
  • Offer gardening tools and kits,
  • Sell baking tools and culinary gadgets,
  • Provide DIY kits for electronics enthusiasts,
  • Sell model kits for boats and cars,
  • Market board games and accessories.

Exploring these ideas can help you identify a niche that not only aligns with your interests but also has potential market demand. This approach ensures your business resonates with both you and your prospective customers, setting the foundation for a passionate and profitable ecommerce venture.

Here are some great niche site examples;

Pet Products

ecommerce business example - Chewy website selling pet products

A Jigsaw Store

ecommerce business example - jigsaw store website

Gardening Products

ecommerce business example - gardening website

Baking Products

ecommerce business example - bakewala website

Model Cars

ecommerce business example - model cars website

Board Games

ecommerce business example - board games website

The world is your oyster!

Where there’s a passionate audience for a topic you’re deeply interested in, you likely have a ripe opportunity to start an ecommerce business and sell products within that niche.

Validating Your Niche

Once you’ve identified a niche you’re passionate about and see potential in, the next step is to validate this market to ensure there’s a sufficient customer base that will be interested in your products.

This involves research and analysis to confirm that your niche is not only popular but also profitable.

Steps for Validation:

  1. Market Research: Use tools like Google Trends, social media insights, and market research platforms to analyze the demand and search volume related to your niche.
  2. Competitor Analysis: Look at existing businesses in the same niche. What are they selling, and how are they positioning themselves? Identify gaps in their offerings where you can differentiate.
  3. Customer Feedback: Engage with potential customers through surveys, social media, or face-to-face conversations to gain insights into their needs and whether your product would solve a problem for them.

A quick and effective way to validate your niche is to check the Amazon Best Sellers list to see which products are currently popular and gaining traction within your chosen market.

Screenshot of amazon bestsellers on Amazon website

This is particularly helpful because it provides real-time insights into consumer buying trends. By examining what’s popular, you can gauge the demand for products within specific categories.

Amazon organizes these best-selling items by niche, allowing you to drill down into particular areas of interest. This targeted search can help you identify not only the types of products that are currently successful but also reveal potential gaps in the market that you might exploit with your ecommerce business.

Seeing what consumers are actively purchasing gives you a clearer picture of market viability and can guide your product selection to better align with current consumer preferences.

Armed with your ideal niche and a list of potential products now would also be a great time to define your ideal target market if you haven’t already.

Identifying Your Target Audience

Identifying your target audience is a foundational step in shaping your ecommerce business. It helps ensure your marketing and products resonate with the right people.

Steps to Identify Your Target Audience:

  1. Start with Basic Demographics: Think about who typically buys products similar to what you want to sell. Consider basic characteristics like age range, gender, and perhaps location. For example, if you’re planning to sell eco-friendly beauty products, your target audience might be predominantly women in their 20s and 30s who are environmentally conscious.
  2. Explore Interests and Lifestyles: Reflect on the hobbies, habits, and lifestyles that align with your products. A simple way to do this is by looking at social media groups or popular blogs within your niche. Notice the type of content shared, the discussions happening, and what people are passionate about. This can give you insights into what your potential customers value and enjoy.
  3. Use Online Tools: Tools like Google Trends and social media analytics can offer useful data about who is interested in your niche. For example, you can see age groups and locations most interested in specific topics, or check out hashtags related to your products on Instagram or Twitter to see who is talking about them.
  4. Engage Directly: Nothing beats direct interaction for getting to know your audience. Join forums, comment on blogs, or start conversations on social media related to your niche. Ask questions to gather opinions and see what needs or gaps people mention. This first-hand information can be incredibly valuable.
  5. Create Customer Avatars: Based on your findings, sketch out a few customer personas. These are fictional characters that represent your ideal customers. Include their age, interests, job, lifestyle, and even challenges they face which your products can solve. These personas help you visualize and keep your marketing efforts targeted.

Here is an example customer avatar sheet I use when thinking about my ideal audience.

 customer avatar diagram

With a clearer picture of who you’re selling to, tailor your product choices and marketing messages to speak directly to these personas.

Understanding your audience doesn’t require expensive research; it starts with observation, engagement, and a bit of creative thinking. This approach will make your marketing more effective and your product selection more appealing to the people you want to reach.

Step 2 – Develop Your Product Offering

Choosing what to sell is a crucial decision that varies depending on the ecommerce business model you choose. Here’s a straightforward guide to help you determine your product offerings for each model.

Print on Demand (POD)

  1. Research POD Companies: Start by listing POD companies you might use, such as Teelaunch, Printful, Printify, and others. Evaluate them based on product quality, pricing, delivery times, and product selection. Also, consider the ease of using their customization tools.
  2. Select Products: Determine which products you want to sell (e.g., tank tops, leggings, socks, caps) and check if a single POD provider can supply all these items to simplify logistics. Avoid starting with multiple providers to keep shipping straightforward.
  3. Cost Analysis: Create a simple spreadsheet to compare costs, shipping, and potential retail prices across different POD platforms. This will help you identify the most profitable products to sell. Remember, the final retail price should be competitive yet profitable, considering the higher cost basis of POD items.
  4. Niche Products: Consider niche markets that may be underserved, like print on demand for unique items such as custom makeup, as a way to differentiate your store.
Screenshot of Glamour website

Dropshipping

  1. Finding Products: Begin your journey on platforms like AliExpress, which offers a vast range of products suitable for dropshipping. This will give you a broad view of what’s available and popular in different categories.
  2. Supplier Research: Expand your search beyond AliExpress to include other global and local suppliers. Utilizing directories like SaleHoo or Worldwide Brands can provide access to a more extensive list of vetted suppliers and might uncover unique product offerings not heavily saturated in the market.
  3. Market Analysis: Use tools like Google Trends to understand the popularity and seasonal trends of potential products. Also, explore social media and community forums related to your niche to gauge consumer interest and discussions about product needs and desires.
  4. Competitor Analysis: Look at other ecommerce stores, especially those that are dropshipping, to see what products they offer, their pricing strategies, and how they market their products. This can provide insights into what products are doing well and what gaps you might fill.
  5. Quality Control: Before finalizing your product list, consider ordering samples to assess the quality. This is an essential step in ensuring the product meets your standards and will help avoid customer dissatisfaction later on.
  6. Product Validation: After narrowing down your potential products, validate their potential success by assessing how they’ve been reviewed on other sites, their ratings, and any customer feedback available. This can help confirm demand and ensure that you’re choosing products likely to satisfy customers.
Screenshot of Aliexpress website

Private Label

  1. Market Research: Begin with an exploration of existing products within your chosen niche on platforms like Amazon, eBay, and other large ecommerce marketplaces. This helps you understand what products are popular and identify customer preferences.
  2. Supplier Sourcing: Use platforms like Alibaba to find manufacturers that produce products you’re interested in. Look for suppliers with high ratings and positive reviews, and consider their ability to customize products to your specifications.
  3. Product Differentiation: Consider how you can modify or enhance existing products to create a unique offering. This could involve changing the design, improving the quality, or adding new features that are not currently available in the market.
  4. Negotiations and Samples: Once you identify potential suppliers, negotiate terms such as pricing, minimum order quantities, and customization options. Always order samples to evaluate the quality and ensure the product meets your standards before committing to a larger order.
  5. Branding and Packaging: Develop a strong brand identity that can be reflected in your product and packaging. This is crucial for private labeling as your brand will differentiate your product from competitors selling similar items.

Please note I go into much greater detail about product selection for private label in my Amazon FBA guide.

Manufacturing Your Own Products

  1. Product Conceptualization: Start with an idea that fills a gap in the market or improves on existing products. Consider factors like usability, sustainability, and innovation. Sketch out initial designs and think about the materials and technology required.
  2. Prototyping: Develop a prototype of your product, which can be done through local makerspaces, hiring freelance designers, or collaborating with manufacturing facilities that offer prototyping services. This step is crucial to refine your product and prepare it for mass production.
  3. Market Testing: Once you have a prototype, test the market response by showcasing your product at trade shows, local markets, or through online platforms. Collect feedback and make necessary adjustments.
  4. Production Scaling: Determine the best way to produce your product in larger quantities. This could involve setting up your own production facilities or partnering with a manufacturer who can produce according to your specifications.
  5. Compliance and Quality Assurance: Ensure that your product complies with relevant industry standards and regulations. Set up quality assurance processes to maintain high standards as production scales up.

Things to consider when deciding what to sell online

1. Are you providing what your customer wants & needs. Who is your customer? What does a typical day in the life look like and how can you enhance it with your products?

2. Explore your competition. Browse through Amazon, Ebay, Etsy and other ecommerce businesses to see who is selling something similar. What’s their messaging? How are they presenting the product? How can you be different / unique?

3. Beware of trends. By definition, that means something that’s hot right now, but may not be in a few months time. Here’s a great quote from Jeff Bezos of Amazon;

“I very frequently get the question: ‘What’s going to change in the next 10 years?’ And that is a very interesting question; it’s a very common one. I almost never get the question: ‘What’s not going to change in the next 10 years?’ And I submit to you that that second question is actually the more important of the two — because you can build an online business strategy around the things that are stable in time. When you have something that you know is true, even over the long term, you can afford to put a lot of energy into it.”

What’s not going to change in your niche for the next 10 years?

4.Set some criteria for yourself. Questions to consider would be;

  1. Does this product meet a need my customer has?
  2. Does this product provide novelty value or inject fun into their day?
  3. Does this product have a high perceived value?
  4. Does it meet my quality requirements, will my customer be happy with the quality of the item?
  5. Does this product represent my brand?
  6. Is there a good size market for this product?
  7. Is it light and easy / cheap to ship?
  8. Can I markup the product by 5 – 10x it’s cost price?
  9. Is it unique?
  10. Would I be excited to promote it?

By end of this exercise, you should have a clear idea of how you want to start an ecommerce business and a list of 1 – 5 products you’re feeling pretty confident about.

Step 3 – Creating Your Ecommerce Business Brand & Business Name

Naming Your Online Store

So by now you know;

  • Your ecommerce business model and platform
  • The niche you’re serving and who your ideal customer is.
  • The kind of products you want to sell online

Now it’s time to name and create your brand.

Finding the perfect name for your online store can feel daunting, but it doesn’t have to be an obstacle to your progress. According to Shopify, an ideal business name should be short, simple, creative, and unique—easy to say but often harder to find!

Keep It Simple

Don’t overthink it. Yes, your business name is important, but remember, it can always be changed later if needed. The key is not to let this step delay you for weeks. Brainstorm a few ideas, pick the best one, and move forward. You can always revisit this later as your brand evolves.

Tools to Help You Get Started

Several online tools can help you generate a creative name that matches your vision and is also available as a domain:

  • Shopify Business Name Generator: Just input a keyword (like “candles”) and it generates related business names, complete with logo suggestions.

Shopify Business Name Generator

shopify name generator page

Namelix: Another great tool for sparking ideas.

(Same keyword used – candles)

 name generator - namelix website

Checking Domain Availability

Once you’ve landed on a potential name, the next step is to check if the corresponding domain is available. Websites like dodaddy.com or 123reg.co.uk let you search for and register your domain.

If you plan to use Shopify, you can purchase your domain directly through them, simplifying the setup process.

Pros and Cons of Domain Buying:

  • Directly Through Shopify: Easier integration, no fuss with separate domain hosts, though it’s just a domain, no extras such as email etc.
  • Through a Domain Registrar: More control and typically more features like email hosting, though it requires a bit more technical setup to connect to your store.

My personal preference is to buy via a domain registrar and then connect to Shopify, but you do what feels right to you.

Creating Your Ecommerce Business Brand Images

To be able to create your ecommerce store and hit the ground running you will need;

  • A logo
  • A nice header style banner image for the site,
  • Designs for your print on demand products if that’s the route you’re going down
  • Designs to brand your private label products and packaging
  • Social Media headers, profile pics etc
chef remi brand
Example of Chef Remi branding – our old Amazon brand

Crafting a visually appealing and professional brand identity is vital for your ecommerce success. While it’s easy to get caught up in perfecting your logo and branding, it’s important to balance quality with efficiency, especially in the early stages of your business.

Creating Your Logo

1. Do It Yourself: For those on a tight budget or just starting out, Canva.com offers a user-friendly logo creation tool. With Canva, you can quickly craft a logo that’s both professional and appealing without any cost. You can adjust colors, fonts, and elements to match your brand vision directly within the platform.

2. Using Outsourcers: If graphic design isn’t your forte, consider these options for professional help without breaking the bank:

  • Friends or Family: Sometimes, someone you know can create a great logo for a small favor or treat.
  • Fiverr: This platform offers a variety of freelance logo design services starting at just $5.
  • Upwork: Post your logo design project and receive bids from professionals worldwide.
  • Free Logo Design: Enter your brand name, choose a category, and customize a design from a template if you’re looking for a no-cost option.
  • 99designs: While more expensive, this is a good option for those ready to invest more in a custom, high-quality logo. Consider this for a future upgrade.
screenshot of fiverr.com website
Fiverr.com

Selecting and Customizing Images

1. Sourcing Images: Unsplash provides a vast library of high-quality, royalty-free images that you can use for your ecommerce store’s banners, headers, and backgrounds. These images are free for commercial use, allowing you to modify them as needed.

2. Customization Tools: Once you have your images, use tools like Canva to modify them to suit your website. You can add text, apply filters, or adjust the composition to reflect your brand’s style.

3. Image Specifications: Don’t get too hung up on getting the perfect size right away. For starting out, aim for general dimensions that work well on most platforms (e.g., banners around 1000 x 600 pixels). You can always fine-tune specifics later as you refine your store’s design.

Design Inspiration and Mistakes to Avoid

1. Seeking Inspiration: If you’re unsure about what designs to feature, look for trends on platforms like Redbubble, Zazzle, Etsy, Instagram, and Pinterest. See which designs resonate with your target audience and consider how you can incorporate similar themes into your products.

2. Educational Resources: Explore YouTube for tutorials on various topics like using Canva, designing for Print on Demand platforms, and optimizing Amazon packaging. These guides can help you avoid common pitfalls and improve your design and packaging skills..

3. Mockups: Use services like Placeit.net to create professional mockups of your products being worn or used. This can significantly enhance the appeal of your products by showing them in real-life scenarios.

images of different women post as modles on products

Final Note: Creating your brand’s visual identity should be an exciting step in building your ecommerce business. Keep the process simple and cost-effective, especially when you’re just starting. Remember, your initial branding isn’t set in stone; it can evolve as your business grows.

Step 4 – Getting Your Ecommerce Business Store Setup to Go Live

Setting up your ecommerce store is a pivotal step towards launching your business. The process varies depending on whether you are launching on a marketplace like Amazon or Etsy, or setting up your own store using platforms like Shopify or WooCommerce. Here’s a simple guide to get you started with each:

Setting Up on Marketplaces

Amazon:

  • Create a Seller Account: Start by registering for a seller account on Amazon Seller Central.
  • Product Listings: Use the detailed category guidelines provided by Amazon to list your products. Ensure your product descriptions, images, and keywords are optimized for search.
  • Fulfillment: Decide whether to use Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) or handle shipping yourself. FBA can simplify shipping and returns by leveraging Amazon’s vast logistics network.

Etsy:

  • Open Your Shop: Register on Etsy and set up your shop. Personalize your shop’s profile and settings.
  • List Products: Create listings for your items. Use high-quality photos and detailed descriptions to attract a niche audience.
  • Marketing: Utilize Etsy’s built-in tools for promotions and ads to increase visibility.

Setting Up Your Own Ecommerce Store

Shopify:

1. Start with Shopify’s Guide: Shopify offers comprehensive guides and videos, which are excellent for beginners. These resources are invaluable for understanding the platform’s capabilities and customization options.

2. Choosing and Customizing Themes: Start with a simple, free theme like Debut to keep initial costs low. As your store grows, consider premium themes like Booster for additional features.

3. Adding Products: Depending on your business model:

  • Print on Demand: Use Shopify’s integration with apps like Printful or Teelaunch to add products directly from the app to your store.
  • Dropshipping: Tools like Dsers can facilitate product import from suppliers directly into your Shopify store.
  • Own Products: Add products manually through Shopify’s standard product addition interface.

4. Product Pages: Add your products with detailed descriptions and high-quality images. Set up categories and tags for easy navigation.

5. Domain Setup: Connect your domain, whether purchased through Shopify or an external registrar. Shopify provides step-by-step instructions for domain setup, making the process straightforward.

6. Final Configurations: Adjust settings like payment providers, shipping configurations, and tax settings. Shopify’s ecosystem provides plugins and advice to manage these aspects efficiently.

7. Testing: Before going live, test your store thoroughly to ensure everything works as expected, including checkout processes and mobile responsiveness.

If you’re setting up shop on your own platform, I highly recommend Shopify. It’s specifically designed for ecommerce, making everything straightforward and efficient.

Much like WordPress is the go-to for blogging, Shopify is the gold standard for ecommerce businesses

When you sign up you’ll get a 30 day trial for $1 and then the plan I recommend for a full ecommerce store is just $19 / month (billed annually).

WooCommerce:

  • Website Preparation: Ensure you have a WordPress website ready. Install the WooCommerce plugin and go through the setup wizard.
  • Customization: Tailor your site with themes and plugins that extend the functionality of your store.
  • Products and Payment: Add your products and set up various payment methods available through WooCommerce. Ensure your shipping settings are configured correctly.
  • Security: Implement security measures like SSL certificates to protect your customers’ data.

Final Checks Before Going Live

1. Testing: Before going live, thoroughly test your store on both desktop and mobile to ensure all aspects work seamlessly, including checkout.

2. Email Setup: Implement essential email flows such as welcome emails, abandoned cart recovery, and post-purchase follow-up. Tools like Klaviyo or Shopify Email can automate this process.

3. Upselling: Consider integrating upsell apps like ReConvert or Zipify to increase average order value. This is especially crucial for models like Print on Demand, where margins can be tighter.

4. Legal and Compliance: Ensure your store complies with legal requirements, including privacy policies, terms of service, and refund policies. Shopify offers templates to help you get started.

5. Launch: Prepare for the launch with a marketing plan in place. Consider soft-launching to a small audience to gather initial feedback and make adjustments before a full-scale launch.

6. Monitoring and Optimization: Once live, monitor the performance of your store closely. Use analytics to understand customer behavior and make adjustments to optimize conversions and sales.

Go Live with Your Ecommerce Business

Whoop whoop! You are ready to go live my friend!

meme shows 4 man in tie and coat happy and jumping

Now the hard work really starts!

Step 5 – Promoting Your Ecommerce Business and Building an Audience

1. Getting Reviews

Customer reviews are essential for building trust and credibility for your ecommerce store. Positive reviews can significantly increase add-to-carts and sales. People trust fellow customers more than marketing claims from business owners.

When you’re first launching your store, it can be challenging to get those initial reviews. Here are some strategies to consider:

  • Reach out to friends, family members, and colleagues who are willing to test your products and provide honest feedback. Offer them a free product in exchange for an unbiased review.
  • Participate in relevant online communities, such as Facebook groups, Reddit forums, or niche-specific websites. Engage with members and offer a select few a free product to try out in exchange for a review. Be transparent about your intentions and follow any group guidelines regarding self-promotion.
  • If you have an email list or social media following before launching, reach out to your most engaged subscribers or followers. They may be excited to be among the first to try your products and provide a review.

Once you have some initial reviews and are ready to scale:

  1. Install a review app on your ecommerce platform. I highly recommend Judge.me, an affordable ($15/month) but feature-rich option that’s easy to set up on Shopify. Here’s a quick video showing how to add it to your store in under 2 minutes.

  1. Encourage customers to leave reviews by following up post-purchase with an email requesting honest feedback. Make the process simple with a direct link.
  2. Display reviews prominently on your product pages and home page to build social proof. Judge.me has attractive widgets for this.
  3. Respond to all reviews, both positive and negative, to show you value customer feedback and care about improving.

Best Tools/Platforms for Reviews

  1. Judge.me – A highly affordable and user-friendly review app that integrates seamlessly with Shopify. Offers features like review requests, photo reviews, Q&A, and widgets to display reviews on your site.
  2. Yotpo – A popular review and UGC platform that integrates with major ecommerce platforms. Offers features like SMS review requests, photo/video reviews, and AI-powered moderation.
  3. Reviews.io – A robust review platform with integrations for Shopify, WooCommerce, Magento, and more. Offers features like automated review requests, seller ratings, and GTM validation.
  4. Okendo – A user-friendly review app designed for Shopify stores. Offers features like attribution to specific products and variants and customizable styling to match your store design.
  5. Stamped.io – An affordable review platform with integrations for Shopify, BigCommerce, and WooCommerce. Offers features like photo/video reviews, checkout comments, and upselling based on reviews.

While all of these platforms offer similar core features, Judge.me stands out for its affordability and ease of use, especially for new Shopify stores. Its free plan includes up to 50 monthly review request emails, making it an ideal choice for getting started.

Remember, the key to getting reviews is to make it as easy as possible for customers and to consistently follow up with review requests. Offering incentives like discount codes or free shipping can also help boost review rates. Just be sure to disclose any incentives and never pressure customers to leave positive reviews.

2. Using Paid Ads

Paid advertising on platforms like Google (PPC), Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok can drive targeted traffic to your store. However, creating and managing effective ad campaigns requires time, skill, and ongoing optimization.

If you’re new to paid advertising or short on time, consider outsourcing to experts. This is especially true for Google Ads (formerly AdWords), which has a steep learning curve and complex best practices. An experienced PPC agency or consultant can help you:

  • Research target keywords and craft compelling ad copy
  • Set up campaigns with proper targeting, budgets, and bids
  • Create landing pages optimized for conversions
  • Monitor and optimize campaigns based on performance data
  • Provide reports on key metrics like click-through rates, conversion rates, and ROAS

When outsourcing, look for an agency or consultant with proven experience in your niche and strong case studies. Expect to pay a management fee in addition to your ad spend budget.

If you prefer to manage ads in-house, start with a small daily budget and focus on one or two platforms. Key steps include:

  1. Define your target audience and choose the ad platform(s) they are most likely to use.
  2. Set a daily or lifetime budget you’re comfortable with for testing.
  3. Create compelling ad copy and visuals. Use high-quality product images and videos showcasing your products’ benefits.
  4. Set up conversion tracking to measure results and ROI. Focus on metrics like ROAS (return on ad spend).
  5. Experiment with different ad formats, targeting options, and creative to optimize performance over time. Pause low performers and scale winners.

Best Tools/Platforms for Ecommerce Ads

  1. Google Ads – Reach potential customers actively searching for products like yours on Google and across the web. Options include search ads, Shopping ads, display ads, and YouTube video ads.
  2. Facebook Ads – Target specific demographics, interests, and behaviors on Facebook and Instagram. Use dynamic product ads to retarget past website visitors.
  3. Instagram Ads – Engage users with visually compelling ads in their Instagram feeds and Stories. Ideal for lifestyle and visual product brands.
  4. TikTok Ads – Reach a younger audience on the fastest-growing social media app. Options include in-feed video ads, brand takeovers, and sponsored hashtag challenges.
  5. Pinterest Ads – Promote products using visual ads that blend in with organic Pinterest content. Ideal for home decor, fashion, beauty, and DIY brands.
  6. Snapchat Ads – Reach a youth audience using vertical video ads, filters, and AR lenses. Good for brands targeting Gen Z.
  7. Amazon Ads – Drive sales directly on Amazon with Sponsored Product and Sponsored Brand ads. A must if you sell on Amazon in addition to your own store.

When choosing ad platforms, consider your budget, target audience, and ad creative resources. It’s better to do one or two channels well than to spread yourself too thin.

Track results closely and optimize based on data. Keep an eye on key metrics like ROAS, CPA (cost per acquisition), and LTV (lifetime value) of customers acquired through ads.

As you scale, consider investing in tools like AdEspresso or Hootsuite Ads to streamline ad creation and reporting across multiple channels. These tools can save time and provide valuable insights to maximize your ad performance.

3. Email Marketing

Although I’ve listed his here as an after launch marketing strategy, I highly recommend focusing on building an engaged email list before you even start to sell products. By choosing your niche and growing a list of interested subscribers, you’ll have a warm audience to promote your products to when you launch your store.

With an email list, you have a direct line of communication to potential customers who have opted in to hear from you. This can lead to higher conversion rates and customer loyalty compared to other channels.

To build your email list:

  • Create a compelling lead magnet relevant to your niche, such as a free guide, video series, or discount code. Promote it on your website, social media, and relevant communities.
  • Use pop-ups and sign-up forms on your website to capture visitor emails. Experiment with different offers and placements to maximize conversions.
  • Run social media and Google ads promoting your lead magnet to drive targeted sign-ups.
  • Partner with complementary brands or influencers in your niche to cross-promote to each other’s audiences.

Once you have email subscribers, nurture them with valuable content and gradually introduce your products. Some ideas:

  • Send a welcome series introducing your brand story and values. Share behind-the-scenes content to build a personal connection.
  • Provide educational content related to your niche, such as how-to guides, styling tips, or industry news. Aim to become a trusted resource.
  • Share user-generated content like customer reviews and photos to build social proof and community.
  • Segment your list based on interests and behavior. Send targeted product recommendations and promotions to maximize relevance and conversions.
  • Automate key email flows like abandoned cart reminders, post-purchase follow-ups, and win-back campaigns to customers who haven’t purchased recently.

Remember, the key to email marketing is providing consistent value, not just promotions. Aim for a balance of 80% informational content and 20% sales content. Regularly clean your list to keep engagement high and protect your sender reputation.

Best Email Marketing Tools

  1. Klaviyo – A powerful email and SMS marketing platform designed for ecommerce. Offers advanced segmentation, automation flows, and integrations with Shopify, WooCommerce, and more.
  2. Beehiiv – A new email marketing platform with a clean, modern interface. Offers simple segmentation, automation, and analytics at an affordable price.
  3. ConvertKit – An email marketing tool popular with bloggers and creators. Offers easy-to-use automation, tagging, and landing pages.
  4. Flodesk – A design-focused email tool with beautiful, intuitive templates. Offers unlimited subscribers and emails for a flat monthly fee.

Best Pop-Up Tools

  1. Privy – A conversion optimization platform with customizable pop-ups, banners, and spin-to-win wheels. Integrates with Shopify, Klaviyo, and more.
  2. OptinMonster – A popular lead generation tool with exit-intent pop-ups, floating bars, and gamified campaigns. Works on any website.
  3. Justuno – An AI-powered conversion platform with advanced targeting and personalization options for pop-ups and banners.
  4. Sumo – A suite of website tools including pop-ups, welcome mats, and smart bars. Offers a generous free plan.

When choosing an email or pop-up tool, consider your budget, design needs, and integration requirements. Beehiiv and Flodesk are great options for cost-conscious businesses focused on simple, stylish emails. Klaviyo and Privy are more robust choices for scaling stores.

Whichever tools you choose, prioritize growing an engaged email list from day one. It’s one of the most valuable assets for any ecommerce business.

4. Influencer Marketing

Partnering with influencers can be a game-changer for driving traffic and sales to your ecommerce store. When trusted creators recommend your products to their engaged followers, it can lead to a surge of high-converting traffic.

This was actually the “secret sauce” behind our own 7-figure Amazon ecommerce business. We reached out to hundreds of bloggers and YouTubers in our niche, asking if they’d be willing to try our product. If they liked it, we offered to sponsor a review on their site or channel.

The response was incredible. Dozens of influencers created authentic, positive reviews and tutorials featuring our products. This led to a flood of quality traffic and purchases on Amazon, boosting our search rankings and overall sales.

You can apply this same strategy to your own ecommerce store, regardless of your niche. Here’s a step-by-step process:

  1. Create a spreadsheet of 50-100 influencers you’d love to work with. Focus on micro-influencers with engaged audiences in your niche, not just huge followings. Note their platform, audience size, email, and social profiles.
  2. Reach out with a personalized email or DM introducing yourself and your brand. Compliment their content and explain why you think your products would resonate with their audience.
  3. Offer to send free products for them to try, with no obligation to post. If they do enjoy your products, offer to sponsor a dedicated review or mention.
  4. Nurture relationships with responsive influencers. Comment on their posts, share their content, and look for ways to support them beyond just sending products.
  5. Provide influencers with unique discount codes to share with their followers. This allows you to track sales and reward top performers with commissions or additional sponsorships.
  6. Repurpose influencer content on your own social media and product pages. User-generated content is a powerful form of social proof.

When working with influencers, prioritize authenticity over scale. It’s better to have a handful of genuine, thoughtful reviews than dozens of generic endorsements. Always disclose sponsored relationships to maintain trust and comply with FTC guidelines.

Here’s a great example of an influencer marketing campaign – By using minimalist designs, Daniel Wellington creates watches that can be sold to a younger generation of consumers. DW uses influencer marketing as its ONLY form of marketing. Everything you see is a real photo of a real person wearing a Daniel Wellington watch, using the hashtag #dwpickoftheday. This works because it helps cut marketing costs.

IG post from chr_mkl shows hand with DW watch

Best Influencer Marketing Tools

  1. Upfluence – An influencer marketing platform with a database of over 3 million influencers across Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, TikTok, Pinterest, and more. Offers influencer search, relationship management, and campaign reporting.
  2. AspireIQ (formerly Revfluence) – An end-to-end influencer marketing platform used by top brands like Walmart and Amazon. Provides influencer discovery, communication, content approval, and analytics.
  3. Klear – An influencer marketing software with a focus on audience insights and analytics. Offers influencer search, campaign management, and ROI tracking.
  4. NinjaOutreach – An influencer outreach tool with a database of over 25 million Instagram and YouTube influencers. Allows you to automate outreach emails and DMs, track response rates, and manage relationships.
  5. Pitchbox – An outreach and prospecting platform used by SEO and PR professionals. While not exclusively for influencer marketing, it can streamline the process of researching and contacting potential partners at scale.

Remember, tools can help with discovery and outreach, but building genuine relationships is still key. Personalize your communications, provide value beyond just free products, and think long-term. The most successful influencer partnerships are built on mutual trust and alignment.

5. Content Marketing

Creating valuable, engaging content is a powerful way to attract and retain customers for your ecommerce store. By providing helpful information and entertainment related to your niche, you can build brand awareness, trust, and loyalty.

Types of content to consider:

  • Blog posts targeting keywords your ideal customers are searching on Google
  • Helpful videos hosted on YouTube
  • Social media posts on Instagram, TikTok, Pinterest, etc.
  • Podcasts interviewing experts or telling customer stories

To get started with content marketing:

1. Choose the main content platform(s) where your target audience spends time. This could be a blog on your website, YouTube, TikTok, Instagram, Pinterest, or a podcast.

2. Develop your unique brand voice and aesthetic. Create a style guide to keep your content consistent and recognizable across channels.

3. Brainstorm content ideas that align with your niche and provide value to your audience. Consider topics like:

  • How-to guides and tutorials related to your products
  • Customer success stories and case studies
  • Behind-the-scenes looks at your business and team
  • Opinion or analysis pieces on industry trends
  • Gift guides and product roundups

4. Create a content calendar and commit to a regular publishing schedule. Consistency is key to building an engaged audience.

5. Optimize your content for search engines by targeting relevant keywords. Use descriptive titles, headers, and meta descriptions to help your content rank.

6. Promote your content across your other marketing channels. Share blog posts and videos on social media, to your email list, and in relevant communities.

7. Engage with your audience in the comments and DMs. Respond to questions, ask for feedback, and build relationships with your most loyal fans.

8. Offer a lead magnet like an ebook, discount code, or exclusive video to encourage visitors to join your email list. Promote it prominently in your content.

9. Analyze your content performance using tools like Google Analytics. Track metrics like page views, time on page, bounce rate, and conversions. Double down on topics and formats that resonate with your audience.

As your content library grows, look for opportunities to repurpose and cross-promote. Turn a series of blog posts into an email course or ebook. Create a video version of a popular tutorial. Build content clusters around key topics to establish your expertise.

Best Content Marketing Tools

  1. WordPress – The most popular website platform for blogging and content publishing. Offers thousands of customizable themes and plugins.
  2. Canva – A graphic design tool for creating visually engaging blog and social media graphics. Offers templates, stock photos, and easy drag-and-drop editing.
  3. TubeBuddy – A browser extension and mobile app for optimizing YouTube videos. Provides keyword research, tag suggestions, thumbnail templates, and performance analytics.
  4. Buzzsumo – A content research and influencer outreach tool. Allows you to analyze top-performing content by topic or competitor and find relevant influencers to promote your content.
  5. Ahrefs – An all-in-one SEO and content marketing platform. Offers tools for keyword research, site audits, rank tracking, and backlink analysis.
  6. CoSchedule – A content calendar and project management tool. Helps you plan, organize, and schedule your blog and social media content in one place.
  7. Buzzsprout – A popular podcast hosting platform that offers a simple interface, powerful analytics, and easy distribution to major podcast directories. Provides a free plan for up to 2 hours of content per month, with affordable paid plans for more advanced features.
  8. Hootsuite – A social media management platform that allows you to schedule and publish posts across multiple networks. Provides content curation, analytics, and team collaboration features.
  9. CapCut – A free video editing app for creating engaging social media content. Offers a wide range of templates, filters, and effects for professional-looking videos.

Remember, the goal of content marketing is to provide genuine value and build relationships with your audience. Focus on quality over quantity, and always prioritize your audience’s needs and interests over hard selling.

With consistency and patience, content marketing can become a significant source of organic traffic, leads, and sales for your ecommerce store.

6. SEO

Search engine optimization helps your store rank higher in Google search results, driving free, targeted traffic. Some tips:

  • Do keyword research to find phrases your customers search for using tools like Google Keyword Planner and Ahrefs
  • Optimize your homepage and product pages for your main keywords in the page title, headings, image alt text, and copy
  • Set up a blog and create keyword-optimized posts that demonstrate your expertise
  • Build backlinks to your site from other reputable websites in your niche (through guest posting, digital PR, etc.)

SEO is a long-term strategy, but the free, consistent traffic it generates can be a huge driver of ecommerce sales. Consider hiring an SEO consultant or agency if you have the budget.

Best SEO Tools/Platforms

  1. Google Keyword Planner – A free tool from Google that helps you find and analyze relevant keywords for your website. Provides search volume, competition, and suggested bid data.
  2. Ahrefs – An all-in-one SEO platform with tools for keyword research, site audits, backlink analysis, and rank tracking. Offers a large database of keywords and a user-friendly interface.
  3. SEMrush – A popular SEO and digital marketing toolkit. Provides features for keyword research, on-page optimization, link building, and competitor analysis.
  4. Screaming Frog – A website crawler and auditing tool. Allows you to analyze your site’s structure, content, and meta data to identify technical SEO issues and opportunities.
  5. Yoast SEO – A popular WordPress plugin that helps you optimize your blog posts and pages. Provides real-time feedback on your content’s readability, keyword usage, and meta tags.

When choosing SEO tools, consider your budget, technical expertise, and specific needs. Tools like Google Keyword Planner are great free options for keyword research, while Ahrefs and SEMrush offer more advanced features for experienced marketers.

Remember, SEO success requires more than just tools. Focus on creating high-quality, relevant content that meets your audience’s needs. Build relationships with other websites in your niche to earn natural backlinks. And be patient – SEO results take time, but the long-term payoff can be significant.

7. Promotions

Promotions are special offers, discounts, or incentives designed to attract customers and drive sales. They create a sense of urgency and excitement around your products, encouraging shoppers to buy now rather than later.

Examples of common ecommerce promotions include:

  • Percentage or dollar amount discounts (e.g., 20% off, $10 off)
  • Free shipping offers
  • Buy one, get one free (BOGO) deals
  • Free gifts with purchase
  • Bundled deals or kits
  • Loyalty rewards and points programs
  • Flash sales or daily deals
  • Seasonal or holiday promotions

Promotions can be an effective way to boost short-term sales, clear out excess inventory, or acquire new customers. However, it’s important to use them strategically and not train shoppers to always wait for a deal.

Here’s a couple of promo examples so you can see some of these suggestions in action!

Muffin Sisters – The Muffin Sisters sell beautiful baby & kids goods inspired by African Culture. Here’s on of their IG giveaways, note how this will increase their follower account (follow us), their engagement (comment) and their brand awareness (tag a friend, share on your story).

ecommerce promo post from muffin_sisters

Ketonia – Ketonia is using Gleam.io for their giveaway which is a fab platform for running contests & giveaways. It allows you to allocates points for actions you take and can include all sorts of actions such as visiting your IG or FB page, signing up to your newsletter, referring friends etc.

ecommerce promo Kentonia's remote care package giveaway

How to Get Started with Promotions

  1. Set clear goals for your promotion. Are you looking to drive sales, attract new customers, or increase average order value? Having specific objectives will guide your offer and targeting.
  2. Choose the right type of promotion for your goals and audience. For example, free shipping might appeal to bargain shoppers, while a loyalty program could encourage repeat purchases from existing customers.
  3. Determine the mechanics of your offer. Will it be a sitewide discount code, a targeted email campaign, or a pop-up on specific product pages? Make sure the terms and conditions are clear and easy to understand.
  4. Set a budget and expected ROI. Calculate the cost of your promotion (including any discounts, free products, or advertising spend) and the revenue you expect to generate. Make sure the math works in your favor.
  5. Create a sense of urgency. Use language like “limited time offer” or “while supplies last” to encourage shoppers to act fast. Consider using countdown timers or inventory alerts to drive FOMO (fear of missing out).
  6. Promote your offer across multiple channels. Share it on your website, social media, email list, and any relevant advertising platforms. Make sure your messaging and creative are consistent and on-brand.
  7. Track and analyze your results. Use tools like Google Analytics and your ecommerce platform’s reporting features to measure the impact of your promotion. Look at metrics like conversion rate, average order value, and customer acquisition cost.
  8. Follow up with customers post-purchase. Thank them for their business and offer additional value (like a how-to guide or exclusive content) to build loyalty and encourage repeat purchases.

Best Promotion Tools/Platforms

  1. Unbounce – A landing page builder that allows you to create dedicated pages for your promotions. Offers templates, drag-and-drop editing, and built-in A/B testing.
  2. Privy – A pop-up and email marketing platform designed for ecommerce stores. Allows you to create targeted pop-ups, banners, and wheels with special offers and discounts.
  3. Smile.io – A loyalty and rewards program platform that integrates with major ecommerce platforms. Allows you to create points-based programs, VIP tiers, and referral campaigns.
  4. Countdown Cart – A Shopify app that adds dynamic countdown timers to your store. Can be used to create urgency around limited-time offers and flash sales.
  5. Justuno – A conversion optimization platform that allows you to create targeted pop-ups, banners, and slide-ins with special offers. Provides advanced segmentation and personalization features.
  6. Hootsuite – A social media management platform that allows you to schedule and publish promotional posts across multiple networks. Provides a content calendar, analytics, and team collaboration features.
  7. Klaviyo – An email marketing platform designed for ecommerce. Allows you to create targeted campaigns, automated flows, and personalized product recommendations based on customer behavior.

When running promotions, always prioritize the customer experience. Make sure your offers are relevant, valuable, and easy to redeem. Test different types of promotions to see what resonates with your audience, and be ready to pivot if something isn’t working.

With a strategic approach and the right tools, promotions can be a powerful way to drive sales and grow your ecommerce business.

Start With One

Promoting your ecommerce store requires a multi-channel approach. Focus on the strategies that best fit your skills, audience, and budget. If you’re a solo entrepreneur or have limited resources, start with one promotion strategy at a time and master it before moving on to the next. Trying to tackle too many channels at once can spread you thin and limit your effectiveness.

As I mentioned earlier, building an email list of engaged subscribers before launching your store can give you a significant head start. By having a base of potential customers who have already expressed interest in your brand or niche, you’ll be able to drive sales and gather feedback from day one. This can help you refine your product offerings, marketing messages, and overall strategy moving forward.

Once your store is live, consistently measure your results and double down on the promotion strategies that are delivering the best ROI. Don’t be afraid to experiment with new tactics or abandon ones that aren’t working. The key is to stay agile and responsive to your audience’s needs and preferences.

Step 6 – Scale Your Ecommerce Business

Once your ecommerce store is up and running, it’s time to focus on scaling your business to new heights. There are three key levers you can pull to grow your revenue: increasing traffic, boosting conversions, and optimizing your average order value (AOV).

Increasing Traffic

To drive more potential customers to your store, implement the promotional strategies outlined earlier in this guide. This includes:

  • Leveraging SEO to rank higher in search results
  • Running targeted paid advertising campaigns on platforms like Google, Facebook, and Instagram
  • Partnering with influencers and affiliates to expose your brand to new audiences
  • Creating valuable content that attracts and engages your target market
  • Participating in online communities and forums where your potential customers hang out
  • Consistently growing your email subscriber list to engage and nurture your target market

Continuously test and refine your traffic acquisition strategies to find the most cost-effective and scalable channels for your business.

Boosting Conversions

Getting people to your store is only half the battle. To scale your business, you need to convert those visitors into paying customers. Some tactics to improve your conversion rates include:

  • Optimizing your product pages with compelling descriptions, high-quality images, and social proof like reviews and testimonials
  • Simplifying your checkout process and offering multiple payment options
  • Providing excellent customer service and support to build trust and credibility
  • Offering free shipping or other incentives to encourage purchases
  • Implementing abandoned cart recovery emails to bring back potential customers
  • A/B testing different elements of your store, such as product descriptions, pricing, and calls-to-action, to find what resonates best with your audience

Optimizing Average Order Value (AOV)

Increasing the average amount each customer spends on your store is a powerful way to scale your revenue without necessarily driving more traffic. Some strategies to optimize your AOV include:

  • Upselling and cross-selling complementary products during the checkout process
  • Offering bundle deals or package discounts to encourage larger purchases
  • Implementing a loyalty program that rewards customers for repeat purchases and higher spending
  • Providing personalized product recommendations based on a customer’s browsing and purchase history
  • Offering financing options for high-ticket items to make them more accessible

Expanding Your Product Line

As you scale your business, it’s important to keep your product offerings fresh and relevant to your target market. This can involve:

  • Regularly launching new products that align with your brand and customer preferences
  • Gathering feedback from customers to inform product development and improvements
  • Monitoring industry trends and competitor offerings to stay ahead of the curve
  • Testing new product ideas with a small batch before committing to a full launch
  • Discontinuing slow-moving or unprofitable products to free up resources for higher-potential offerings

When expanding your product line, be sure to consider the operational implications, such as inventory management, supplier relationships, and fulfillment processes.

Continuous Optimization

Scaling an ecommerce business is an ongoing process that requires continuous optimization and adaptation. Regularly review your key performance indicators (KPIs) and gather customer feedback to identify areas for improvement.

Stay agile and open to new technologies, marketing channels, and partnership opportunities that can help take your business to the next level.

How to Start an Ecommerce Business in 2024 – Summary

For nomadic solopreneurs over 50, starting an ecommerce business in 2024 is a fantastic way to combine your life experience, skills, and passion into a profitable venture that you can run from anywhere in the world.

Whether you’re exploring a new country, spending time with family, or enjoying a change of scenery, ecommerce offers the freedom and flexibility to build a business on your own terms.

As you start your exciting journey, remember that the key to success lies in choosing a niche that aligns with your interests and expertise, and then building an engaged audience around that niche. One of the most effective ways to do this is by starting an email newsletter well before launching your store.

By consistently providing valuable content and nurturing relationships with your subscribers, you’ll have a ready-made audience eager to buy from you when you finally open your virtual doors.

Once your store is up and running, don’t forget to prioritize customer experience and adapt to the ever-changing ecommerce landscape. Look for tools and resources that streamline your operations, freeing up more time for you to explore the world and enjoy your nomadic lifestyle.

As a mature entrepreneur, you bring a wealth of knowledge, resilience, and perspective to the table. Embrace your unique strengths and let them shine through in your branding, products, and customer interactions. Don’t be afraid to share your story and connect with customers on a personal level – it’s what sets you apart in a crowded market.

Remember, building a successful ecommerce business is a marathon, not a sprint. Stay focused on your long-term goals, celebrate your milestones along the way, and don’t be afraid to lean on the support of fellow nomadic entrepreneurs who understand your journey.

The world is your oyster, and ecommerce is your pearl. Seize the opportunity to create a business that not only supports your lifestyle but also makes a positive impact on the lives of others. Your next adventure awaits!

Jo 😊

How to Start an Ecommerce Business in 2024 – FAQ’s (Frequently Asked Questions)

How much does it cost to start an ecommerce business?

If you’re already running a hosted blog, you could add the Woopress ecommerce plugin for free to start advertising your products or use the Shopify basic plan at $19 a month.

What is a business in ecommerce?

A business in ecommerce is any company that buys and sells goods or services over the internet. Ecommerce businesses can operate in various forms, including online stores, electronic marketplaces, and through social media platforms. The beauty of ecommerce is that it allows businesses to conduct transactions quickly and conveniently, breaking geographical barriers and enabling a wide reach to consumers.

What are some examples of e-commerce businesses?

E-commerce business examples span a vast array of industries, but here are a few to illustrate the diversity:

  • Online Retail Stores: These are virtual storefronts where customers can buy products directly, such as Amazon or Etsy shops.
  • Subscription Services: These businesses provide recurring services or products, like meal kits or streaming services like Netflix.
  • Online Courses and E-learning Platforms: Providers like Coursera or MasterClass offer educational content in exchange for a fee.
  • Digital Goods Stores: These include businesses that sell digital products like software, music, or digital art.

What are the 4 types of e-commerce?

The 4 primary types of ecommerce are:

  1. B2C (Business-to-Consumer): Businesses sell directly to consumers. Most online retail stores fall into this category.
  2. B2B (Business-to-Business): Businesses sell products or services to other businesses, like a wholesaler to a retailer.
  3. C2B (Consumer-to-Business): Individuals sell products or services to businesses, such as a freelancer offering services to a company.
  4. C2C (Consumer-to-Consumer): Consumers sell directly to other consumers, often facilitated by third-party platforms like eBay or the Facebook Marketplace.

What are some examples of successful ecommerce websites?

I’ve listed some above in my section on choosing your ecommerce business niche, however here are a few more;

  • Warby Parker – Glasses
  • Underwater Audio – Self explanatory
  • Bonobos – Mens clothes
  • Shien – Womens Clothing
  • Birchbox – Beauty

What are some ecommerce business ideas?

There are literally thousands of paths you could go down here, but here are some of the biggest ecommerce business niches;

  • CBD
  • Beauty & Skincare
  • Technology
  • Home Office Equipment
  • Health Products
  • Pet Products
  • Mens Grooming
  • Home Gym & Fitness Equipment
  • Eco Friendly Products
  • Plus Sized Clothing
  • Gardening Products
  • Survival Products

What is the best ecommerce platform?

In my experience Shopify has everything you need to start a profitable online store. However some of the other best ecommerce platforms include; Woocommerce, Magento, bigcommerce. 

How do I start an ecommerce business with no money?

If I didn’t have a bean to invest, I’d start with a print on demand site like Redbubble or Zazzle. I’d create designs in Canva.com and add my designs to the range of products available on Redbubble and Zazzle. I’d then build an audience, probably on TikTok or Instagram, and start to talk about and promote my products, find some Instagram shopping influencers who can also talk about them, and grow my sales until I could afford to start my own ecommerce store!

How do I start an ecommerce business?

  • Choose the ecommerce business model you’d like to start
  • Pick the best ecommerce platform
  • Decide your online store niche
  • Find profitable products to sell online
  • Create your brand and business name
  • Design & build your ecommerce platform
  • Add your products
  • Launch and promote your ecommerce store
  • Build an audience and grow your sales over time

An online catalog creator is a great solution to create an impressive catalog that can be sent directly to your audience if you have an email list but no time to build an ecommerce store.

How do I Start an Ecommerce Business and Travel the World?

I’ve been traveling the world since 2010 with my family and am currently based in Phuket, Thailand. I’ve built ecommerce businesses on Shopify, Amazon & Etsy, I’ve sold online courses, membership sites, been an affiliate marketer, a niche site blogger, a writer, a podcaster and everything in between.

Whether you build an ecommerce business from scratch, start an information based business, or mix and match online business models, starting an online lifestyle business gives you the freedom to work from anywhere in the world.

About the author

Disclaimer: Please note this post may contain affiliate links, from which, at no additional cost to you, I may earn a small commission. Also as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. I only recommend products and services I’ve used or would use myself. If you choose to purchase from any of my links, thanks so much for your support! 😊