9 Tips On Starting Your eCommerce Business From Scratch

Ecommerce laptop

eCommerce has become an increasingly popular way for entrepreneurs and small businesses to sell products and services online. The global e-commerce market is projected to reach $7.3 trillion by 2025, indicating huge potential for new e-commerce businesses. 

Starting an e-commerce business from scratch allows entrepreneurs to tap into this growing market and build a successful online store. However, launching an e-commerce business requires careful planning, research, and execution. 

Here are 10 tips on starting your e-commerce business from scratch:


1. Conduct Thorough Market Research

Before launching your e-commerce business, it is crucial to conduct in-depth market research to gain insights into your target audience, competitors, and in-demand products. Start by identifying your ideal customer avatar - their demographics, values, interests, and shopping habits. Analyze your competitors by studying their product offerings, pricing, promotions, reviews, and traffic sources. Examine best-selling items and trends in your niche by using tools like Google Trends. 

Research consumer demographics in your target market, including age, income, location, and other attributes. Create detailed buyer personas that outline your customers' behaviors, motivations, and goals. Subscribe to industry reports that provide market size, growth forecasts, and opportunities. Tracking all this data will help you select the right products, optimal pricing and tailor your e-commerce store to your target customers' preferences.

2. Design an Engaging E-Commerce Website

Converting site visitors into paying customers depends heavily on your e-commerce site's user experience and interface design. Maintain visual cohesion using your platform's templates and themes. For product images or additional visual content, you can leverage royalty-free photos to enhance the aesthetics of your site without infringing on copyrights. Ensure seamless site speed and mobile responsiveness. Prominently display high-quality product images, descriptions, and calls-to-action.

Make navigation intuitive with menus, filters, and site search. Include trust badges, secure checkout processes, and other credibility markers. You can also hire a web designer to further customize the look and feel of your online store. A stellar website design establishes professionalism and boosts conversions.

3. Compare E-Commerce Platforms

Choosing the right e-commerce platform is fundamental to building your online store. Leading options like Shopify, WooCommerce, BigCommerce, and Squarespace provide the software, tools, and hosting needed to create an e-commerce site. Compare platforms based on costs, ease of use, scalability, built-in features, and integrations. 

Shopify offers a user-friendly setup with everything integrated, but transaction fees apply. WooCommerce builds customizable stores as WordPress plugins but requires more technical expertise. Weigh options like templates, payment processing, shipping, taxes, analytics, security, and App Store. Select a robust, scalable platform that can support your sales growth over time.

4. Pick the Right Domain and Web Hosting

Your domain name is your online identity, and web hosting provides the infrastructure to run your e-commerce site. Brainstorm short, memorable domain names that are easy to spell and speak, and contain your primary keyword. Verify domain availability at registrars like GoDaddy, Namecheap, and Bluehost. 

Next, choose a reliable web hosting provider like HostGator, SiteGround, or A2 Hosting. Compare storage space, bandwidth, speed, uptime, security, backups, and technical support. Opt for managed WordPress hosting plans tailored for e-commerce sites. Pick a web host that seamlessly integrates with your e-commerce platform.

5. Evaluate Business Entity Structures

Choosing the right business structure is key. Take time to evaluate options like sole proprietorship, partnership, limited liability company (LLC), or corporation. A sole proprietorship is easy to set up, but you are personally liable for the business. A partnership allows you to share ownership but comes with joint liability. An LLC combines pass-through taxation with limited liability protection. Corporations have the most complex setup and formalities but limit liability.

Consult lawyers and accountants to determine the ideal structure for your goals. Carefully consider factors like startup costs, ownership flexibility, liability, taxes, regulations, and ongoing paperwork. An LLC or corporation will typically be better suited for e-commerce businesses. Setup costs vary based on your state. Overall, choose a business structure that provides liability protection with minimal complexities.

6. Source Products and Manage Inventory

One of the most important steps is finding reliable suppliers and manufacturers to source quality products in your niche at wholesale prices. Evaluate suppliers based on minimum order quantities, lead times, product quality, costs, and reliability. Ask for samples to assess products firsthand.

Once you've sourced products, upload them to your e-commerce store with detailed titles, descriptions, specs, images, and prices. Ensure competitive yet profitable pricing by analyzing competitor rates. Update inventory counts as sales occur. Use inventory management software to streamline workflows. Dropshipping is another fulfillment option. 

7. Set Up Secure Payment Processing

To sell online, you must integrate trusted payment gateways like Stripe, PayPal, Square, or Braintree into your e-commerce platform. Offer options like credit cards, debit cards, net banking, and e-wallets preferred by your target audience. For global stores, provide localized payment methods.

Automate order processing by connecting payment gateways to your online store. Ensure compliance with security standards like PCI DSS. Additional services like fraud prevention and payment tracking provide further protection and insights. Offer easy checkout and transparent billing to build trust and maximize conversions.

8. Handle Shipping, Returns and Taxes 

Streamlining logistics is vital for any e-commerce business. Display real-time shipping rates at checkout based on customer location and cart contents. Offer faster shipping methods like express delivery to boost conversions. Integrate tools like ShipStation to print labels, track shipments, and manage returns. 

Stay tax compliant by integrating sales tax automation software. Automatically calculate local, state, and federal taxes at checkout. Offer hassle-free returns and refunds to ensure customer satisfaction. Handling the shipping, returns, and taxes processes efficiently enhances the customer experience.

9. Promote Your Online Store

To attract customers, employ diverse digital marketing strategies tailored to your products, target audience, and goals. Run paid ads on Google, Facebook, and Instagram. Build an email list for promotions. Engage followers on social media through contests, deals, and content. 

Search engine optimization and content marketing will organically draw traffic from Google. On-site pop-ups, exit offers, and retargeting ads re-engage site visitors. Affiliate and influencer marketing expands your reach. A strategic marketing plan is key to e-commerce success.


Launching an e-commerce business from the ground up involves strategic planning and effort. However, the sizable market opportunity and flexibility make e-commerce a lucrative venture for aspiring entrepreneurs. Conduct thorough research, select the right platform and products, build an engaging online store, and employ diverse marketing techniques to attract customers. By following these ten tips, you can successfully start your e-commerce business from scratch. With dedication and hard work, your online store can flourish.


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