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19 eCommerce Business Ideas to Inspire Your Online Store

lightbulbs hanging from a ceiling

So, you want to start selling, but you don’t know what it is you’re supposed to sell?

Searching for profitable eCommerce business ideas can be exhausting. You could sell almost anything, but how do you make a business that will last?

Read on if you want to be inspired by an idea you haven’t thought about yet. We’ve put together 19 of the best eCommerce business ideas to fuel your fire and make you money.

Pick one, build an online store, and get selling. What will you achieve?

Home organization

It can be tempting to jump on the latest trend, but all too often those kinds of products fizzle away into obscurity after a few months. Some trends have staying power, though.

Organizing your wardrobe, pantry, or just your secret junk closet is now big business.

Filling your new, neat home space with efficient technology is the icing on the cake. People want their houses to run like well-oiled (comfortable) machines, and you can profit from that.

1. Organization supplies

One of the best ways to capitalize on the trend for neatness is by selling the supplies that make it all happen. From stickers to jars and baskets, you can create a whole online store for organized people.

This is an easy business idea for a dropshipper. Plenty of home organization supplies are bulky and they’re usually purchased in multiples by individual shoppers.

However, some of the best online stores catering to this trend are little and local. If you’re the CEO of a one-employee company, this is a super profitable option.

Here’s how to make it work for a small business:

  • Make custom stickers. If you have the time, resources, and creative energy, offer something unique in the form of personalized adhesives for people’s home storage.
  • Offer a decorative edge. All too often, storage containers are boring, plastic, and designed to be hidden. They don’t have to be – make your supplies stand out.
  • Offer tutorials. If organizing is your own passion, upload videos and design how-to infographics. It’s a cool way to market your eCommerce business.
  • Extend into services. Or go one step further and make your expert organizational services available. Some of your shoppers will be grateful for the help.

2. Smart home products

Gone are the days where everyone thinks it’s weird to have Amazon’s Alexa listening to their private conversations. Well, it still is weird, but it’s so convenient.

Smart home products make life a whole lot easier, and a little bit more luxurious.

Another stellar business idea if you’re an ambitious dropshipper, the world of home technology is yours to embrace. Compared to most eCommerce websites, you can easily make your online store stand out.

Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Lighting. You could specialize in color-changing lightbulbs, and make every day a disco for your customers.
  • Security. Or take a more serious route, and help people feel more secure. From simple sensors to talking cameras, you could be part of the home security eCommerce niche.
  • Music. Back at the home disco, people will always want music. Help shoppers to create a themetune to their everyday lives.
  • Wellness. There’s even technology to help you feel more switched off. You could turn a profit with smart air purifiers or daylight alarm clocks.

Fashion

Launching an eCommerce business in fashion might sound like an outdated plan.

Consumers are being swamped with information about the damage that clothing is doing to the world. Fast fashion is, well, very unfashionable.

But there are some business ideas in this industry that are really transformative. 

If you want to be innovative and eco-friendly, consider enhancing fashion communities with your business model.

rail of clothes on black hangers

3. Garment rental

The sharing economy isn’t new, but it is booming.

Thanks to technology, people are able to rent a whole host of products and services. From movies to cars to homes, the main sharing sectors are estimated to be worth $335 billion by 2025.

If you want a slice of that pie, garment rental is a great eco-friendly idea.

Find your niche – the business of sharing clothes isn’t untapped. You could specialize in:

  • A handful of cult brands. Curate your range using high-quality designer labels whose principles you share, or whose identities are similar. 
  • Wardrobe swapping. Rather than holding an inventory of products, set up a network of like-minded shoppers who are open to second-hand swaps. You’ll save on costs.
  • Accessories over outfits. Ever got the perfect dress but couldn’t find the right bag? Make your website THE destination for finishing touches.

4. Sustainable clothes

Are you a maker? Do you have a network of talented designer friends?

Starting an eCommerce business that’s centered around sustainability is guaranteed to drive excitement right now.

Avoid being accused of greenwashing and make sustainability your target from day one. This is a much-needed business idea in the world of apparel.

Product ideas you could fill your store with include:

  • Simple clothing. Stop chasing trends and instead offer garments that are timeless and high-quality. Simplicity can be beautiful.
  • Innovative fabrics. From recycling plastic into swimwear to transforming cactus into leather, there are loads of ideas out there for less harmful textiles.  
  • Items that can be repaired. A great idea for maximizing the customer lifetime value of your online business is committing to repair the products that you sell. 
woman looking at clothes on a rail in a store

5. Body scanning

Sounds weird, but bear with us.

Customers can now use apps to scan their bodies from head to toe, using just their smartphones.

This incredible technology is a great business idea for solving the headache of finding clothes online. 

Partner up with a business that specializes in body scanning technology, like Sizer, and you could start an eCommerce store that perfectly caters to all shapes and sizes.

If you’re into garment design, think about who needs a perfect fit:

  • People who like adventures. Could you produce snugly-fitted thermal onesies for mountaineers?
  • People who don’t fit the mold. Focus your eCommerce business on shoppers who are frustrated with not finding their size elsewhere online.
  • People who are discerning, but busy. Start selling tailored suits and outerwear, and disrupt an old-fashioned industry with your online business.

Curated sites

If you’re nailing it with your networking skills, think about going big with your eCommerce business idea.

A great tactic for diversifying your product or service offer is to turn your store into a community.

We talk a lot about the importance of using social media to connect with your target audience. Why not invite that audience to collaborate with you on growing your small business?

team of people brainstorming ideas

6. Online marketplace

You don’t have to become the next Amazon or Etsy.

But launching your very own marketplace is one explosive idea for an eCommerce business that you may not have thought about.

Dive deep into an industry you already love or use this as a chance to get into a niche market that interests you. 

By becoming the host for several talented sellers or experts, you could have a profitable eCommerce store in no time.

Marketplaces aren’t always one-stop shops. Here are some ideas:

  • Rental marketplace. Remember what we said about the sharing economy? One idea to profit from could be to create a swap and share platform.
  • Task marketplace. Bring together people who have the time or the skills to help others. This is a nice idea for building a community.
  • Fitness marketplace. Home workouts are cool now and it’s normal to have your own supply of resistance bands. Specialize in exercise gear and workout tips.
  • Bespoke marketplace. Find an eCommerce niche that lends itself to custom products, like print-on-demand, and make that your focus.

7. Thrift store finds

Are you an antiques aficionado? Know how to turn a profit from pre-loved items?

Flipping your thrift store finds is a pretty sustainable way to do business, as long as you’re not taking essential items (like clothes and shoes) and making them too expensive for those in need.

But if browsing second-hand luxuries has you brimming with business ideas, capitalize on that.

This is an online business model that can take you anywhere. Start by curating your store as a place of discovery for shoppers.

Make their shopping experience unique:

  • Appeal to a particular community. If you’re great at finding retro video games, make that your niche. Chances are you’ll find your audience easily.
  • Make things work together. Thrift stores can sometimes just be jumbled piles of… stuff. Stylize your range and show shoppers how to pair separates.
  • Customize your products. Or upcycle them, if that’s where your talent lies. Make sure you aren’t turning a perfectly good product into something no one wants, though.
  • Look beyond the thrift store. Could you clean up at a garage sale? How about the local flea market? Don’t just look in one place for product ideas.

Health and beauty

Wellness is a trillion-dollar industry. If you’re looking for instantly profitable business ideas, selling health and beauty products could be your next online business.

People are constantly looking at ways to incorporate wellness values into their lives.

Whether it’s through exercise, diet, or mindfulness, your eCommerce business idea could easily tap into the obsession with health.

You don’t have to be a health or beauty expert, but it helps.

person holding pot of handcream

8. Sustainable beauty

Just like sustainable fashion, this is an eco-friendly trend that will have staying power.

If you are full of ideas for world-saving products, now’s the time to make your mark on the health and beauty industry.

Make sure you have something that will help and excite shoppers – think about a problem you have that you’d like to solve.

Some of the best eCommerce business ideas come from simply wanting to make a change.

Here are some of the coolest examples:

  • Reusable versions of single-use products. Brands like LastObject are committed to saving the planet in a stylish way with their swabs and tissues.
  • Refillable products. Zero-waste grocery stores are already popular. Turn this into an eCommerce business and switch food for serums and face masks.
  • Clean beauty. You don’t have to search hard to find beauty brands that are organic or sustainable. Set up a store that carries your favorite clean products.

9. Subscription boxes

Get your customers hooked on your product or service.

One of the most exciting eCommerce niches to run with right now is the subscription box. You can put pretty much anything in a monthly package.

The subscription box is a winning formula for any brand that wants to get its products in front of people.

Services like this are great for shoppers who are looking to get into beauty or wellness but have no idea where to start.

Your store could sell:

  • Grooming supplies. Platforms like Dollar Shave Club and The Personal Barber are great examples of well-dressed stores selling simple and handy products.
  • The latest skincare items. Fill up boxes with sample sizes for customers who just can’t decide. This is one great way to test your products online before selling in bulk.
  • A mindfulness package. You can generate tons of ideas here. Make your customers happy and send them any nice-smelling product, from eye masks to cacao nibs.
box of vitamins on marble surface

10. B2B (Business to business)

If you’re ready to turn your hobby or profession into a full-on eCommerce business, you might want to think about selling to businesses.

Business to business – also known as B2B – is just that: one business selling commercially to another business.

This happens in loads of industries. It could be an innovative idea for making your health and beauty brand more well-known.

Some businesses that you could work with include:

  • Hotels and restaurants. If you want to specialize in products like shampoos and lotions, working with the hospitality industry is a great way to boost brand visibility.
  • Yoga studios and gyms. Appeal to as many people within your target market as you can. Get your health products in front of them when they’re feeling zen.
  • Influencer affiliate marketing. This doesn’t mean shilling your products anywhere on social media. Within the B2B world, influencers are industry pros.

Recommended reading: What is Social Media Marketing?

Niche products

Want to start an online store selling oddly-specific things?

If you find a niche that promises to be profitable, now is a great time to turn that niche into your new eCommerce business idea.

Try to not limit yourself by embracing a micro-niche, however.

Micro-niches appeal to a small number of people from a broader market, like if you specialize in pink barbecues instead of all barbecues.

You won’t be able to go very far with a micro-niche, and fewer products bring less traffic. Give your niche room to grow.

cartons of oat milk and honey on a shelf

11. Free-from foods

Food catered towards specific dietary needs is in high demand. Luckily for people with intolerances, there’s now a huge variety of free-from foods that they can eat.

The trouble is finding it.

While it’s easier than ever to find specialist food in the supermarket, there’s only so much pale gluten-free bread and boring dairy-free cookies that people can handle.

Do shoppers a favor and start an online grocery business selling:

  • Fresh or freezable pastries. Celiacs will thank you. The gluten-free food market is set to be worth over $6 billion by 2025, so ride that wave.
  • Nut-free treats and sauces. Some of the most delicious foods have come into contact with nuts. Make allergy sufferers happy by dedicating your online grocery to their specific product needs.
  • Familiar foods made in alternative ways. Stock up on chickpea pasta. Fill your store with all the non-dairy milk imaginable.
  • Free-from food on demand. Consider branching out into a delivery service. Dietary requirements can be poorly served on well-known apps.

12. Personalizable goods

It isn’t unheard of for stores to offer a monogramming service, particularly around the holidays.

You can now buy personalized cheese boards online or get your face printed on a mug. There are even gift sites that let you print maps of the stars on the night you met your partner.

People want their names and faces all over every product they own right now, and you should jump on that trend.

There are some niche ways to profit from personalizing your goods:

  • Sell custom candies. For birthdays, weddings, and baby showers, what’s a more personal favor for guests than M&Ms with the host’s initials printed on them?
  • Sell faces on phone cases. Appeal to social media marketing experts, and offer print-on-demand patterns of your customers’ selfies. 
  • Sell personalized puzzles. Board games are surging in popularity. Take advantage of this and start an eCommerce business specializing in custom versions.
  • Sell pet accessories. The one thing people will always love is their fluffy companions. Create bespoke dog apparel, pet beds, and chew toys.

Creative outlets

Sometimes you just need to harness your talents and make money from them. But it can be tricky finding the right route to success with a personal passion.

Fear not: there are plenty of online business ideas for people looking for a creative outlet.

Remember that there are customers for almost everything online, so it’s likely you’ll find the demand for your skillset.

person painting with watercolors

13. Works of art

This is such a great business idea that we wrote a blog on how to do it.

It’s definitely possible to make a profitable eCommerce store from your own works of art. If this is a passion of yours, you’ll most likely be great at it – now’s the time to get yourself out there.

You don’t have to change what you’re doing, either. There are plenty of ways for artists to sell online without having to compromise with their art.

See if you can find a business idea that suits you:

  • Set up your own online store. It’s essential these days for artists to be visible online as well as in physical spaces, so why not make a profitable eCommerce business?
  • Partner with a dealer. If you want to make products but you’re not a salesperson, find someone else to work that side of your business. 
  • Sell through a marketplace. There are marketplaces to suit every niche. Check out platforms like Fine Art America for inspiration.

14. Creative services

Often, the best eCommerce business ideas aren’t based on selling products at all.

You can be successful by selling helpful services online, too.

Creative skills are particularly valuable to other businesses, and you can make some serious money by sharing your knowledge.

There is loads you can do to monetize your creativity – here are some examples:

  • Graphic design. Offer your skills to startup companies that are working to find their brand identity. You could be paid to design logos, typography, or brand guidelines.
  • Product design. If you are a seasoned pro when it comes to innovating goods for sale, find businesses that are keen to outsource this service.
  • Copy or content writing. Set up a site that showcases your flair for words. You can find copy or content writing gigs in all kinds of industries, like marketing and retail.
person drawing designs on lightbox

15. Your passion

There’s a lot to be said for just following a path that makes you happy.

Sure, it should be a path that leads to commercial success. But it’s possible to turn your hobby or burning passion into a thriving online business.

One of the benefits of pursuing your passion is that you’ll have the drive to make it into something special. And that’s exactly what a new online store needs to be.

Take a look at what drives you – it could be:

  • A problem that you want to solve. Maybe you get frustrated with a product that could be so much better. Make it better! Build a range around your initial idea.
  • A professional skill that you want to monetize. It could be a qualification you picked up a long time ago or the job you’re in right now. Think about turning it into a business.
  • A hobby that you enjoy. You could have a side hustle or go one step further and turn your crafty pastime into an eCommerce success.

Editor’s note 📝 – Is there a much bigger, consumer issue that you think should be addressed? Build an online store that makes a difference.

Gastronomy

It’s a big, serious word for an article about eCommerce businesses, but we’re sticking with it.

If you’re lucky enough to be a small business entrepreneur and a great cook, get started with setting up a food-based business.

We’re not talking about groceries and take-out: there are some great business ideas out there for lovers of incredible, well-made, and high-quality dishes.

16. Grazing boxes

Are you always on cheeseboard duty at family gatherings? Do you find yourself eating unconventional food pairings, like olives and lemon curd (don’t try that)?

You might find your calling with grazing boxes. They’re pretty much just boxes filled with all the food you’d find on an incredible buffet table at a party, but beautifully presented and fully-prepared.

This is one of those online business ideas that is a total luxury – but there’s a big market for that.

To create a truly successful grazing box website, be sure to:

  • Let your creativity run wild. The magic of a grazing box is in its presentation. Check out eCommerce websites like Berry and Brie for proof.
  • Use savvy marketing tactics. Photogenic food is made for social media and affiliate marketing – ensure your promotional approach is highly visual.
  • Offer a high level of customer service. You’ll need to be compliant with food safety guidelines, and ensure deliveries are speedy but done with care.
  • Appeal to a wide market. The best online grazing boxes are available for B2B businesses and can be personalized to fit anyone’s individual needs.

17. Food kits

People are eating at home a whole lot more often than they used to, so take advantage of that.

While selling food kits is a savvy move for existing restaurateurs, you can totally set up an eCommerce website from scratch, too.

This one is definitely for the entrepreneur with a foodie background. Qualified chefs, bakers, and food scientists take note – this is your chance to get started in the world of eCommerce.

Here are some online business ideas you could run with:

  • Baked goods from a jar. Use a load of creativity with a spoonful of physics, and layer up the perfect measurements for cookies or brownies in a glass container.
  • Assembly kits for burger night. Give people everything they need to construct a hearty meal. Offer varying quantities so that people can dine with their families.
  • Ingredients for a familiar favorite. Let customers make their own foodie masterpieces. Be sure to include a branded recipe card in every kit.
  • Meal prep boxes. Some people want to avoid cookies and burgers. Cater to them with a week’s worth of nutritious lunch ingredients.

Self-improvement

If your passion is helping others or if you’re just super organized, here are your business ideas.

After all, self-improvement is big business. It appeals to all generations, but 94% of millennials were once surveyed as being committed to improving themselves.

And this is something that people will spend money to achieve. 

Alongside eating well and exercising, consumers are looking for more mindful ways to improve their lives.

If you have a positive attitude to share with the world, it could be your route to creating an invaluable eCommerce website.

woman on stage presenting to audience

18. Coaching

Are you an absolute pro at something? 

Shaping your eCommerce store around coaching could be a clever business idea. You can command high rates, select your clients, and share your wisdom.

People seek coaching services for loads of different things, too.

Business, sports, or even life skills – it’s likely you can find a coaching topic that fits your experience.

Here’s how you could profit from one of the more niche eCommerce business ideas:

  • By keeping a selective client base. Coaching is an in-depth job that requires a lot of focus. You’ll want a small pool of customers who stick around for a while.
  • By making your rates competitive. It’s possible to charge a premium for coaching, but be sure to offer something valuable for the money.
  • By learning from your clients. This will help you to grow, and could even help you generate new eCommerce business ideas in the process.
  • By selling your personal brand. People will be expecting a lot from you, so be sure to sell yourself as an expert. Use things like video marketing to get your personality across online.

19. Online education courses

So you’re one of the best in your field, but you don’t have time for coaching.

If you’re looking for eCommerce business ideas that are a little less selective, but just as impactful, this one’s for you.

Online courses can generate healthy revenue if you sell them in the right way.

This is a great business idea for experts who want to have a much bigger audience. If you make your courses downloadable, you can secure global reach.

With online education courses, you can:

  • Create a thriving eCommerce platform. Make your courses into digital downloads so that you’re able to start selling right away.
  • Appeal to a broad target market. People are looking to learn about anything and everything. With some research, you could have a huge customer base.
  • Scale your company. You might start out with one course that fits your knowledge, but there will always be space for new business ideas to shape your platform.
  • Diversify your range. If you start out with written online courses, what’s to stop you from offering videos or branching out into podcasts?

Recommended reading: eCommerce books: 20 Great Reads for Entrepreneurs

Written by

Author avatar

Olivia

Olivia is a writer for Zyro and an eCommerce know-it-all. Having spent many years as a retail buyer, she loves writing about trend forecasting, brand building, and teaching others how to optimize online stores for success. She lives in London and spends a lot of time exploring the city’s parks with her whippet.

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