15 eCommerce Business Ideas to Help Kickstart Your Online Store

lightbulbs hanging from a ceiling

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

Searching for eCommerce business ideas can be exhausting. You could sell almost anything, but what’s actually profitable? 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 15 of the best eCommerce business ideas to fuel your fire.

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

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Launching an eCommerce business in fashion might sound like an outdated plan.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

If you want to be innovative in the way you sell products, starting a fashion store might be the move for you.

rail of clothes on black hangers

1. 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 idea.

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

  • A handful of cult brands. You could easily curate your range using designer labels whose principles you share or whose identities are similar. 
  • Mid-range brands. Find space for a lower-cost store for shoppers who want to look great for a little less. Your products can be attainable but still chic.
  • Wardrobe swapping. Rather than holding an inventory of products, set up a network of like-minded shoppers who are open to 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.

2. 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 fashion.

You could fill your store with:

  • Locally-made products. Shrinking supply chains is an important step that eCommerce retailers are starting to take. Get ahead of the game and keep your products local.
  • Simple clothing. Stop chasing trends and instead offer garments that are timeless and durable. 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 ensuring longevity for your online business is committing to repair the products that you sell. 
woman looking at clothes on a rail in a store

3. 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 are tired of ill-fitting underwear. Capitalize on the rise of shapewear and create a store filled with comfortable bras and underpants.
  • 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 business attire and disrupt an old-fashioned industry with your store. 

Curated sites

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

A great idea for really diversifying your product 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 business?

team of people brainstorming ideas

4. 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 that interests you. 

By becoming the host for several talented sellers, 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 a niche that lends itself to custom or personalized products and make that your focus.

5. 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. If browsing second-hand goods has you brimming with ideas, capitalize on that.

This is an eCommerce 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 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 unsellable, 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, this could be the industry for you.

People are constantly looking at ways to incorporate wellness values into their lives. Whether it’s through exercise, diet, or mindfulness, your eCommerce business 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

6. Sustainable beauty

Just like sustainable fashion, this is a 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 best 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 skincare.
  • 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.
  • Go zero-waste. Find a local maker who can help you produce small batches of delicious-smelling, yet low-impact products.

7. Subscription boxes

Get your customers hooked on your products.

One exciting business idea to run with right now is the subscription box. You can put pretty much anything in a monthly package.

The subscription is a winning formula for any brand that wants to get its products in front of people. It’s 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. Companies like Dollar Shave Club and The Personal Barber are great examples of well-dressed stores selling simple and handy products.
  • Vitamins and supplements. Sure, we can get vitamins from fresh veggies, but you’ll find success in selling vitamin packs on subscription.
  • 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 before selling.
  • A mindfulness package. You can generate tons of ideas here. Make your customers happy and send them anything, from eye masks to cacao nibs.
box of vitamins on marble surface

8. 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 business 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.
  • Spas and wellness centers. One of the best places to sell your clean skincare is a spa. It can be used in treatment rooms and sold at the reception desk.
  • 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 marketers. This doesn’t mean shilling your products on social media. Within the B2B world, influencers are industry pros.

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.

Try to not limit yourself with 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

9. 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 bread and boring 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 needs.
  • Familiar foods made in alternative ways. Stock up on chickpea pasta. Fill your store with all the non-dairy milks imaginable.
  • Free-from food on demand. Consider branching out into a delivery service. Dietary requirements can be poorly served on well-known apps.

10. 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 everything 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 influencers and wannabe influencers, and design repeat 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 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 demand for your skill set.

person painting with watercolors

11. 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 that you have your own website as an artist, so why not make it profitable? 
  • 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. 
  • Work with an online gallery. Find one that fits your style and go from there. This is a great business idea for artists who’d love to be part of a community.
  • Sell through a marketplace. There are marketplaces to suit every niche. Just make sure you partner with a site that doesn’t take credit for your work.

12. Creative services

Often, the best eCommerce business ideas isn’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’s 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.
  • Copywriting. Set up a site that showcases your flair for words. You can find copywriting gigs in all kinds of industries, like marketing and retail.
  • Interior consultation. You could appeal to both business and personal needs with this one. If you’re a qualified interior designer, sell that skill.
person drawing designs on lightbox

13. 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 eCommerce 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.
  • An issue that should be addressed. Is there a lack of sustainable products in a particular industry? Or is it the impact of plastics on the ocean that moves you? Create an online store that can address it.
  • 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.

Self-improvement

If your passion is helping others or if you’re just super organized, this is it right here.

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 an invaluable eCommerce business.

woman on stage presenting to audience

14. 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 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.

15. Online 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 courses, you can:

  • Create a thriving online store. 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 a written course, what’s to stop you from offering videos or branching out into podcasts?

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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