The global ecommerce space is as vibrant as it’s ever been. Global retail ecommerce stood at $3.4 million in 2019, according to data from Statista. The data also forecasts that this number could reach $6.54 trillion in 2022.
The requirements for an ecommerce store to grow in sales are extensive. However, none of those amount to much if you don’t have the right business idea. In this guide, we’ll go through some of the most profitable business ideas and companies that you can take inspiration from if you plan to delve into these niches.
- 1 Niches and the Vibrant eCommerce Space
- 2 Top 20 eCommerce Business Ideas
- 2.1 1. Smart Home Products
- 2.2 2. Online Foods and Groceries
- 2.3 3. Smart Watches
- 2.4 4. Jewelry Dropshipping
- 2.5 5. Kids’ Toys
- 2.6 6. Baby Rompers
- 2.7 7. Women’s Fashion and Jewelry
- 2.8 8. Dropship Fitness Tools and Sell Programs
- 2.9 9. Face Masks
- 2.10 10. Digital Health
- 2.11 11. Blogging
- 2.12 12. Healthcare Products
- 2.13 13. Digital Marketing
- 2.14 14. Sell Your Art Online
- 2.15 15. Online Education Business
- 2.16 16. Content Writing
- 2.17 17. Ideology-Based Products
- 2.18 18. Sell Second-Hand Electronics
- 2.19 19. Passion Apparels
- 2.20 20. Print-On-Demand Apparel
- 3 Tips for Online Business Owners
- 4 Conclusion
Niches and the Vibrant eCommerce Space
They say ideas rule the world. That saying holds true in the business world more than you know.
Every eCommerce business needs a blueprint for success. A prominent part of that has to do with what you sell. There are hundreds of niches in the ecommerce space alone. As a profit-minded business owner, you have to find the right niche to sell products to or risk lagging sales.
Picking the right niche involves a lot of research. You need to identify the hot products and whether or not the market will be receptive to them. You should also consider the feasibility of sustaining these products or services long-term — a metric that could include government oversight and regulatory requirements.
So, let’s take a look to see some of the top business ideas you can start as an ecommerce company in 2021.
Top 20 eCommerce Business Ideas
1. Smart Home Products
The smart home is becoming more of a trend these days. People have become more enamored with smart homes, as they present greater convenience to live in.
By connecting entire ecosystems — including power consumption, water quality, and more — smart homes display an integrated approach to houses and their interactions with the occupants. Everything is also easy to install and use. That convenience is what you’re selling.
The smart home market is also quite ripe. According to Market Source data, most households still aren’t as familiar with smart home devices. As adoption ramps up, your business could be the go-to hub for shoppers in this niche.
Take P.C. Richard & Son. The company has been around for over 100 years, majoring in home appliances. However, they recently pivoted and added smart home devices. From WiFi thermostats and smart smoke detectors to smart lighting and robotic vacuums, they sell it all.
2. Online Foods and Groceries
People want to eat. You can fulfil that desire and make money. As more people were forced to sit at home, online grocery and food shopping skyrocketed. In fact, statistics show that up to 70 percent of all shoppers in the United States could purchase their groceries online in 2020.
The market for food and groceries is as vibrant as it’s ever been, and you can use that to your advantage. Whether you want to make the food yourself or retail packaged food, it doesn’t matter. There is a lot of infrastructure available for you to capitalize on, and make it big.
But, you have to educate yourself on the laws. The retail food market is heavily regulated. If you can manage to work around compliance, there’s a real opportunity for the business to work out.
Take Buymie for some inspiration. The service provides a website and a mobile app for people to purchase groceries and get their deliveries in 1 hour or less. Their process is simple and straightforward, as they use intermediary shoppers to work on customers’ orders and deliver them immediately.
3. Smart Watches
The wearables market is also growing rapidly. The market size was estimated to have been $32 billion in 2019, and analysts believe that it could grow at a rate of 16 percent between 2020 and 2027.
Like smart home devices, smartwatches also provide a great deal of convenience. The link with your mobile phone allows you to easily answer messages and phone calls, set alarms, switch between tasks, and access your phone’s digital assistant.
While names like the Apple Watch and Samsung Galaxy Watch have dominated the market, you can also stock up on some budget products from less popular brands.
One of the top smartwatch retail services is GearBest. The company specializes in electronics and gadgets. They also retail a sizeable assortment of wearables for customers. From the Apple and Fitbit products to the lesser-known brands, GearBest has it all.
4. Jewelry Dropshipping
The jewelry market is worth billions of dollars. You can tap into the high demand for these items and make good money. Since jewelry is a consumer product, your reach is extensive. Men, women, and kids wear jewelry these days.
Jewelry is also diverse. You can sell necklaces, rings, bracelets, belly rings, just to name a few. These products come with several materials — beads, shells, gemstones, precious metals, and more.
With a diverse collection and an almost infinite market to sell to, you can make a lot of money. Through dropshipping, you even get the benefit of convenience. Since you’re not keeping any stock, you don’t bear any costs.
oNecklace provides one of the most seamless and reliable jewelry dropshipping services. The online store has various beneficial features, including a free worldwide shipping service and a wide assortment of products.
5. Kids’ Toys
This is another ecommerce niche that is becoming more popular. It’s almost the circle of life — the more people get married, the more they have kids. The more they have kids, the more they’ll need toys.
It’s almost the same as the food market. Demand will continue to grow, presenting an opportunity to earn big. As long as you have the right niche and an optimized online store, you should be bombarded with sales.
One of the top kids’ toys ecommerce sites is Kidstuff. The company has been selling toys and inspiring products since 1969. Its website is hosted on BigCommerce, and it has a pretty impressive layout. The site includes an easy-to-navigate feature, as well as top brands, engaging rotating banners, and more.
6. Baby Rompers
Remember the entire gist about kids always needing toys? Well, they’ll need rompers too. If you’ve ever babysat, you’d know the importance of a romper.
Rompers are part of the baby care products market, which is expected to reach $13 billion in revenues by next year. If you’re so passionate about babies, you could even combine selling rompers and toys with other clothing apparel.
Check out SpearmintLOVE – a brand that sells baby clothes, gear, accessories, and more. The service sells products from several brands, and it also has a dedicated product line. Shoppers can navigate to product pages to check product photos, view descriptions, and even check out other similar items.
7. Women’s Fashion and Jewelry
It’s almost impossible to go wrong when you sell fashion. However, as a niche seller, you’re going much deeper and narrowing your focus to a specific type of woman. One of the many benefits of selling niche fashion and jewelry is that you can grow with your audience.
A top example in this field is PrettyLittleThing. The e-store specializes in delivering popular yet affordable women’s clothes and accessories. PrettyLittleThing sells more edgy and fun fashion items that work best for ladies who love to take fashion risks.
8. Dropship Fitness Tools and Sell Programs
Recent data shows that the fitness industry worldwide should reach revenues of $22 billion by the turn of the year. If you’re a fitness enthusiast, this is another impressive way to make some easy money.
Everyone wants to get fit and stay in shape. You could easily tap into that in two ways — sell fitness products and offer online fitness coaching.
Usually, these two go hand-in-hand. You could open a YouTube channel today and advertise yourself. The process involves presenting yourself as a knowledgeable person in the field and getting people to subscribe. From there, promote the products you sell and how they can help your customers achieve fitness.
Today, there is a lot of workout equipment you could sell. They include medicine balls, jump ropes, armbands, and even smartwatches and Fitbits. Competition is pretty tight, but the right market strategy can help you build your audience.
9. Face Masks
Everyone wears a face mask now. Thanks to the coronavirus pandemic, most countries that aren’t under lockdown mandate that people wear face masks as a protective measure while outdoors. So, many companies selling face masks are seeing an influx of sales.
Face masks can be made into different designs and using different materials. This variety has allowed brands to be more creative. People are now interested in masks that they can pair with their outfits, and companies are even ordering masks in high numbers to place branding and packaging materials on.
Even after the pandemic blows over, the face mask market will still be vibrant, since most hospitals order in bulk
If you already sell clothes, you could easily pivot into selling face masks. Taylor Jay Collection is an example. While the company’s primary collection includes clothes for every woman, they also offer face masks for the moment.
10. Digital Health
Digital health has several objectives — preventing diseases, helping to reduce medical costs, and even monitoring people with chronic conditions.
However, the field goes deeper than just having doctors with iPads or tablets. Health services are being transferred online, with both hospital and private healthcare companies taking advantage of the internet to conveniently administer their services.
Digital health got a boost in the post-COVID-19 era, digital health has also gotten a significant boost. Everything has gone digital, and healthcare has towed that line too.
The digital healthcare space is perhaps the most capital-intensive on this list. Depending on the product or service you want to sell, you will need to spend money on getting approval, mapping out service routes, and finding easy ways to reach your customers. However, if you have a passion for it and enough money, it’s possible.
One of the most impressive digital health services is Jigsaw Health. The company primarily sells healthcare products like protein shakes and supplements. They also provide an informative blog with healthcare insights and an education program for customers.
It might sound ordinary or cliché, but owning a blog is still a viable business model. A blog allows you to reach people all over the internet with your message, product or service.
Thanks to affiliate marketing, blog administrators can sell products and earn a sizable income. However, note that you will need to have a sizable following on your blog for affiliate marketing to be useful for you. So, focus on growing your blog and building a community before signing up for an affiliate program.
One of the most popular bloggers across the world is Neil Patel. The 35-year-old American has been providing digital marketing tips to thousands worldwide and he rakes in millions annually from his services. His website offers advice on everything you need to succeed online, from digital marketing and SEO to content development and more.
12. Healthcare Products
You can also open a website to serve as a platform for disseminating healthcare products. People who have prescriptions or are looking for health supplements can come to your store and purchase them, as opposed to getting these items over the counter.
The regulatory requirements that govern healthcare products are pretty extensive too, so you might have a lot of hoops to jump through to launch your website finally. So, if it’s a business you want to start quickly and conveniently, this isn’t an option we’d recommend.
A top healthcare product supplier is Vitality Medical. They sell more than just drugs; customers can get respiratory therapy goods, unitary supplies, wound care products, and more from the website.
13. Digital Marketing
Digital marketing is still one of the most lucrative skills in the world. Every small business owner needs a digital marketer to identify, attract and keep customers coming to the website. In a recent survey, Keap found that 1,190 small businesses in the United States had issues retaining and re-engaging their customers.
As of 2012, reports showed that 500,000 new businesses are launched every month in the U.S. alone. Given that many companies now have an online presence, providing an effective digital marketing service is an effective way to sell yourself to these companies — and, in turn, sell them to customers.
Companies have come to find that digital marketing is a necessity. If you have the skills, you can easily make it big. Take WebFX — one of the top digital marketing platforms in the world. The company claims to have driven over $2.1 billion in customer revenues through its services.
WebFX currently does just about everything. They offer UI & UX design, Search Engine Optimization (SEC), analytics services, and much more.
14. Sell Your Art Online
If you’re an artisan and you’re sure of what you do, get your products online and start selling them.
Today, several ecommerce solutions can help you create and manage an online store to sell your art. They give you all the tools you need to scale up, and all you have to do is pay a recurrent fee.
You will need to engage in branding and marketing to sell your products. However, the primary thing is having a store and keeping to it. This is a great way to make money off your skills.
You could also take advantage of seller communities like Art.com. The service opens artists to a global market of art collectors and enthusiasts. They also offer several other services, including POP art conversion and photo framing.
15. Online Education Business
Got expertise in any field? Why not sell it and make some money? The World Economic Forum reported in 2017 that the global market for online education reached $255 billion. Online education is wildly popular now, thanks in no small part to the coronavirus pandemic and the push for e-learning.
Millions of people are purchasing online courses both in and out of the conventional education system. As the labor market gets more competitive, the need to upgrade skills is even more prominent.
To start an online education business, you don’t need so much. All you need is an in-depth knowledge of one field and the desire to pass that knowledge across. Over time, you could get other knowledgeable people and have them design courses that people can enjoy. The more courses you can teach, the more people you can reach.
In time, you could become Udemy, one of the largest e-learning platforms in the world. Udemy currently teaches courses in hundreds of fields. By curating course materials from both individuals and businesses, the platform offers an inexhaustible wealth of knowledge.
You could also simply log on as a tutor on platforms like Udemy and sell your courses directly, instead of starting a business on your own.
16. Content Writing
Another service that can make you a significant amount of money is content writing. From drafting company emails and marketing materials to research and copywriting, content development is a great way to begin your creative world journey.
Thankfully, the growth of freelance work has made it easier for content writers to sell their skills. You can always check out Upwork and Fiverr and several other freelance marketplaces to find content writing “gigs.”
While the competition for content writing on freelance sites is pretty steep, you will be able to grow and scale with time. You merely need to stay patient and hone your skills.
17. Ideology-Based Products
Tapping into peoples’ beliefs and ideologies can work to your advantage too. We all have things we believe in — whether it be God (or His supposed absence), the universe, tradition, and more.
You could take peoples’ ideologies and use them to your advantage. Sell products that people can identify with and which they can use to communicate these ideologies wherever they go.
One of the best examples of an ideology-based store is Nine Line Apparel. The company, which was founded by Army veterans, sells apparels for patriotic Americans. Nine Line Apparel currently sells almost anything —clothes, face masks, coffee brands, and much more. However, the company focuses more on its clothing brand.
18. Sell Second-Hand Electronics
For those who are genuinely budget-minded, fairly-used products are always a hit. As the name gives away, fairly-used products are transferred from one owner to another. They cost significantly less than the new versions of these products and can still operate functionally.
When selling something fairly-used, the most significant challenge you need to overcome is building trust. You want to ensure that people can come to your store and get high-quality second-hand items. While these will be cheaper, the products should still be able to work well.
To help with that, make sure to test products and ascertain their functionality before accepting them. You can always check stores like eBay and open an account there, or you could take advantage of an ecommerce solution to launch your own store.
19. Passion Apparels
If you’ve got a passion for an activity, you could also sell apparels that attract like-minded people.
Take, for instance, sports. You could brand T-shirts and others with sports content and sell them online to attract other sports junkies. Even better, you could create a line of sports gear and brand them. While functionality in the activity isn’t a requirement, it always helps to have that too.
Simply put, you could sell football shorts that have a football drawn on them. Just something to draw people. One popular passion apparel brand is Andie Swim. The company makes swimwear for women of all sizes, with different styles available. From one-piece and two-pieces to trunks and more, Andie Swim is your one-stop-shop for swimwear.
20. Print-On-Demand Apparel
Print-on-demand sites are platforms that allow people and companies to print in small quantities. Unlike publishing houses and clothing companies that print apparel in bulk, print-on-demand sites are based on the customers’ needs.
Your job is to ists can upload their orders, and they get paid whenever a customer chooses their art to be printed on apparel. When customers come over, they get to choose the units and their properties — design, quality, size, color, and others. Then, you handle the printing and send the goods to the customer.
A perfect example of a print-on-demand apparel site is Printful. The service is one of the oldest in the industry, although it has more of a focus on entrepreneurs. On Printful, you can print various items — clothes, wall art, accessories, phone cases, tote bags, and more.
Tips for Online Business Owners
1. Don’t Rush to Begin
One of the biggest mistakes you could make with your ecommerce business is to rush or your business’s launch. Whether you want to use a dedicated website or you’re piggybacking on brands like Amazon or eBay, you need to take your time and be careful.
The last thing you want to do when launching your website is blitzing through the work and messing it all up. So, you can purchase a domain and just reveal a “Coming Soon” message while you get the marketing started. However, don’t launch until you’re sure there’s an opportunity to exploit, and you’ve laid the groundwork.
Things like marketing, site security, SEO, and much more are still critical, and you will need to sort those out before the website launches.
2. Invest in your Site
There’s no point in having an ecommerce website if customers have a hard time discovering and navigating through.
According to data from Forrester, an intuitive user interface can boost your website’s conversion by 200 percent. Uxeria concurs, stating in a report that 70 percent of online stores that fail have bad usability to blame for their woes.
If you have a knack for UI/UX design, then you can build your website from scratch and save up on costs. Several ecommerce solutions like Shopify also have customizable templates that you can take advantage of. The alternative is to hire a freelancer from a top marketplace like Upwork and Codeable to design your online store.
3. Focus on your Customers
Customers are the lifeblood of your business. They buy the products, refer you to others, and can even provide insights on improving your store’s functionality. Customers also want an experience with your services before purchase. As an online store, this isn’t possible. However, you can also make up for this deficiency in other areas.
From offering competitive prices to giving freebies like shipping, always focus on what the customers want and how to make their experience better.
3. Test Everything
Throughout your ecommerce business’ lifespan, you will have to do a lot of testing and analytics.
Think like your customer, and try to find what works on your site and what doesn’t. Find ways to work around your weaknesses and build on your strengths. A/B tests provide a great way to do this, as you can easily take iterations of your platform and see which will work better for you.
4. Offer Responsive Online Support
While every business person plans for a seamless customer experience, reality often differs. It could be a glitch with your payment processor, a delay with shipping, or something else. Whatever it is, when your customers come knocking and need someone to talk to, be available.
Thankfully, you have several tools to take advantage of in this regard. Use email support, social media, live chat, and more to your advantage. Provide channels for customers to get in touch with you and make sure to keep them updated on the progress of your resolution.
Reliable customer service also works for you in the long run. It shows that you’re serious about your customers and that they can count on you. In 2018, Microsoft Dynamics 365 reported that 95 percent of customers in a survey would stay loyal to a brand with great customer service.
5. Engage Social Media Advertising
Social media marketing is a necessity for businesses today. There were 3.725 billion social media users worldwide as of December 2019. Given that the total global population at the time was 7.8 billion, social media provided the best chances for companies to reach people.
Social media also influences peoples’ purchasing patterns. The Q3 2016 Sprout Social Index revealed that 75 percent of people who bought products made purchases after seeing the products on social media.
While the ecommerce space is currently witnessing tremendous growth, it’s not just enough to get up and start a store. You need the right business model to be profitable, and that includes selling products or services that customers are interested in.
If you’re planning to open an online store soon, you can incorporate several business ideas and sell products directly to your audience. Any of the ideas listed above will be great for you to start with.