Guest Post

Written by Taran Soodan

March 8, 2021

It’s an exciting time to own an eCommerce business. With more customers than ever before making purchases online, eCommerce stores are seeing record growth. Even traditional brick and mortar retailers are transitioning to eCommerce websites as foot traffic declines. If you’re interested in becoming an eCommerce entrepreneur yourself but aren’t sure where to start, we got you covered.

In this post, we’ll go over some of the best eCommerce business ideas around and why you should sell these types of products.

Risks of starting an eCommerce business

Before we begin talking about what kinds of eCommerce businesses to start, we should note that eCommerce can be risky (as is starting a business in general). Here’s what to keep an eye out for as you consider becoming a small business owner.

No guaranteed success

This sounds generic, but we have to mention it. Even if you’re selling high-quality products or have a product idea that no other company can compete with, your store can fail. And starting an eCommerce business based on current trends can be risky. Remember how quickly the hype for fidget spinners died out?

Amazon is a giant

Amazon is one of the largest online marketplaces around. Buyers and sellers worldwide are ready to sell products and get them delivered within two days. If your product is successful on Amazon, you’ll have crazy growth.

Where’s the risk in working with Amazon? It’s been reported that Amazon creates in-house products using data from sellers. If your products are popular, there could be a chance Amazon will create their version of your product and sell it at a lower cost than your products.

Lots of increasing competition

There are a lot of potential business ideas to work with. The issue is that there’s a lot of competition. Many eCommerce businesses can be categorized into a few dozen niches, so you must stand out. Are you selling food online? Consider what types of food you sell to differentiate yourself from the competition. If customers like your food enough, you can upsell them with subscription boxes, so they’re more likely to stick around.

The best eCommerce business ideas

There are dozens of niches your eCommerce business could focus on. Here are some of the best eCommerce businesses you can start today.

CBD products

As CBD becomes increasingly legal throughout the world, eCommerce businesses are popping up to sell them online. From CBD gummies, oils, pet food, and more, CBD is an exciting opportunity. While you may be limited to where you can sell as you start this business, it’s expected that the market will expand over time.

Snacks & other foods

Snacking will always be a mainstay for many people. You could start a business that sells snacks based on specific diets (keto, paleo, sugar-free, etc.) or you can provide a unique spin on traditional snacks. The sky’s the limit with the types of snacks you decide to sell.

You could start an online grocery store too, but that tends to be much more time-consuming and isn’t the most profitable eCommerce business idea around.

Jewelry

Jewelry will always be a popular business idea. People love to accessorize, and jewelry is a great way to show off. Just note that the type of jewelry you sell is essential. If you’re selling handcrafted jewelry that you create, you should sell your products on Etsy. If you’re selling mass-produced jewelry, then any eCommerce platform or site works for you.

Niche fashion

The best part about the internet is you can almost find everything you’re looking for with a simple Google search. People are unique, and their taste in fashion doesn’t always conform to current trends. With a niche fashion business, you can focus on selling products relevant to what your audience wants. Chances are there’s a market for people who want to wear matching clothes with their dogs, so build that fashion website if you see there’s a market for it.

Pet food & products

Pet owners spent a record $99 billion on their pets in 2020. Just like with babies, people are willing to pay to take care of their pets. And the types of pet products you can sell are endless.

Baby products

Taking care of a baby is hard work, and parents are willing to do what’s right for their child. Plus, they’d love to make it easy to raise their kids. You could sell baby products that focus on specific aspects of taking care of a child. Some ideas include:

  • Gluten-free baby food
  • Baby-sized t-shirts with funny slogans
  • Internet-connected baby monitors with cameras to keep an eye on the baby at all times
  • Baby rompers and diapers made from environmentally-friendly materials

Toys

While more kids are starting to get smartphones at an earlier age, toys will always be timeless. You can sell toys that cater to specific niches and market them accordingly.

Smart home products

You can download mobile apps to manage your home from your phone or smartwatch. How cool is that? These devices can be used to manage your A/C, blinds, appliances, laundry machines, refrigerators, and much more. As more technically-savvy generations become homeowners, they’re likely to purchase these products from your online shop to make managing their home more manageable.

B2B products

The eCommerce industry isn’t limited to B2C products. B2B businesses are just as willing to make purchases online. While it may not be as exciting to sell office supplies compared to CBD gummies, the profits and opportunities are limitless.

Affiliate marketing

This isn’t technically an eCommerce business, but it’s still relevant. Instead of selling products yourself, you can become an affiliate to sell products on platforms and YouTube channels owned by you. For example, if you’re a fitness blogger, you can link to nutritional supplements in your blog posts to get credited for purchases. 

This is done by joining the supplement company’s affiliate program. If you’re a master of search engine optimization (SEO), affiliate marketing can be a great way to build an eCommerce business without carrying inventory.

Top strategies to grow your eCommerce business

These eCommerce business ideas aren’t ranked in order of importance, ingenuity, or pure genius. Now that our disclaimer is out of the way let’s talk about the pure fun these first two companies have created in their chat experiences.

Top-notch engagement

Grove and Dollar Shave Club have pushed the old stale chatbot experience out to the curb.

Grove gives an engaging popup of frequently asked questions to the customer that have become more popular recently. Leading with the FAQs helps to streamline the customer service experience. It puts the customer in control right away and minimizes the trouble-shooting time customer service reps must expend.

grove campaign

Then you have Dollar Shave Club, a successful business with a fantastic eCommerce site that is perfectly on-brand for their business. They were one of the first eCommerce businesses selling a monthly subscription for razors and shaving accessories. That’s pretty impressive. Then, their customer service efforts kicked it up a notch by offering chatbots that offer personalized recommendations for their target audience.

internet business ideas

If the personalized recommendations fail to engage you or meet your needs, then you can go straight into a chat with a representative. What’s so great about how Dollar Shave Club offers recommendations? Well, that it’s on-brand for them. They have made their vibe all about being laid back and conversational. Applying that into their messaging marketing experience is second nature.

Personalized chatbots

The secret of successful marketing is out: Customers want to be seen, heard, and understood. Making that happen through branding, customer service, and ongoing marketing campaigns is essential. But when you’re starting an online store, you can go a step further by having chatbots that allow customers to have a completely personalized experience.

Duolingo, an app that helps users learn the language of their choice, personalizes the customer experience by “assigning” a chatbot to each student. The chatbot is simulated to be a native speaker of the language that the student is learning. That chatbot is also available 24/7 to be a “conversational” partner to the student. The student’s experience is completely personalized to the language they are learning, their progress so far, and their ultimate goal. For example, the chatbot will only use introductory or beginner-level language with the student if they are just starting.

Proactive chat

This method of message marketing meets the customer where they are and engages them right away. This is the online equivalent to someone greeting you when you walk into your favorite store. Sure, you may just be there to browse during your lunch break, but you’ll leave remembering that the shop employees were kind and eager to be of service.

Having a proactive popup chat box makes a company’s online store warmer and more inviting. Many people may land on your eCommerce site for a quick browse or price check, but the instant engagement increases the likelihood of coming back or making a purchase.

startup business ideas

Your proactive chatbot strategy doesn’t have to make a sales pitch right away. They actually shouldn’t. It can be overwhelming for customers to be bombarded with a sales pitch as soon as they land on your page. The focus of the chat box in the example above is to engage customers with a question.

This opens the door for the customer to assess their needs and inquire about any niche products or services your online business may be selling. We love the opportunities this type of messaging can create for entrepreneurs who are just starting an online store. Having something like a free download for the customer to access is one of the best online business ideas since it engages the customer and gives them something to remember your company by.

Timed promotions

This messaging popup is genius for an online business model. It takes on some major social psychology and implements that into a marketing context. If you’ve ever been shopping in a store and passed on the pair of shoes only to go back later in the week to see that they’re gone, then this marketing technique was built on this exact scenario. We all have FOMO (fear of missing out), which translates into eCommerce businesses.

Businesses display popup timers that say something along the lines of, “Hurry now! Only three days and 16 minutes left to take advantage of the July 4th Sale!” This puts a spark under people that have been browsing but haven’t committed to a purchase.

These popup countdowns are ideal for and widely used by entrepreneurs with online courses, sales on services, or some form of exclusive enrollment. The pop-up may read, “12 hours left to enroll in my exclusive virtual assistance program!” Companies count on these popups to elicit a sense of urgency. For all of us that fall into the FOMO category, it works!

Up your game

If you’re wondering how you take your online business to new heights, it could be as simple as sitting down with your team and taking a look at these various areas of your eCommerce business model:

  • Social media marketing – Is it easy for shoppers to be directed to product pages from your social media platform? Are you utilizing chat as well as you could be? Do you have a way to capture subscribers to nurture them later on? Take a look at your social media page and see if there are critical areas of opportunity to capture visitors and convert them to customers. Consider the platforms you’re using to reach your audience. Are you using Facebook ads when you should be using Twitter instead?
  • Your website – Your customers will have question. Is there enough information to answer them? Are you offering a way to assist them? Put yourself in their shoes and figure out how you could be more helpful in the buying journey.
  • Your opt-in – You’ll want to capture your online site visitors’ emails so you can nurture them via your email marketing campaigns. Do you have an opt-in? Are you offering an incentive? Maybe you could employ an A/B test?
  • Email marketing – These could always use improvement as you take the time to dissect what works and what doesn’t. Take a look at open and click-through rates to find areas of improvement for your business model or to diagnose any issues.
  • Customer experience – In most cases, your eCommerce business model will revolve around the various tactics you’re taking to enhance the customer experience. Take an in-depth look at your customer journey’s various facets and let the ideas flow to build a profitable online store.

Key takeaways

You’ve seen many online business ideas today aimed at enhancing the experience your customers have with your eCommerce. Use these eCommerce trends as a springboard for your own eCommerce business ideas.

  • Pre-plan what questions or pushbacks your customers might have about your trending products. Write solid answers and sprinkle them in various touchpoints, such as in your ManyChat flows or in your FAQs. Think about where else this information could be of use.
  • Look for new ways to create more personal experiences with your customers. Are you using merge fields in your flows and emails? Could your chatbots have a little more intel? Are you tagging customers and tailoring your communication around those market segments? Look at each area of messaging and see how you can make it more personalized to your target audience.
  • Just because you’re an eCommerce business doesn’t mean there aren’t opportunities for you to assist your customers. Use chat boxes, chat bubbles, and other site features to make contact with customers while they’re shopping and be available during their journey.
  • That age-old fear of missing out is a useful tool when it comes to the eCommerce market. Having a timer pop-up can spark a little FOMO that helps encourage buying action among your customers. Use this motivation as an accessory to a promotion to drive sales—just be sure to use this strategy sparingly.

Don’t forget to stick to a robust business model, think of clever ways to reach your audiences, such as Facebook and Instagram, and build customized chatbots to turn yourself into a profitable eCommerce site.

Ready to start growing your eCommerce business? Check out ManyChat today to see how our tools can help kickstart your eCommerce business’s growth.

The contents of this blog were independently prepared and are for informational purposes only. The opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ManyChat or any other party. Individual results may vary.