5 Online Business Ideas You Can Start From Home (Ecommerce)
Business and tech writer.
In the wake of the recent global Coronavirus pandemic, most of us have gone into self isolation to protect ourselves, our loved ones and others.
However this increased time we spend indoors is a good opportunity to work on building an online business that can financially support you if it succeeds.
What is Ecommerce?
Ecommerce, also known as electronic commerce or internet commerce,
refers to the buying and selling of goods or services using the
internet, as well as the exchange of money to complete these transactions.
Ecommerce is mostly used to describe the selling of physical or digital products online, however it actually describes any kind of commercial transaction that takes place online.
Ecommerce is rapidly growing retail market and these are a few of the reasons why:
The type of ecommerce we will be looking at in this story is selling online
, which you can do using an online store builder tool like Shopify
Whilst ecommerce is a fairly simple business to start, it is no magic bullet. It's a business that could take weeks, months or even years to become successful.
You should approach it with a long term mindset and focus on building customer trust, especially since most of your business will come from repeat customers. Repeat customers also spend more when shopping online.
Now lets look at the different types of onlne businesses you can start from home.
Here are 5 ecommerce business ideas you can start today from home.
Start an Online Store
See yourself as a good salesperson? Well sourcing and selling trending products online could be a good fit for you.
Not sure on what to sell? What are your interests? For example, if you like technology you could sell smartphone accessories like phone cases or chargers.
If you're into beauty you can sell wigs, makeup or beard oil, if you love pets you can sell pet clothing, toys and accessories.
Another great way to brainstorm ideas is looking at what people around you always need or are always buying.
Below are a few examples:
- Charging cables for Android/iPhones/USB-C - Every single day I am looking for a charger, either to charge my iPhone or my wireless headphones, theres multiple chargers in my house and I still have trouble findind one that hasn't been used.
- Portable chargers - Similar to the charging issue, everytime I go the gym there is somebody who needs a charger.
- Smartphone Grips - PopSockets are a good example, I'm always seeing people with adhesive grips attached to the back of their smartphones.
For product research you can use tools like Google Trends
to see what customers are interested in, for example you can type in "online store" or "online shop" then scroll down and look at the results to see what niches or shops pop up.
Look at the name of the stores, search them up on Google and see what they sell. Make a list of their top selling products, if they don't have a top selling products section, just list down as many products as you can.
Next go back to Google Trends and type in the products you listed to see how many people are searching for them.
In the example above you can see me researching grills from a website I found, you can always scroll down to see additional information about your trend searches.
Now you can see more refined information on the products you are researching as well as the popularity, as you can see the popularity is rated as "Breakout" which is the highest rating.
For more product research methods you can search the Amazon best sellers list, choose a catergory and make a list of the best selling products and run those through Google Trends too.
You can also check out a products Amazon Best Seller Rank (BSR) to give you an idea of how well the product is selling.
Products with higher BSR ranks make more sales per day, so an Amazon product with a BSR of 5,000 is selling more per day than a product with a BSR of 10,000.
This is due partly to 2 reasons:
- Successful products get ranked higher on the BSR so they have to be making a lot of sales to reach a high rank.
- Amazon's alogrithms reward sellers with successful products, pushing their products closer the first page of a search query. This in turn increases sales due to exposure, creating a snowball effect.
calculated the estimated number of sales per month for Amazon USA products in the Pet Supplies category, related to its Best Seller Rank (BSR).
Here are the results below:
- BSR 10,000 – 480 sales a month.
- BSR 5,000 – 900 sales a month.
- BSR 3,000 – 1,410 sales a month.
- BSR 2,000 – 1,920 sales a month.
- BSR 1,000 – 3,060 sales a month.
- BSR 500 – 4,560 sales a month.
- BSR 250 – 6,450 sales a month.
- BSR 100 – 9,450 sales a month.
- BSR 50 – 12,060 sales a month.
- BSR 25 – 14,820 sales a month.
- BSR 10 – 18,660 sales a month.
- BSR 5 – 21,600 sales a month.
- BSR 2 – 25,380 sales a month.
- BSR 1 – 28,140 sales a month.
You can use the above stats as a reference when checking the Best Seller Rank of a product on Amazon. Look for products with a BSR of at least 10,000, these are the products selling a few hundred units a month.
When you have a list of products you want to sell, you can find suppliers on Alibaba
. Always start your orders small with 100 - 500 pieces for cheaper goods and 20 - 100 pieces for expensive goods.
Sell Clothing or Merchandise
Clothing and merchandise are very a lucrative business idea in 2020, fitness clothing, summer dresses, shapewear, phone cases, bags and shoes are all popular products you can sell in.
You can sell clothing or merchandise online in 3 ways:
1. Hands-on method (Buy wholesale)
Buy clothing wholesale from Alibaba & AliExpress, sell via Shopify and market use Instagram influencers & Facebook ads.
This is essentially running an online store, buying the clothing or mechandise and reselling it for a profit.
2. Hands-off method 1 (Print-on-Demand)
Use a Print-on-Demand service like Printful
to link your store automatically to clothing and product manufacturers. You just need to provide a design for the printed goods, you don't have to buy any inventory.
The manufacturers hold all the inventory and once a customer places an order on your site, they print your design onto the product (a t-shirt for example) and ship it to the customer.
This is similiar to dropshipping since you are not storing any inventory, instead your manufacturer keeps stock, then prints and ships your products on a per order basis.
You can print designs onto t-shirts, hoodies, leggings, hats, bags, phone cases and many more.
3. Hands-off method 2 (Dropshipping)
Use the free Shopify dropshipping app Oberlo
to link your online store to a dropshipping supplier. Just like Print-on-Demand, with dropshipping your supplier stores the inventory for you and ships only once an order has been placed.
Why start a clothing line or sell mechandise?
- Put your creativity to use - If you know how to find or create good designs, this is a good way to create an income from your creativity.
- If you use the Print-on-Demand or Dropshipping method you don't need to buy or hold any inventory.
- Clothing is a very popular industry and there are so many niches you can choose from.
Start a Dropshipping Store
You can create an online store without having to hold any inventory. Thats right, with dropshipping you simply create an online store and link it to multiple dropshippings partners for free with Oberlo
. This Shopify app connects to thousands of dropshipping suppliers and you can even it's chrome extension to import products to your store from AliExpress.
Every time you get a sale, the supplier packs and ships your product direct to your customer under your companies details. Your customers never find out who the suppler is the whole time.
Since you don't have to physically handle or ship and inventory yourself, this is a great option for entreprenuers who want to work remotely or from home.
Popular dropshipping niches include:
- Health & Beauty
- Fitness Products
- Drones & Drone Accessories
- Mobile, Tablet & Smartphone Accessories
- Travel Accessories
- Home & Garden Products
- Diet & Weight Loss
Why start a dropshipping store?
- You don't need to purchase, manage or ship any inventory, this reduces your business costs drastically.
- You can easily add new products to your store with just a click using Oberlo.
- You can drophip thousands of products to customers across the world.
Sell Digital Products
It's not only physical products you can sell online. Digital products such as eBooks, workout guides, meal plans, themes, design assets, albums, courses etc. can all be sold on your online store.
The great thing about digital products is, you only have to create it once, then you can sell it as many times as you like. Since it is not a physical product you don't have to spend any money on getting new inventory.
Popular digital products you can sell online include:
- Meal Plans & Workout Guides
- UX/UI Kits
- Website Themes & Templates
- Virtual Goods (Game Skins etc.)
- Printables (Recipe books, calenders, business cards, workbooks)
- Applications & Plugins
- Graphics & Illustrations
Why sell digital products?
- Good cashflow - Since digital products are only made once, you save money since you don't have to buy new inventory. You just sell the same product over and over again.
- Very high profit margins - A digital product can be a PDF ebook or an online course and the profit margins are usually large for digital product sales.
- You can easily edit or change your product at any time.
Sell Handmade or Unique Goods
Selling handmade crafts is a good way to turn your hobby into a business that pays you. You could sell 3D Printed products, Raspberry Pi based gadgets, knitted goods, orgigami, hand stitched bags and clothing, custom made jewellry etc.
Another great thing about selling handmade goods is that there is usually a niche community already established around that particular product or craft.
Raspberry Pi accessories for example are very popular in the computer science community.
Popular handmade goods you can sell include:
- Bath Bombs
- Art & Paintings
- Combs & Hair Pins
- Chef Knives
- Greeting Cards
Why sell handmade or unique goods?
- You get to turn your hobby into a an income stream
- You can use local craft shows to build a following for your brand
- Since you make the goods yourself, you can easily make changes to your product line
There you go, 5 business ideas you can start at home. Hopefully this story has given enough inspiration to get started.
If you are currently self-isolating, let's make the most of this and take the first steps towards building a home-based business.
For those of you who are not self-isolating, if you have an idea for an online business, why not start now?
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