18 Best Ecommerce Startup Ideas

Online shopping with laptop.

With more people than ever taking to the internet to buy products, the ecommerce industry has grown exponentially. Ecommerce is the act of buying and selling goods online. If you’re looking for an ecommerce startup idea that is lucrative, innovative, and unique, you’re in luck! We’ve created this list of the best ecommerce startup ideas to help digital entrepreneurs like yourself launch their company.

Ecommerce Business Startup Ideas

1. Marketplace Website

Many makers, artisans, and small businesses are in need of a platform to reach customers and sell products. A marketplace website provides a space for sellers to advertise their goods and customers to search a database of various sellers to find the products they are searching for.

With several online marketplaces available to consumers, you need to make yours stand out. Consider advertising your platform to a niche market such as collectors or vintage boutiques.

Recommended: Check out our full list of online startup ideas.

2. Handcrafted Products

Handmade, artisanal goods never go out of style. Selling handcrafted products offers you the flexibility of selling your goods online, in established retailers, or at local markets. The first step involves determining the product(s) you’ll make. This could include food products, pet toys, wooden furniture, or other items. To successfully sell handcrafted products, remember to focus on product quality and cater to the right niche market.

3. Chatbots

Chatbot development startups provide a service to businesses looking to install a digital point of contact for customers navigating their site. Chatbots can save businesses money in labor by allowing these helpful bots to answer questions and direct customers towards products or services they are searching for. With this industry growing rapidly, it’s important that your startup stands out. Do this by offering an effective, top-tier product and special features such as a unique take on the chat window.

Recommended: Check out our full list of tech startup ideas.

4. Clothing Line

Starting your own clothing line involves designing items, choosing textiles, and then manufacturing a collection of apparel. You can opt to sell your designs in retail stores or online via your own website.

If you want a career in fashion, this provides a great place to start. But, you may want to work with a seamstress or experienced fashion designer to develop your designs before you start the manufacturing process.

To set your clothing line apart and reduce costs, consider using deadstock or recycled fabric. This will not only make your business more sustainable but also can attract customers seeking unique fabrics and a greener business model.

5. Local Online Marketplace

A local online marketplace provides a platform for community members to buy and sell items. This could be a space for local makers to sell their products or resell items such as housewares, clothing, or other used goods. The benefit of this type of startup is that it provides a safer alternative to online classified websites as well as the opportunity to support their neighbors and local businesses from the comfort of their own homes.

6. Ecommerce Software

Every ecommerce business needs software to conduct business effectively. Ecommerce software makes it possible for other online businesses to process payments and accept orders virtually. For tech-centric entrepreneurs, an ecommerce software startup offers the best of both the tech and ecommerce industries. When developing your software, be sure to prioritize security and user-friendliness to provide the best possible experience for your customers.

Need more inspiration? Check out our list of the top ecommerce startups to watch.

7. Jewelry Startup

Whether you’re making and designing your own jewelry or you choose to create a platform to sell a curated selection of jeweler’s pieces, a jewelry startup is easily operated online. Additionally, if you’re not quite ready to launch a website of your own, selling jewelry on platforms such as Etsy is a great alternative.

Remember, you will need to appeal to customers by developing a competitive edge that makes your jewelry unique. Using unique materials or offering a unique incentive to customers who patron your startup are just a few ways you can stand out.

8. Ethical Online Marketplace

With more people at home than ever, the convenience of shopping online has grown in popularity. However, this doesn’t mean that the marketplaces available are providing products that are ethically sourced, made, or sold. That’s where you come in! An online ethical marketplace provides a platform for ethically made goods to be found and purchased by interested consumers.

Recommended: Check out our full list of startup ideas for social entrepreneurs.

9. Dropshipping

If you like the idea of an ecommerce startup but don’t have the space to commit to storing products, dropshipping could be the perfect side hustle startup idea for you. Dropshipping startups simply take customer’s orders online, but instead of filling orders themselves, they are sent to a third-party retailer for fulfillment. Save yourself the hassle of inventory management and high overhead costs; this startup consists only of customer experience management, marketing, and curating items.

10. Online Resale Business

Selling vintage or second-hand goods extends the life cycle of items, making this a great ecommerce startup idea for entrepreneurs who prioritize sustainability and love fashion. The most substantial time commitment you will have with this type of business is sourcing the clothing or goods you can sell by visiting local thrift stores, flea markets, or estate sales.

There are several ways to start an online vintage business, the first being launching your own website and dedicating a bit of your time and resources to marketing. Second, you can choose to utilize an existing platform such as Depop, Etsy, or Poshmark to make it easier for customers to find your shop — though you will be required to pay fees to the site.

11. Mobile Shopping App

As ecommerce businesses and online shopping become increasingly popular, the demand for mobile shopping apps has grown concurrently. Mobile shopping apps put customer’s favorite stores within arms reach, optimizing the shopping experience and making it easier than ever for consumers to obtain the products they need.

Moreover, an app on a customer’s phone with your business logo front and center keeps your brand in the customer’s mind consistently. To incentivize consumers to use your app, consider offering perks for shopping through an app rather than a website, such as free shipping, exclusive promotions, or a rewards system.

12. Green Beauty Products

Green beauty products (or “clean” beauty products) are increasing in popularity across the US as we learn more and more about the harmful effects of some ingredients in traditional beauty products. A green beauty product startup provides a better alternative. Whether it’s clean skincare or clean cosmetics — the key is to create a product that is as effective as traditional products without the same damaging ingredients.

Recommended: Check out our full list of startup ideas for green entrepreneurs.

13. Online Courses

You probably know the saying that knowledge is power, so it cannot be stressed enough how important it is to have access to a good education. Sharing knowledge through online courses makes education more accessible and provides a service for people who are interested in learning the skills you have to teach them.

Recommended: Check out our full list of startup Ideas for education entrepreneurs.

14. Fulfillment Startup

Businesses of all sizes can often use assistance completing a hefty amount of orders. A fulfillment startup obtains, packages, and ships orders for businesses — acting as a third-party provider to get online orders to customers quickly. Moreover, a fulfillment center helps ecommerce businesses operate without the need for a warehouse or storage facility.

15. AI Ecommerce Tool

Customer experience is crucial to the success of any business. In the ecommerce world, artificial intelligence (AI) can be a helpful tool in promoting a user-friendly shopping experience by keeping track of previous purchases by customers, their payment and shipping information, as well as their search history on the site. Not only does improving the online shopping experience benefit customers, but it can also boost sales for businesses using the AI ecommerce tool.

An AI ecommerce tool startup has a better chance at success if it prioritizes security and user experience as well as adapts easily to work in tandem with several point-of-sale (POS) systems.

16. Subscription Box

subscription box startup can contain a variety of goods such as food items, clothing, or pet toys. Subscription boxes provide an exciting way for customers to experience new products they may not have otherwise tried while simultaneously providing you with a loyal customer base and an effective way to forecast inventory needs.

17. Ebook Writing

Build your readership or expand a business by writing ebooks. Ebooks are an emerging market for aspiring authors looking to draw in more readers and diversify their market strategies. With more and more people staying home, the market for easily downloadable ebooks is stronger than ever. If you’ve got a knack for writing, an ebook startup is a great way to share your stories without the cost of going to print. Not to mention, it is super work-from-home friendly.

18. Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing entails promoting a product or business online to earn a commission through sales made as a result of your promotion. To make a substantial profit from affiliate marketing or acting as an “affiliate” of brands, you will most likely need a strong social media presence, a well-crafted brand, and your viewership’s trust in order to successfully promote products and brands you’re partnered with.

To get started, establish your brand and identify businesses that align with your brand and followers’ interests. Reach out to businesses to establish a partnership keeping in mind your preferred commission as well as the value your promotion carries for the business.