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Home / Blog / Best Ecommerce Platforms / How to Start an Ecommerce Business How to Start an Ecommerce Business: The Complete Guide for 2023
What Do I Need To Start An Ecommerce Business
We go through the entire step-by-step process to start an e-commerce business and make everything as easy as possible.
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This guide you are reading will teach you everything you need to know about starting an ecommerce business, but in case you need more resources:
People sell a wide variety of things online and do so in a wide variety of places and markets.
And best of all, the numbers are only going up. There are an estimated 2.05(!) billion digital shoppers in the world in 2020. Honestly, everyone and their dogs are shopping online these days! 
But! That doesn’t mean you can run and not think about what you want to sell and who you want to sell it to.
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And “about” is the key word here. We’ll do more research on your potential products later, but for now, let’s talk in general terms:
The great thing about modern e-commerce technology is that you can effectively sell any or even all of them at once.
But that is not all; In addition to what is in your proposal, you also need to decide how you will implement it.
This is where the products you sell are conveniently located in a warehouse you manage. You are also responsible for delivering products to customers.
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Here the manufacturer manages the fulfillment process from start to finish (all you tell them is information about the customer and the product to be shipped). This is a great model for print-on-demand items like t-shirts.
In some cases, starting a dropshipping store may not be possible, especially if you plan to sell products manufactured by you or if there are no dropshipping suppliers in the location.
The difference between this and dropshipping is that in this model you still have to receive or produce the products, but then you ship them to the fulfillment house and they handle the final delivery.
That way, even if you’re still responsible for producing the items you sell, you don’t have to worry about the hassle of shipping them.
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The above may seem like a lot of thinking when you’re just figuring out how to start an ecommerce business and struggling with your initial ideas. But at this stage, you don’t need to do much. Just jot down your preferences and then use those notes as a reference when making future decisions.
The next step is to find people who will buy from you, so let’s find a niche:
Or, in other words, a niche is a specific group of target customers who are willing to buy what you’re selling.
This brings us to the most common mistake people make when starting an e-commerce business from scratch: they think they’ve found an untapped niche.
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If you cannot test a promising position with research, you should not risk entering it and expect good returns.
You probably have a general idea of the market you want to enter and what you want to sell – very few people start an e-commerce business from scratch.
Fortunately, in 2023, we have some state-of-the-art e-commerce tools to make research easier.
The first tool I recommend is called KWFinder. It’s a keyword research tool, meaning that if you provide it with a source term or keyword, it will suggest related keywords and show you how often each of those related keywords is searched for.
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KWFinder is a paid tool, but it offers a 10-day free trial, which should be more than enough to complete your research.
What you see on the left is the original keyword, as well as a list of related keywords. There are also some popularity metrics next to each keyword. On the right, KWFinder shows what the top 10 looks like on Google for the currently selected keyword.
What you can do now is look at the list of suggested keywords and dig deeper into your research. For example, in my list of keywords related to “bedding”, I have the keyword “decorative bed”. It has 4,900 searches per month, which is a good start. I can click that to make it my new starting keyword and search again.
If I want to, I can repeat this process several times until I come across a term that looks appealing and looks like something I could turn into an e-commerce business. But for the purposes of this guide, I’ll stick with the “designer bed.”
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KWFinder shows me the top 10 sites for that keyword. I can click on any of them to see what those sites look like. Lucky for me, the top five are e-commerce sites that sell designer bedding.
The natural reflex would be to be put off by the fact that there are already so many stores that offer designer bedding, and therefore it doesn’t fall into place. However, that would be a bad call. The very presence of competition is a great sign and reassures me that there are indeed people interested in buying designer bedding.
If I were a person interested in getting into the bedding market, I might make designer bedding my main niche.
You can follow the same process and find your own niche by narrowing down your initial keyword and drilling down into related niches.
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Once you find a niche that other businesses have that looks like something that could work for you, move on to the next step in your research.
So far, we’ve covered how to find your niche and get a general idea of what to sell. Now let’s narrow down the list of specific products you can offer based on their sales potential in this niche.
The key to all of this is understanding your customers, their needs and wants. In other words, you want to know what makes your customers buy and what things they are most likely to buy.
As I mentioned earlier, the very presence of competition is a great sign for new e-commerce ventures, contrary to what many people may think.
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Now you should find out who these competitors are and what you can learn from them.
All of this may seem strange at first, so I should probably clarify one thing. The goal here is not to keep up with your competitors and do exactly what they are doing. Instead, you’ll benefit from the work they’ve done to build their business and try to incorporate some of their best practices into your business.
The best way to identify your competitors, if you don’t already know them, is to go back to your keyword research (using KWFinder).
When you searched for your niche keywords, you probably found some of the top brands. Go back to those sites and see what they are up to.
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In the example I used – designer beds – these sites rank well: Bloomingdale’s, Horchow, Macy’s, Ethan Allen, Crane and Canopy, Frontgate. Sure, some of them are pretty big, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing in the exploration phase.
You can also get a similar list of competitors in your niche. What you need to do now is approach each of the participants and write down what I have listed above.
Here are some additional tools you can use to get a good idea of your competitors’ websites:
Each of these tools will return a report of your competitor’s website with things like top keywords, top content, social media metrics, top pages, audience demographics, top selling products, and more.
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SiteProfiler even gives you a list of the main competitors of the site you are looking for. This is another way to find more websites and companies in your niche.
The next step in your research will be to determine what sells best in a given niche and consider offering similar products (or services).
Again, don’t misunderstand. It’s not about copying your competitors and trying to beat them at their own game. It’s about understanding what’s happening in the niche and what products your customers like. That way, you come up with product ideas that are sure to resonate with your customer base.
To get started, revisit your competitors’ websites and look at their best-selling product lists (most online retailers have them).
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Additionally, you can use Ubersuggest and SiteProfiler to discover your competitors’ most popular pages, which often turn into best-selling products.
Another tool you can use is KWFinder, which we used for our keyword research, but this time enter a competitor’s domain name to start your search.
You will see a list of the keywords they are ranking for. Very often, these keywords will lead you to their best selling products.