What Is eCommerce? The Ultimate Guide To Starting an Online Business

In the digital age, it’s never been easier to start your own business. 

Thanks to eCommerce, you don’t even need to set up a physical shop to sell your products. 

With the help of a virtual marketplace like eBay or Etsy and the best eCommerce platforms out there, you can sell your goods directly to customers all over the world from the comfort of your home. 

eCommerce, also known as electronic commerce or cybercommerce, refers to business activities that involve selling goods and services online. 

eCommerce has become an important part of the global economy – in fact, eCommerce sales are expected to reach almost $6 trillion in 2024! 

In this blog post, we’ll explore what eCommerce is and why it’s so popular right now. 

We’ll also take a look at the pros and cons of owning an eCommerce store so that you can get inspired if you’re thinking about starting your own eCommerce venture.

Why Is eCommerce so Popular?

There are lots of reasons why eCommerce is growing so quickly. 

The most obvious one is that it enables you to sell your goods and services to customers that are physically located anywhere in the world. 

In other words, eCommerce websites like Amazon and eBay are bringing the world closer together by giving consumers access to goods and services that might not otherwise be available to them. 

You can sell just about anything online – from fresh blueberries to high-end sports cars. If you’re starting a niche business, you’re less likely to compete with established brands for the attention of potential customers. 

In fact, there are lots of niches that have yet to be exploited – if you’re willing to do some research and find a need that’s not being fulfilled, you can often create a new business from scratch with the best eCommerce platforms available.

The Rise of eCommerce Platforms

As eCommerce has become more popular, there have been a number of platforms created to help people set up online stores. 

These platforms enable you to build and manage an eCommerce website without needing to know how to code. 

Thanks to these platforms, more people have been able to start their own eCommerce businesses, which has contributed to the rise in eCommerce as a whole.

The most commonly considered best eCommerce platforms are Shopify, Weebly, Wix, and Squarespace. 

Each of these platforms has its own strengths and weaknesses, but they’re all relatively easy to use. Choosing the best eCommerce platform that suits your needs can work wonders.

If you don’t have any experience with eCommerce, building a store on one of these platforms can be a great first step.

How Much Does an eCommerce Website Cost?

If you have a small budget and don’t want to invest in an expensive website, then a website like Etsy or eBay is a great place to start. 

However, if you want to build a professional-looking and -feeling website, you should expect to spend a few thousand dollars. 

If you’re planning to design and build a custom website, you should plan on a larger investment. As a rule of thumb, you should expect to spend at least $10,000 to create a decent eCommerce website.

Fortunately, there are a few low-cost ways to get started with eCommerce. For example, you can use a free website builder like Weebly and add an eCommerce plugin like Shopify for a one-time fee. 

Alternatively, you can buy a domain name and a hosted email address for a few dollars per month.

Why do People Start eCommerce Businesses?

There are lots of reasons why someone might want to start an eCommerce business, but the most common ones are the low barrier to entry and the potential for high growth. 

If you’re thinking about starting an eCommerce business, you should consider the following points:

  • eCommerce is accessible to people of all backgrounds and skill sets. 

You don’t need special education or lots of capital to start an eCommerce business – you just need a good idea and the willingness to work hard.

1. eCommerce businesses have high growth potential. 

When you start an eCommerce business, you can easily scale your operation by hiring more workers or renting more space.

2. eCommerce businesses come with few barriers to entry. 

If you have a product or service that people want to buy, there’s a good chance you can sell it online.

  • eCommerce businesses are low-risk and low-maintenance. 

Once you get your business up and running, you’ll spend most of your time marketing it and finding new customers.

1. eCommerce businesses can generate passive income. 

If you execute your marketing strategies correctly, you can earn a steady stream of income from your online store even when you’re not working.

Pros of an eCommerce Business

As we’ve seen, there are a lot of reasons to start an eCommerce business. 

  • eCommerce businesses are low-risk: Once you get your store up and running, there’s little risk of losing money – you just need to make sure you maintain a good customer experience.
  • eCommerce businesses are low-maintenance: Once you find a profitable niche, you can easily automate your business and earn money while you’re away.
  • eCommerce businesses generate passive income: If you automate your store correctly, you can earn consistent revenue even when you’re not actively working.
  • eCommerce businesses generate recurring revenue: Once you find a profitable niche and set up your store correctly, you can earn money from customers who shop with you again and again.
  • eCommerce businesses are scalable: Once you find a profitable niche and set up your store correctly, you can easily expand your operation by hiring more workers or renting more space.
  • eCommerce businesses offer the opportunity to diversify your assets: Once you set up your store correctly and find an audience, you can easily expand your operation to meet growing demand. Also, if you invest wisely, you can protect your store from a sudden drop in revenue.

Cons of an eCommerce Business

There are lots of benefits to starting an eCommerce business, but there are also a few potential drawbacks.

  • eCommerce businesses require a large upfront investment. If you want to create a profitable eCommerce store, you’ll need to spend a significant amount of money on your inventory.
  • eCommerce businesses take time to generate revenue. You can’t expect to make money from your store overnight – it will take time to find an audience and generate consistent sales.
  • eCommerce businesses take time to scale. Once you launch your store, you’ll need to manually manage each transaction. While this is great for keeping your costs low, it also means you can’t easily scale your operation.
  • eCommerce businesses require strong marketing skills. If you want to generate a steady flow of sales from your online store, you’ll need to invest in marketing. If you don’t have experience with digital marketing, this can be a challenging task.
  • eCommerce businesses are dependent on technology. If your website goes offline, you can’t generate any new sales. 
  • eCommerce businesses require a significant amount of work. If you start an eCommerce business, you’ll need to spend a lot of time building it from the ground up.

Final Words

Overall, eCommerce is a great way to earn a steady income from your passion. 

If you have a product or service that people want to buy, it’s relatively easy to sell it online. All you need to do is find the best eCommerce platform or suitable marketplace and create a professional-looking online store.

There are many ways you can benefit from eCommerce. With the help of a virtual marketplace like eBay or Etsy, you can sell your goods directly to customers all over the world from the comfort of your home.