Updated August 2018
Ecommerce, short for electronic commerce, businesses are taking over the internet, and with good reason: More and more people choose to shop online for convenience, the ability to compare prices, to find gifts for others discreetly, and more. In fact, 51% of Americans prefer to shop online rather than in stores, and great ecommerce ideas and websites can easily target those consumers.
Choosing your ecommerce niche can be challenging though, because you’ll compete against hundreds of thousands of ecommerce websites already on the internet. Many ecommerce business ideas are already in play, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t new commerce business ideas to come up with. You just may have to tweak what’s already there; to find them, scope out your competition and create an ecommerce business plan that has something new to bring to the table.
What is an Ecommerce Website?
In its simplest form, an ecommerce website is one that includes a shopping cart for customers to shop online, straight from the site. An ecommerce site, then, would also need to include some method of electronic payment, such as PayPal or the ability to input credit card information. You can also consider online banking and auction sites ecommerce then, because they use the process of electronic payments for goods or services.
How to Create Winning Ideas for Ecommerce Business
Rather than sticking to tried-and-true ecommerce business ideas, it’s best to find ones that will stand out. The best ecommerce business ideas generally grow from a niche that’s already popular, like clothing, but offer something unique that can bring in an even larger audience or a more targeted audience. The following tips can help you find great ecommerce ideas that will get your website some attention.
Focus on Your Passions
Focusing on your passions is as important for your ecommerce website as is learning about the desires of your audience. If you ignore your interests, you may quickly lose passion for your site and the products you sell. But, you must have enough other people interested in what you sell for you to have a successful ecommerce website. With the help of keyword research, you can learn if there are enough people searching for the types of products you’ll sell.
A tool, like Long Tail Pro, can help you determine if your ideas for ecommerce business can turn into a winning strategy. Search for the keywords of things you’ll consider selling, like “rocking chairs.” Find out how your products will work for profitability and how difficult they may be to rank in search engines, which can give you a peek into your competition. Keywords with low competition may not necessarily signal that fewer people are interested in searching for your niche and can be a good way to find targeted areas in which you can climb the ladder.
Scope Out Amazon
Amazon carries almost any type of product you can think of, so it’s also one of the first places you should start your research for new ecommerce business ideas. Begin by searching Amazon’s top lists of its most popular products. You can either search in general if you haven’t yet narrowed down your niche or more specifically in a category. Amazon Best Sellers and Movers and Shakers are two places you’ll want to search.
Best sellers are the most popular of Amazon’s products based on their overall sales. Movers and Shakers are products that have moved up the fastest in sales. Amazon updates both every 24 hours, so it’s in your best interest to browse them daily for at least a couple of weeks to spot trends in product popularity.
Once you discover popular types of products you want to target, you should study your favorites to come up with a unique angle. Those products have sold well because they offer something unique that consumers want. Find a way to tweak your ecommerce idea to make it new and exciting for your audience.
Use Search Engines and Social Media Searches
You can further narrow your business idea, unique angle, and keywords using web and social media search engines. Google is one of the most helpful search engines in that it provides you with long-tail keywords based on a shorter keyword you input in the search bar.
So, if you want an ecommerce website for boots, input “boots” into the search bar. You’ll see that Google pops up longer keywords that people search for with the word “boots” in them, like “boots for women,” “boots for men,” and “boots for toddlers.” Continue searching for some of your possible products to find what others currently want.
Social media searches work, too. Search hashtags related to your niche in Instagram and Twitter to find out how people are talking about, or photographing, the types of products you want to sell and who’s talking about them. Is there a lot of buzz about your desired niche on Facebook or Twitter? Search social media accounts, too, to learn more about your potential competition.
Learn What Others Need Help with and Target It
Frequent forums, message boards, and blogs within the niche you’re targeting to learn more about what type of products people want to see more of. A home decorating forum, for example, can give you plenty of insight into trendy color schemes, products that people love or dislike, and where people are commonly purchasing products from. Your research can show you competitors and will also help you come up with ideas for products that may work for your business.
Based on what people in your potential industry talk about, you may even find ways to tweak existing products to make them better. Browse your industry’s forums, blog reviews, and even blog comments to get an idea of what people need and want and what they think can be improved.
Not only can you use that information for your products and business idea, but you can also use it to shape your branding. Pinpoint the needs of others in your company’s branding and messaging. Do members of home decorating forums love the look of one company’s decorations but wish they were made with eco-friendly materials? Brand yourself as an eco-conscious home decorating business and be sure to get your message across in advertisements, newsletters, and other marketing materials.
Conclusion: Finding Ecommerce Business Ideas
Keyword research is one of the most important steps in planning out your ecommerce site, as it can help guide your business idea into something that’s relatable to others. You must remember that ecommerce is a competitive industry with huge names, like Amazon, eBay, and Zappos, taking the lead. To stand out from the pack, your long-tail keyword research using a tool, like Long Tail Pro, can give you an edge in search engines by arming you with keywords with little competition.