Ecommerce Business Blueprint: A Comprehensive Guide

March 5, 2022

In the past decade, E-commerce has become quite popular. Thanks to technology, e-commerce was a risky business idea to threatening traditional brick-and-mortar stores. According to Statista, e-commerce will make up almost one-fifth of total retail sales by 2025, 24.5% of the total retail sales. 



This is a good time as any to start an e-commerce business. It is a growing industry, which is future-proof. If you want to be a successful entrepreneur, an e-commerce business is the best way to go. But how does e-commerce work? We have put together this guide to help you begin your e-commerce business. 

Why should you start selling online?

There are plenty of reasons you should begin selling online:

Fast-Growing Industry

There are 2 billion digital buyers globally, with e-commerce sales accounting for 14.1% of retail sales worldwide. 

Despite the current economic climate, this number will grow steadily and will reach 22% in 2023. E-commerce is a fast-growing industry with a lot of scopes. 

Easy to Set Up

Ecommerce stores are easy to set up. While setting up brick and mortar stores can be time-taking, e-commerce stores are easier to open. Setting up an e-commerce store is just as easy as having a website. 

Platforms such as Shopify, BigCommerce, and Squarespace make this possible. They host your e-commerce store, handle all PCI compliance issues, and do all of the hard work for you. Marketplaces like Amazon and eBay are also a great way to sell your products online.

Low Investment

In the past, traditional retail was more expensive than online retail. With a storefront, inventory, and employees, you had to make a significant investment before you even sold your first product. 

But now, with e-commerce, many of these costs have been eliminated. You can start small and build your way up. You can add new features to your website to increase sales as you grow.

Better Customer insights

You should sell online because you get better customer insights. Online selling gives you the ability to collect, measure, and act on customer data. 

If you want a hyper-focused experience, you must own your consumer data. Online selling lets you track customer interactions to get actionable insights. This allows you to improve the customer experience constantly. 

How Much is The Cost of Starting an eCommerce Business?

To start an e-commerce business, you need to have a website. That’s the first step in your process. If you have enough IT skills, you can do it yourself. 

But if you don’t want to create your own e-commerce store or just don’t have the time for it, you can always order one.

The best thing about this is that some platforms offer a one-time payment for e-commerce website creation. This means that such stores will cost you anywhere from around $30 to $3,000 or more. 

Others withdraw a significant amount of money from you permanently. Moreover, some of them charge interest. You can launch an e-commerce store with little to no money as well. 

Ecommerce Business Blueprint: How to Build it from Scratch

Starting your own e-commerce shop can be challenging, especially if you're a beginner. You can even begin with zero costs. But there's a catch to everything. 

It's not an easy job to set up an online store, upload products, maintain them, market them and make sure they are shipped on time. In addition, you need to provide quality customer service and support. 

It can all be very complicated. But do not worry; we are here to help you through the process. The following steps will help you to build your e-commerce business from scratch. 

Choosing a profitable niche/ product

What product will you sell? You have to decide what to sell, and it's not always an easy task. It can also be hard to determine what to sell if you don't have a passion or a great product idea. There are many ways to go about choosing a product. 

  • Sell what's trending. 
    Exciting changes to consumer trends are happening all around us, and Covid-19 has caused some of the most significant shifts. For example, face masks have gone from niche to mainstream. They are still popular and are worn by many people. Another example is athleisure because everyone wears tracksuits to Zoom meetings, making them a massive trend.
  • Sell something you know.
    You can sell your products online. Do you know how to make digital products? You could sell those. Can you make jewelry? That could be a fantastic business idea.
  • Fill a market gap
    Rather than selling what’s trending, you can sell something new in the market. What is a product that the audience needs but doesn’t get? Figure out the solution, and start selling it. 

You want to start an e-commerce business, but you don’t know where to start. You must first choose a niche and thoroughly research it — this will tie in well with your interests. 

Do not let available technology and resources force you to adapt to what they can do. Do not be sucked into the saturated markets. Choose a niche you are passionate about, even if it's different. 

Choosing Your Business Model


After you have figured out what you want to sell, you need to choose a business model. It is a plan of how your business will work. 

To begin, you must define your business model. Who is your target customer? Do you want to sell to other companies, consumers, or both? Think about your business goals. You might want to create a business that sells to customers directly or through partners.

There are various types of e-commerce business models. We have mentioned the significant types of e-commerce business models below:

  • B2B business model:
    B2B stands for business-to-business.B2B businesses provide products and services to other companies. This niche's primary e-commerce business models are service providers, software companies, office supply companies, and document hosting providers.
  • B2C business model: 
    B2C is the most common model of e-commerce. It’s a multibillion-dollar industry, which is most visible online. Business to consumer (B2C) is the standard online shopping experience, where brands sell directly to the consumer.
  • C2C business model:
    The rise of e-commerce has led to many more consumer-to-consumer (C2C) websites. These sites allow users to sell and trade items, often getting a small cut of the profits. C2C websites are not as common as other e-commerce sites, but they are still popular. 
  • C2B Business model: 
    Most people don't think of this, but it's growing prevalent. C2B is when the consumer sells goods and services to businesses and is roughly equivalent to a sole proprietorship serving a more prominent company.
    Reverse auctions, sites like UpWork, and monetization strategies like affiliate marketing or Google AdSense are all examples of C2B.

When it comes to inventory management and sourcing products, you have two options. Some people like the idea of making their own products in their garage, but others hate the idea of their garage full of boxes. 

So, there are different types of e-commerce business models based on inventory management and revenue generation- 

  • Dropshipping: 
    The most basic form of e-commerce is dropshipping. It works like this: You set up a storefront, take the customer’s payment through credit cards or PayPal, and then leave the rest to your supplier.
    You don’t have to deal with packaging, shipping, or inventory management. Many dropshippers use Shopify and Oberlo. It’s easy and quick to set up.
  • Wholesaling: 
    Warehousing, wholesaling, and e-commerce businesses require a lot of investment. The business needs to manage inventory and stock, keep track of customer orders and shipping information, and invest in the warehouse space.
  • Private labeling:
    Do you want to start a business with a great idea, but you don’t have the money to build a factory? If so, this might be a suitable business model for you. You will sell your idea directly to consumers, but another company will manufacture your product.
    They will make your product to your specifications and ship it directly to the consumer, or they will send it to a third party such as Amazon. 
  • White labeling:
    A similar concept is white labeling. You choose an already successful product and have the company you’re working with customizing its branding for your needs.
    For example, you pick a beauty product selling well and then have the manufacturer change its label and packaging.  

Choose whatever business model works for you. Remember, choose a convenient business model for you, not what everyone else is doing.

Market research & preparation

While the path to success may not be easy, a good strategy is essential. It starts with knowing your competitors. Know what they do well and what they could improve upon. 

Identify the "pinhole" that you can use to differentiate yourself from the competition. Here are a few ways in which you can do market research- 

  • Keep Tabs on Your Competitors
    Ask questions like: What e-commerce sites do you admire? Which ones do you want to emulate? What are the best parts of their site or app? What could use a slight improvement? Which of their products could you re-create to make your own? Follow their social media pages, visit their e-commerce website, check out their new releases. Your competitors will teach you what to do and what to avoid. 
  • Ecommerce Trends
    Even if you know what your competitors are doing, you can’t always be the follower. You need to identify e-commerce trends. Visit e-commerce sites like Amazon, Shopify, and Alibaba and learn about bestsellers. 
  • Customer Feedback
    The best way to know what the market needs is to talk to customers. You can do social media polls,  customer interviews, and surveys to gauge the customers’ needs. E-commerce companies should be aware of their customers' needs and respond to those needs.
    Understanding your demographic data, or who your target market is, and psychographic data, or what motivates that target market, will help you create the best products for your e-commerce business.

Analyzing The Persona Of Your Customer

The customer persona should address the frustrations, problems, and end goal of the customer journey. 

You need to know your target audience before you plan to sell them anything, and you can start by analyzing their psychology and creating a buyer’s persona. You need to cater to that buyer’s persona. You're selling directly to customers on your website, but you have to get their attention first. 

That is why it's crucial to know your target audience. You don't want to send the products that they won't buy.

Find The Right Vendor

If you have several competitors selling the same products as you do, distinguishing your brand from the others and drawing in customers can be challenging. 

A common way to do this is to provide something extraordinary. Find high-quality goods to sell and compare vendors' prices.

When you're more knowledgeable about these products, you can set your business apart by providing the best price on high-quality products. How to find the right vendor?

  • Find a vendor who sells high-quality products. 
  • Determine whether the vendor price is worth it. 
  • Ask about the turnaround time and whether the vendor will keep up with the supply. 

Set Up Inventory and Shipping

Once you have chosen a vendor, it's time to set up inventory. After all, this will be the backbone of your E-commerce business. Before you start selling, make a careful decision about what inventory you want to sell.

You also need to keep enough stock in-house so you can keep up with the demand. But do not go overboard by buying things you don’t need. It will be your first inventory investment, so you need to be intelligent and innovative. 

Shipping is another important aspect of setting up your online business. If you choose a dropshipping model, you don’t need to worry about inventory or shipping. 

But if you choose other business models, you need to manage the inventory and shipping yourself. You have to plan the shipping costs as well. You’ll be surprised to see how many factors contribute to the cost of shipping. 

Dependent on your sales volume, the number of items shipped, and the delivery speed chosen by the consumer, you may also have to pay for a variety of additional services.

Conducting SWOT Analysis


A SWOT Analysis is a great way to get a better sense of your company’s SWOT:

  • S-strengths
  • W-weaknesses
  • O- opportunities
  • T-threats.

Writing a SWOT analysis forces you to think about the future, and it will help you figure out where your company will be in the future. It is also an important part of developing a strategic plan to take your company there.

Strengths and weaknesses are how your company is at present. They may be difficult to change, but you can try. For example, company culture, reputation, customer list, geography, staff, partnerships, intellectual property, assets, etc. 

On the other hand, opportunities and threats are your future. You cannot control them for the most part. It may be challenging to plan for them or deal with their consequences, but you can try.

Create a Business Plan

The background study is just the starting point. A sketch of your business is needed next. Here are the things you should include in your business plan- 

  • Choose a business model-It's time to decide whether to act as an individual entrepreneur or a partner in a project. 
  • Mention the target market & competition: Either way, you should plan out what the feasibility of the approach is, the target markets and competition, and so on.
  • Include business strategies you want to use to build a successful e-commerce business
  • Write down the risks, forecasts, and scope. 
  • Above all, mention the funding strategy, including store owners, equity percentage, investors, etc.

 Write it all down, and let your style be professional and transparent. 

Choosing Your eCommerce Platform

Choose the right eCommerce platform for your business

There are plenty of e-commerce solutions in the market. When you’re new in this industry, it can become challenging to determine which website builder is your right option. You need to ask yourself a set of essential questions, such as:

  • Will this platform perfectly fit my business?
  • How will my online store look on this platform?
  • Can I scale my business with this platform?
  • Does this online marketplace have analytics to keep track of my sales?
  • Is this online commerce platform easy to set up?

You need to make some decisions when it comes to your eCommerce website. You need features, security, and functionalities that work for your business. 

Spend some time researching which ones are best for you. Don't forget to build an eCommerce website from scratch or use a builder to simplify the process. Here is a list of the Best Website builders you can use. 

Register Your Ecommerce Business & Brand Name

A name is the first part of building a successful e-commerce site, which means it is essential to choose a name that reflects your business's scope and goal. Your business's legal name and website name should not be the same.

You can make it easier to manage by keeping them consistent, but they do not have to be the same. You must register your company first and make sure to address legal protections and tax benefits by incorporating. 

Once you find the right name, get the domain before someone else does.

Create your online store

After choosing the e-commerce platform you wish to use, you need to set up an online store. The most important thing about having a shop is the design, which must be compatible with your industry and customer preferences. 

For your web store, you'll want to consider the speed of the site, compatibility with different payment gateways, functions, feasibility with your business structure, your web developer skills, SEO-friendly features, and more before making any decisions.

There are many readymade themes available on Shopify and other website builder sites to use as a beginner. 

Adding All Your Products to Your eCommerce Store


Ecommerce products have a higher selling rate if you know how to add your products to the store the right way. While adding products, here are the things you should keep in mind: 

  • Put up category pages with excellent descriptions because they are vital to attracting customers. They should address customer pain points, explain the quality of the product, and highlight the primary benefit of buying.
  • Shoot beautiful product photography. Use high-quality product images and videos.  For this purpose, you may need a professional photographer. Consider taking 360-degree pictures for higher-priced items, such as equipment or furniture or specific types of clothing. 
  • Use size charts/ specifications/ measurements if necessary for your niche/ products. 

Make sure you create definitive product categories and add relevant products to each. Adding product categories Collections to your e-commerce store gives your store an organized appearance, which can impress the visitors. 

Choose your Sales Channels

You'll want to find the most effective and efficient way to reach your potential customers as with any business. That means finding the channels where your customers are shopping for many retailers. 

There are many avenues for e-commerce that can complement your in-house store as well as one another. 

Marketing channels are a way to reach your customers. For most small businesses, direct selling is the best option. This is when you sell directly to customers online. 

There are also other channels, such as those that involve manufacturers, wholesalers, and retailers. You need to choose which channels work best for your business and determine what type of marketing channel would work best for your company.

Designing The Visual Appearance of Your eCommerce Store

The design of your e-commerce store is the first thing that the customer will see before they make a purchase. It is vital to have a visually appealing design that will attract customers and buy your product.

Some of the things you should consider when designing your e-commerce store are:

  • Brand colors: Use the brand colors as the color palette for your e-commerce store. Make sure it agrees with your brand voice and mood.
  • Brand Logo: Do not forget to add a brand logo to the website. 
  • Fonts: Use legible fonts that are easily recognized. 
  • High-quality images: Gain the attention of the visitors with superb photography. 
  • Content and Website copy: Write compelling website copy to win the target audience.
  • Layout: The website layout should be functional, creating an easy interface for the website users. 
  • Brand message: You should also consider what message you want to communicate with your design and what kind of mood you want to create for your customers.

There are other aspects to keep in mind while designing your e-commerce store, like how the design should be so intuitive that the customers can navigate through the site without any problems.

A good e-commerce store design should be responsive, which means that it displays well on any device and any screen size. It should also have a clean layout and use white space for more clarity and focus.

Design the company identity

Designing the company identity of your eCommerce store is a process that you should take seriously. It can take time, but it's worth it in the end. You should keep a few things in mind while designing the company identity to make your business grow.

  • Decide brand logo and colors. 
    As we have already mentioned before, visual appearances play a considerable role in building your brand identity. Decide on a logo and color scheme for your store.
    You should consider what colors are most appealing to your target audience and what colors will look good on different devices such as desktop, laptop, and mobile screens.
  • Create a style guide for your brand.
    To create a brand identity, draft a style guide for your brand. This includes deciding on fonts, spacing, and other design elements consistent throughout your marketing materials - from website to packaging labels.
  • Ensure your products look at home on your website.
    Make sure that the design of your company identity matches the type of products or services that you offer in your eCommerce store. 
  • Use social media marketing to create a brand identity.
    Use social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc, to market your products. It is the best way to condition the audience to your brand identity.
    If an Instagram user keeps seeing your content, product, brand name or logo, they can identify your brand from the rest. That’s how you create a brand identity.

Choosing A Payment Gateway

When choosing a payment gateway for your e-commerce website, you need to think about what features you need and your budget. There are many different payment gateways out there, so it can be tough to find one that fits your needs.

There are many features that a payment gateway should have, including:

  • The ability for customers to pay with their credit card or debit card
  • Accepts payments from countries around the world (this is important if you want to sell internationally)
  • Ability to process recurring payments
  • Accepts multiple currencies
  • Provides fraud protection and security when processing customer payments
  • Provides customer support via phone or email

The most popular e-commerce payment gateways are PayPal, Stripe, and Each one has its benefits and drawbacks that you should consider before deciding.

Launch your eCommerce Store

When you have your products, suppliers, and website ready, it's time to launch your e-commerce store. But here is a checklist you can follow before your website goes live-

  • Is your checkout process smooth?
  • Are your payment gateways working?
  • Do you have grammatical errors on your website?
  • Are all your CTA buttons and subscription form working?
  • Is the website taking too much time to load?
  • Are all the media files optimized?
  • How does your website look on mobile?
  • Do you have captivating product descriptions without errors?

Pay attention to every detail before you launch the store. The above-mentioned are all the crucial elements you should think of before going live. 

Ecommerce Business Blueprint: Post Launch Activities

Onboard Your First Customer

After you've created an attractive storefront, it's time to let everyone know about it. If customers don't know your products exist, they'll never buy them. Since you're a new online business, you need to make sure that everyone knows about your site. How can you attract the target audience? By marketing your business. 

Market your eCommerce Business

You’ve spent a lot of time and money building your e-commerce business. Now it’s time to market your business so that you can start turning a profit. Your first step is to promote your e-commerce business to potential customers. Here is how you can do it- 

Email Marketing

Email marketing is one of the best ways to build your email list, increase conversions, and expand your business. 

Building an effective email marketing strategy for your e-commerce business requires a keen understanding of the best market to your target audience. 

This course will teach you how to build an email list, segment your list based on behavior, design effective email campaigns, and measure the effectiveness of your campaigns. 

Run Paid Advertisements

 Another way of attracting more clients to your website is to run paid advertisements. Thanks to Google Ads and Social media, you have many ways to reach your audience. 

  • When users search for specific products, Google Shopping ads are displayed at the top of search engine results pages (SERPs). This way, your products will reach high-intent visitors interested in your products. 
  • Google text ads are common text ads you see during a Google search. The only way you can identify the ad is the search engine lets you know its a paid promotion. 


  • Google Display ads are another paid advertising method whose Pay per click is cheaper than Google search ads. Google Display ads include images shown on web pages in the GDN rather than on SERPs.

There are other paid ads options. We will get into it in the next section. 

Social Media Marketing

Social media is a tool for great online marketing. If you are thinking of building an e-commerce site, introduce your brand on social media. You can do social media marketing by using platforms like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube. Here are some ways to promote your brand.

  • Instagram Story ads
  • Instagram Post ads
  • Instagram Reels ads
  • Instagram Carousel ads
  • Instagram shopping ads
  • IGTV ads
  • IG Influencer marketing
  • Instagram explore ads
  • Facebook story ads
  • Facebook photo ads
  • Facebook Video ads
  • Facebook carousel ads
  • Facebook collection ads
  • Facebook instant experience ads and so much more

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

SEO is the key to your website’s success. Your social media marketing and Google ads won’t get you anywhere if you don’t optimize them. Find an SEO expert to help you, but make sure you understand what they’re doing so you can make the most of it. Both on-page Search engine optimization and technical search engine optimization are necessary to improve your website rankings. 

Ace Customer Service

Excellent customer service is a way to set yourself apart from more prominent online competitors who can consistently beat you on price. You need to pay attention to customer grievances and solve it as soon as possible. 

Having a Live chat feature on your e-commerce website can be a tremendous problem solver. 95% of consumers value getting their issue completely resolved over a fast response time. 

And 52% are more likely to stay loyal to a company offering live messaging support. Improved customer service can help you retain customers. You can also build a customer base by offering subscription services or loyalty programs.

Develop Your own App

While having an e-commerce website is a must for business, having an app is like a cherry on top. There is a saying, “If it can’t fit inside a phone, it can’t be in the future.” Having your own app solidifies your position in the market. Moreover, apps make 3X times more sales than websites! 

Building an app is easier than you think. Many people believe that you need to know how to code to build an app, but this is not true. 

Nowadays, easy-to-use software allows almost anyone to create a stunning app for their business, including e-commerce functionality. All you have to do is choose a template, write your content and upload images and videos. 

FAQs: Ecommerce business blueprint

Is e-commerce profitable?

Yes, starting an E-commerce business is profitable. Amazon has 49% of all US e-commerce. This shows that an e-commerce business can be a success you just need to be patient. You probably won’t see any profits rolling in the first year. But you should focus, build, launch, and grow. 

Is it hard to start your own e-commerce business?

No, starting your own e-commerce business is not hard. You just need to figure out what you are selling, who you are selling to, where you are selling and how to source your products. Anyone with a laptop and internet can start an e-commerce business.

How do I start an e-commerce business?

First, you need to find a niche in the e-commerce market. Then decide what you are going to sell. The next step is determining how to sell it, which means selecting a business model. 

After choosing the product, you need to do market research and find suppliers as well. Finally, build your website and launch your business. 

How do I write a business plan for e-commerce?

Make sure you start with an executive summary, it mostly describes to the stakeholders what the business plan will contain. 

Next, describe your business with Company Motto, Brand voice, Mission statement, Values etc. The next section should have detailed market research and your take on it. Finally, outline the legal and financial details. 

Learn more: How to write an e-commerce business plan

What is the best e-commerce platform for a small business?

Shopify is the best e-commerce platform for any e-commerce business regarding functionality and efficiency. But Squarespace is the best choice for small businesses.

Conclusion: Ecommerce Business Blueprint

Starting your own e-commerce business isn't easy, but it is exciting. It can be challenging to learn the ropes of choosing products and marketing them to your target audience.

You should constantly improve your business and change as the market changes.  Ecommerce Business Blueprint is different for various types of e-commerce businesses.

We hope the article helped you learn how to start your own e-commerce business. 

Related articles

How to start dropshipping

Everything you need to know about E-commerce product videos

30+ Best Dropshipping Products to Sell (2022 List)

Written By

Create Stunning Videos Easily

Skyrocket your video marketing efforts today

OFFEO Video Templates

Create stunning animated social media videos in afew clicks

Related articles