Today, eCommerce is booming, and many businesses are jumping on board because it offers flexibility, scalability, and fast growth potential.
To succeed in this fast-paced world, you need to use smart strategies to ensure your eCommerce business thrives. Simply waiting for customers’ orders won’t cut it; you must actively work to grow and make money online.
The internet is changing the way people buy and sell products, making transactions easier than ever. While starting an online store is simple, making it profitable is a different challenge.
In this article, we’ll explore some clever tactics you can use to make money through your eCommerce store.
Table of Contents
Making Money Online With an eCommerce Store: 12 Ways
Interested in entering the world of online retail without the usual headaches of managing products and orders? Consider dropshipping.
Dropshipping is a simple and low-risk way to kickstart your online business. Instead of stocking products, you partner with a third-party supplier who handles everything from product procurement to packing and shipping. Your main job? Marketing – creating a website, blogs, social media campaigns, and email marketing.
To begin, find a reliable dropshipping supplier offering the products you want to sell. You’ll pay a dropship fee, typically $2 to $5 per item, in addition to shipping and the product’s cost.
Your profits come from setting a margin on the total price. But remember, eCommerce is competitive, so keep your pricing realistic.
2. Sell Digital Products
If you’re aiming to make money online while sidestepping the hassle of managing physical resources, selling digital products is your golden ticket. Why? Because digital products are incredibly versatile, cost-effective, and offer endless opportunities.
First things first, what are digital products? These are intangible treasures delivered as digital files or online streaming services. Think PDFs, video presentations, templates, plug-ins, graphic designs, mobile apps, and the list goes on.
Here’s why selling digital products is a fantastic business idea:
Low Inventory Investment: No need to splurge on stock – digital products require minimal upfront investment.
Time and Effort Saver: Say goodbye to shipping and logistics nightmares; digital products can be delivered with a few clicks.
Sweet Profit Margins: With no recurring costs for physical goods, your profit margins can be sky-high.
Scalability Galore: You can scale your digital product business effortlessly.
Instant Gratification: Automation makes it possible to deliver your products instantly.
Now, how can you dive into the world of digital product sales? The options are limitless:
Share your expertise by creating educational digital products like ebooks or courses.
Craft digital assets such as stock images, videos, software templates, and sell licenses to those in need.
Instead of products, offer exclusive content through paid subscriptions, creating a stream of recurring revenue.
So, if you’re looking for a flexible, profitable, and hassle-free online venture, selling digital products is your ace in the hole.
3. Print Print On Demand
Ever dreamt of creating your own products without the headaches of inventory and shipping? Meet Print On Demand (POD) – a game-changer in eCommerce.
POD is a fulfillment model where suppliers take your designs and imprint them on various products. We’re talking about everything from clothing like shirts and hoodies to mugs, towels, art prints, phone cases, and beyond. The beauty of POD? You don’t have to hold any physical inventory, and you’re spared the headaches of shipping.
Why it’s a big deal: In 2022, the global POD market was worth $6.18 billion, and it’s projected to grow by 25.8% from 2023 to 2030 (source: Grand View Research).
With POD, you can offer a range of customized products like t-shirts, jackets, books, and more, all with your unique designs. The catch? You only make them when customers order. No inventory needed, and the supplier handles the rest.
Some POD stores even let customers personalize their products, creating a design themselves or working with you.
4. Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing is a way for content creators or publishers to make money by promoting products or services from retailers or advertisers. These promoters, called affiliates, earn a commission when people take specific actions, like making purchases or signing up for things, through tracked affiliate links.
Traditionally, affiliates get paid for sales, but some programs also reward them for things like bringing in leads, getting people to try out free stuff, sending clicks to a website, or getting people to download apps.
Affiliate networks are websites that connect creators or influencers with different brand affiliate programs, making it simple for them to find opportunities to promote stuff.
The good news is that many affiliate programs are free to join. If done right, affiliate marketing can go from a side gig to a profitable online business that brings in money without a lot of effort.
If you have a big following or a strong presence on social media, affiliate programs can be a great way to boost your business. As an affiliate, you can promote products and services on your website, run ads, and make recommendations to your audience. It’s a win-win for affiliates and the companies they work with.
5. eCommerce Reselling
A reseller is a business that buys products from manufacturers, liquidators, or other retailers and then sells them to its own customers. To do this, they need a reseller business permit, also known as a resale license, resale certificate, or tax exemption certificate. This permit allows resellers to buy certain items without paying sales tax. These items include:
- Products for wholesale selling.
- Products for retail sale.
- Ingredients or parts for making and selling other items.
Reselling is similar to dropshipping, where companies get products from various suppliers and sell them through an online store. This makes it easy for regular consumers to find and buy products.
Many resellers make the shopping experience better by adding extra value. For example, buying directly from a supplier can be tough and often has a minimum purchase requirement. Resellers, on the other hand, can sell single items to customers (with a markup) and create a special shopping experience. They might include detailed product info, reviews, a loyalty program, and customer support.
A reselling business has lots of benefits and can be a money-making venture, especially if you know a lot about a specific topic. It lets you start an online store quickly without dealing with the hassle of creating products and building a customer base.
But because reselling is like dropshipping, it can be hard to get customers when you’re just starting. You need good marketing strategies to make your reselling business successful.
Straight-up product reselling is great for people with special knowledge in a particular field. For example, someone who knows a lot about how animals behave could create a dropshipping business focused on selling the best toys for pets.
6. Membership Websites
If you already have an online store with a good number of customers, here’s a clever way to make money online regularly: Membership websites. These are like exclusive clubs that can bring in steady income.
To create a members-only site, you typically ask customers to pay for access. The first step is to add products to your site that allow customers to choose their membership level.
This is important if you want to charge for your “Members Only” content. Alternatively, you can offer the content for free but require users to register on your site. You’ll need to decide whether you want to make money from the content or grow your customer list for better marketing.
Adding a members-only section to your online store can boost your sales and provide a reliable income stream.
Customers are often happy to pay for access to this exclusive area on your website. In this special section, registered members enjoy unique perks, benefits, and exclusive discounts on certain products that others can’t access.
7. Sell Handmade Products
Are you a creative person looking to make money with your craft? The internet offers fantastic opportunities to turn your talents into a profitable venture. You can sell your handmade goods online without breaking the bank.
You can start your own online store with platforms like Shopify, or use well-established marketplaces like Amazon, eBay, Etsy, and Big Cartel. Social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook are also great places to showcase and sell your creations. Additionally, consider selling your handmade products wholesale to other businesses.
The best part is that starting an online handmade business doesn’t require a hefty initial investment. While you’ll need materials, buying them in bulk can save you a lot of money.
Whether it’s jewelry, home decor, greeting cards, candles, or anything else you’re passionate about, you can turn it into an online money-making venture.
To set the right price for your handmade products, add up all the costs of creating and marketing them. Then, add a profit margin that aligns with your business goals. You can adjust your prices later to boost sales or increase profits.
Top-selling handmade product categories include:
- Subscription boxes
So, if you’re ready to unleash your creativity and start a successful online business, selling handmade products could be your ticket to success!
8. Sell eBooks
If you run an eCommerce store, why not think about selling eBooks to your website visitors? For instance, if you sell pet products, your customers might also be interested in dog care books.
Ebooks aren’t just for attracting leads; they can also provide a reliable source of passive income over time. There are various platforms where you can sell your ebook, like Visme, Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing, Smashwords, Rakuten Kobo, Sellfy, Payhip, and Gumroad.
Selecting the right file format and formatting for your ebook is crucial. You can choose from Printable PDF, Interactive PDF, Multimedia/Interactive HTML5, or EPUB formats.
To successfully sell your ebook, follow these steps:
- Understand your audience
- Get an ISBN
- Write and design your ebook
- Create an appealing cover
- Publish and share it
- Set a price
- Make a landing page
- Promote it
- Track sales
You may already have most of the content in your blog posts, which can serve as the foundation for your ebook. Templates can also simplify the ebook creation process. For instance, Visme offers pre-designed multipage templates for various industries and designs.
Once you have the content, assembling the ebook is straightforward. Even if your first ebook takes time to create, subsequent ones will be easier as you learn from both the failures and successes of your previous works.
9. Subscription Box
Just like memberships, subscriptions in eCommerce can be a great way to make money.
Subscription boxes make money in two ways: through regular payments and one-time purchases. Customers pay a fee regularly to join the subscription, which forms the core of the model.
On top of the regular fees, there are extra charges for one-time purchases, and these vary by industry. For example, think of clothing subscription boxes. Customers pay a monthly fee to get a box of clothes, and if they decide to keep any items, they pay an additional fee to cover the cost of those clothes. You can increase profits by buying items at wholesale prices.
Imagine sending your customers a surprise package every month, without revealing its contents. This surprise element can add some fun to their daily lives.
With a subscription box, customers can expect to receive a carefully curated selection of products regularly, personalized just for them.
This model not only provides a steady income through recurring payments but also opens doors for partnerships with other brands to strategically place personalized products.
If you want to set up a subscription-based WooCommerce store, you can explore the Subscription For WooCommerce Pro plugin. It’s a helpful tool to create the perfect platform for your subscription business.
Blogging is still a great idea, especially for eCommerce business owners. Creating high-quality, niche-specific content can help your online store in many ways.
Why? It’s pretty straightforward. When your eCommerce blog provides helpful information to your audience, you’ll attract loyal readers. The valuable content you share builds trust in your brand and products.
Blogging not only brings more visitors to your website but also educates and informs your audience while helping build your brand.
Over time, this can turn readers into potential customers and lead to more sales. People will keep coming back for more information and to make purchases. Plus, it improves your website’s ranking on search engines.
Here are a few ways you can make money from your blog:
- Sell products or services.
- Offer digital products like courses, designs, templates, etc.
- Provide consulting or freelance services.
- Collaborate with brands for influencer marketing.
Remember, blogging won’t make you rich overnight. But with the right content and focus, it can be a realistic way to earn money over time.
Learn more: How to Make Money Blogging
11. Sell Your Services
In addition to selling physical products on your eCommerce site, don’t forget about the potential of offering services. Selling services can be a lucrative venture if you can provide value to your customers. It’s not as complicated as it may seem, and it can become a dependable source of income.
If you have a unique skill or expertise in a particular niche, you can turn it into a profitable service. Your expertise sets you apart and can attract clients willing to pay for your services.
Here are some services that can earn you a substantial income:
Freelance Content Writing: If you’re a wordsmith, offer your writing skills to businesses in need of content.
Virtual Assistant: Help businesses with administrative tasks, scheduling, and organization.
Web Designing: Create visually appealing and functional websites for clients.
Proofreading: Offer your keen eye for detail to proofread documents and content.
Transcription: Convert audio or video recordings into text for various industries.
Personal Training: If you’re into fitness, become a personal trainer and provide online coaching.
Photography: Offer photography services for events, products, or portraits.
Translation: Utilize your language skills to translate documents or content for international clients.
By diversifying your eCommerce offerings to include services, you can tap into a new revenue stream and broaden your business opportunities.
12. Create Online Courses
Many successful Shopify sellers have ventured into the world of course creation. Lots of eCommerce businesses and entrepreneurs choose to capitalize on their audience by providing online courses through a Shopify LMS (Learning Management System).
The beauty of this approach is that you can repurpose existing content. Let’s say you’ve been providing product education through video tutorials and PDF guides. You can take that valuable content and enhance it by adding exclusive course materials such as blog posts, recorded webinars, and more. These can be bundled together and offered as a comprehensive course. You can even include quizzes and reward learners with a certificate of completion.
To sell your course as a digital product through Shopify, here’s what you need to do:
- Create a new product listing on your Shopify store.
- Add pricing details and information about your course.
- Develop a dedicated landing page specifically for your online courses.
To manage course enrollment and provide a seamless learning experience, you’ll want to integrate an online course platform like LearnWorlds. Here’s how it works:
- When a customer makes a purchase on Shopify, the integration with LearnWorlds takes care of the rest.
- LearnWorlds automatically creates a student account for the buyer in the background.
- The user’s email is used as an identifier to link their Shopify purchase to their LearnWorlds account.
By combining your expertise with the power of online courses and a user-friendly platform like LearnWorlds, you can turn your knowledge into a profitable online venture.
How Profitable is Ecommerce?
E-commerce is incredibly profitable and growing rapidly. In 2022, it reached a staggering $5.7 trillion in global sales, with over 2 billion digital shoppers. As online shopping becomes more popular, businesses are flocking to this industry.
E-commerce’s appeal lies in its ability to connect businesses with customers worldwide. This opens up vast opportunities for profitability, allowing businesses to reach a broader audience than ever before.
What Are the Three Types of E-commerce?
E-commerce comes in three primary types:
Business-to-Business (B2B): In B2B e-commerce, companies sell their products or services to other businesses. This sector focuses on fulfilling the needs of enterprises.
Business-to-Consumer (B2C): B2C e-commerce involves businesses offering products or services directly to end consumers.
Consumer-to-Consumer (C2C): C2C e-commerce refers to transactions that occur between two individuals who are not affiliated with any business entity. Popular platforms for C2C transactions include online marketplaces and auction websites.
Understanding these distinct e-commerce types allows you to tailor your business strategy to your target market and industry niche.
Which Type of E-commerce Generates the Highest Revenue?
B2B (business-to-business) e-commerce is known for its revenue potential. Unlike B2C (business-to-consumer) e-commerce, which sells directly to customers, B2B e-commerce serves other businesses. This often results in higher profits due to larger transaction sizes and long-term relationships.
B2B e-commerce plays a crucial role in the global economy by facilitating business interactions, making it a lucrative option for entrepreneurs and established companies.
How to Succeed in E-commerce?
Success in e-commerce requires careful planning:
Solid Business Plan: Start with a well-researched business plan. Understand your target audience, define your unique selling points, and set clear growth and profitability goals.
Quality E-commerce Platform: Invest in a top-notch e-commerce platform that simplifies managing your business, from product listings to order fulfillment.
Adaptability and Responsiveness: Stay flexible and responsive to market changes. Continuously improve your online presence, communicate effectively, and build trust with customers.
If you want to learn more about e-commerce, you might consider joining a course like Foundr’s ‘Start and Scale’.
Is E-commerce Difficult?
While the potential for profitability in e-commerce is substantial, it can be a challenging endeavor. Setting up an online store is just the beginning, and success requires careful consideration of various factors:
Platform Selection: Choosing the right e-commerce platform is critical, as it impacts your site’s functionality, user experience, and scalability.
Inventory Management: Effective inventory management is essential to ensure you have the right products in stock, preventing overstock or understock situations.
Shipping and Fulfillment: Efficient logistics and fulfillment processes are crucial for delivering products to customers promptly and cost-effectively.
Digital Marketing: Building and executing a successful digital marketing campaign is essential to attract and retain customers in the highly competitive online marketplace.
In this post, I’ve shared some of the best tricks for making money online with your eCommerce store. Keep in mind though, there are many other strategies you can tailor to your specific needs.
The key takeaway is that it’s entirely possible to create a stable income without a big upfront investment. All it takes is a well-thought-out business plan based on the online money-making ideas mentioned above. These ideas can open up numerous opportunities for your eCommerce venture and help it grow in a low-risk environment.
Whether you’re looking to make a living or build a profitable side gig, these online business ideas offer great potential. With dedication, persistence, and a willingness to adapt, you can see fruitful results in the growth of your eCommerce store.