How to Start an E-Commerce Business in 2022

Liz Olegario, CEO Manalei Media

Today, anyone can build their own website, market it online, and run several online businesses at a time. One of the most significant advantages to starting an ecommerce business is that it requires little to no startup costs. As long as you have a comprehensive knowledge of the online space and the digital tools that you need for your business, you have a head start on starting a successful online store.

If you are trying to figure out how to start an ecommerce business in 2022, there is a lot to research and prepare for. So many important decisions to make. What should you sell? Who should you sell to? How will you get customers?

Every other week there seems to be a new business trend online. Successful businesses are utilizing chatbots, Facebook ads, social media influencers, and many more. What should you pay attention to? What actually matters? If you want to know how to start a new ecommerce business in 2022, this simple checklist has got you covered. Start selling online in 7 easy-to-follow steps.


1. Research and Preparation

One of the most essential steps on how to start a successful Ecommerce business in 2022 is conducting research. Read on below for some easy tips on how to get started with research for your new online store that will help you in preparing for financial success.

Find your Niche

The best way to start your research for a successful Ecommerce business is to find your niche. You are going to want to niche down and specify what you want out of your online store if you want to run it successfully from the get-go.

Start with researching online business models and compare them. Decide which Ecommerce business models best line up with your resources and marketing strengths. Consider these questions when beginning your research:

  1. What are you going to sell?
  2. Who will you sell to?
  3. Can you capitalize on this product or service?
  4. How are you going to sell?

Come up with as many business ideas as you can and capitalize on services and/or products that are in high demand if you want to run a profitable online store. Some examples of services and products that you can offer include editing services, online courses in your area of
expertise, printing on-demand, and more. Next, determine your audience. Who will buy your product? How will you market to your audience

Once you have identified your place in the market and what value you’ll bring to customers, identify anything that may get in the way of your success. Ensure that you plan for the future of your Ecommerce business. Become familiar with companies that are already successfully working in this niche. What are these other online businesses doing right (or wrong)?

Create your Business Plan

The questions we ask ourselves during research are essential to the successes of your Ecommerce business and will help you start to create and write your business plan. This process will give you a better sense of your specific goals for your online store and how you’re going to reach them.

Writing a business plan is an important step in the preparation of your Ecommerce business. Creating your business plan will help you establish goals and get into the specifics of what you really need to run your Ecommerce business and reach your customers. A business plan is often required when trying to get a business loan. Having a business plan will also help convince the stakeholders of your online business including partners and investors, employees, and more.

A business plan will include the following:

  1. Describe your business
  2. How your business will gain profit
  3. List of employees and executive staff
  4. How your business will be financing
  5. Your business operations model

With a simple search, you can find free business plan templates online. You can refer to this outline to help you get started: (taken from Write your business plan (

  1. Executive summary
  2. Company description
  3. Market analysis
  4. Organization and management
  5. Service or product line
  6. Marketing and sales
  7. Funding request
  8. Financial plan
  9. Appendix


2. Setting Up Your Business

For operating an Ecommerce business, you have to have the legal matters and structures of your business decision. Not sure where to start?

Choose your Business Name

Naming your ecommerce business can be a challenge, but it will help you describe your brand. A good business name will help to establish the tone of your online store. Keep it simple and make it unique.

Once you’ve come up with your business name and made sure nobody else is using it, you’ll want to register it as an online domain. Registering your business name as an online domain will help to build your online store and brand, making it easy for people to find you online.

You’ll also use your business name when you register your business. How you choose to register will affect you legally and financially down the road, so it’s worth doing a little homework to determine which type of legal structure is right for you.

Choose your Legal Structure

You’ll register your business as one of the following:

  1. Sole proprietorship
  2. General partnership
  3. LLC
  4. Corporation

Each one will have benefits and drawbacks. If you can, consult an attorney or other legal expert to determine which one you should choose.

If you’re a business of one, you’ll likely want to register as a sole proprietor. If you go that route, you won’t legally be required to register your business in your state. Your business will just be associated with your legal name.

This also holds true for general partnerships, but you will need to file a “doing business as” or DBA application with the local government.

Apply for your EIN

Although not required for all business types, an employee identification number (EIN) will still benefit you and your online business because it helps keep personal and business finances separate. Most wholesalers will require an EIN when applying to be a merchandise buyer. It’s free to apply for an EIN through the IRS, mail, or fax. Once you do apply for your EIN, you will
receive a nine-digit number almost instantly.

Acquire Business Licenses and Permits

To operate an Ecommerce shop, certain business licenses and permits will be needed. Find out what you need to start your new ecommerce business by checking with your city, county, and state to see what sales tax licenses or home business licenses you may need. Get all of those approved before you start operating your online store.

Check your local government’s website to see what business permits or licenses you might need to operate in your state. Types of permits or licenses you might need for your business include:

  1. Professional and trade licenses for certain industries
  2. Seller’s Permit
  3. Sales tax permits
  4. Health, safety, and environmental permits
  5. Signage permits

For example, if you start a clothing boutique, you will need to acquire a Seller’s Permit to purchase and resell clothing. A Seller’s Permit is needed when you intend to sell or lease tangible personal property that would ordinarily be subject to sales tax if sold at retail.


3. Decide on How to Get Your Products

You may have thought about how you’re going to source or gather all your products in the research phase of how to start your new business. If you’re selling physical products, this step will be more complex, as you’ll need to consider the inventory you want to start out with, along with what these startup costs will look like.

Before your online business goes live, it’s important you know how you will source your products and stock your inventory well so that you can deliver your products on time. This will help create a good reputation for your online business as online shoppers nowadays are used to quick and on-time delivery.

There are a few models on how to source your products that you can explore here:

Make your Product

Make the product yourself and get it out to the customer. This is the best option if your product is something you can easily get the materials for and make at a low price. This could be something like homemade bath bombs and soaps.

Have your Product Manufactured

If your product is something you don’t have the expertise or tools to make yourself, you can partner with a manufacturer. This option only makes sense if you have a product you plan to sell in large numbers, as manufacturers usually require you to order in bulk. Consider the costs you would have to cover for those bulk orders if you take this route.

Buy Wholesale and Resell

Buy commercial or independent versions of your desired product and sell them through your online store at a markup price. You wouldn’t have much control over pricing, as the manufacturer sets the price of purchase and the market sets the markup. Margins for selling
wholesale products are around 50%, so if you bought a product for $8 per unit, you’d typically sell it for $16.

Online wholesale marketplaces are becoming more available, but it is always best to meet and develop relationships with your vendors at trade shows, in-person, or visiting vendor showrooms.

One of the most popular options in sourcing your products for successful online stores is dropshipping. Dropshipping is an order fulfillment method that does not require a business to keep products in stock. Customers will buy from your online store and then their order becomes fulfilled by a third-party supplier. It is a good option if you don’t want to deal with carrying inventory yourself.

Offer your Services Digitally

If you’re selling your own services and expertise, as a web designer, for example, you may simply have to describe and list the services you plan on providing on your business website.

Blog posts, templates, online video classes, tips, and resources—anything people can download has the potential to be a product. Digital products can also be a service like writing, therapy, or design. Digital downloads or services are convenient for customers and, depending on what you’re selling, they usually have a low overhead cost too. Offering products digitally is a good option if you’re just starting out. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different things until you hit on the product that’s right for your business.


4. Create Your Online Store

Choose your Ecommerce Platform

Before creating your website for your online store, evaluate the multiple ecommerce platforms that are available in the market. Most Ecommerce platforms have relatively the same functionality and features. Some of the most popular and best platforms to use when building your store’s website include Shopify, Wix, BigCommerce, SquareSpace, WooCommerce, and much more. Find the best ecommerce platform that is optimized for you and your business. Consider how much control it provides you, how user-friendly the interface is, and whether the
platform will support your brand image and other business requirements that you decided on during your research phase.

Build your Website

Building your business’s website is the online equivalent of building a physical store. The ecommerce platform you pick is going to manage all your products, services, how customers shop, and everything else done to operate the functions of your online store. Your website should be designed as simply as you can. Design your website in such a way that the customers can understand and find everything easily. It should grab someone’s attention quickly.

Remember your website must be customer-friendly! It is time to recognize what customers are shopping on now. It’s time to optimize online shopping on mobile platforms, such as smartphones and tablets. Take the time to become familiar with the new trend of Mcommerce (Mobile Commerce) when making the decisions for your website as customers continue to shop on-the-go in 2022.


5. Choose Your Sales Channels

To ensure the success of your new online business, you’ll need to choose sales channels where your customers already shop. The right mix of sales channels will depend on what you are selling and your target customers. There are a number of great options that can complement and support your online shop.

Some popular sales channels include Amazon, Facebook, Google, etc. Featuring your products on these websites can benefit the success of your ecommerce business, especially if one of your goals is to sell a high volume of products or sell to a specific group of people. Having these product marketplaces available helps to make the process easy for sellers and buyers alike with minimal technical knowledge required and built-in marketing to a large database of existing customers.

So, how do you decide what online sales channels are right for you? That depends on a few factors. Start by listing out the pros and cons of each sales channel. Take these strengths and weaknesses and see how they would work with the following:

  1. Your business model
  2. Your payment processing system and cash flow/revenue cycle
  3. Your audience and their habits
  4. Your business goals
  5. The type of product(s) you sell

Social shops (i.e. Instagram Shopping and Facebook Shopping) will continue to grow in the upcoming years – be sure to connect your ecommerce store to your social shop. Optimize your social shop with good product titles and images.


6. Product Images and Videos

Before going live, take the time to list your inventory on your online store — thinking about the customer experience, SEO, and the way the process will work from when a customer purchases a product to when they actually receive that product. This includes adding in your product images and/or videos. You need to market your online store, and having the best product images will help with that.

Here are some best practices to consider for ecommerce product photography:

  1. Invest in a professional photographer
  2. Ensure your images are high-res
  3. Your hero images need to be on a white background for many online platforms i.e. Amazon
  4. Your product should take up at least 85% of the frame
  5. Photograph your product as it would appear on a store shelf
  6. Out of package shots and other angles go in the gallery
  7. Use lifestyle imagery to tell a story


7. Market Your Ecommerce Business

To ensure growth for your new Ecommerce business, take advantage of social media to promote your online store before you go live. You can set up some social media accounts, like Facebook or Twitter, for your business and start online advertisements a few days before you
are ready to launch.

Aside from social media, there are a variety of marketing strategies you might decide to utilize — SEO, Google ads, social media ads, word of mouth, limited releases, influencer marketing, content marketing, and more. No matter what ecommerce business model you choose, here are some of the ways in which you can generate online sales through marketing:

Search engine optimization (SEO)

SEO refers to creating content so that when online customers search the internet for the things relevant to the content you have posted, your content shows up in the search results for free. It takes a lot of time and effort, but it can take a long time to pay off. However, it is something you should invest in from the start, and build on as you grow. If this is outside your skillset, there are professionals you can hire.

Paid ads

Paid advertising is the fastest way to reach your customers, and can be pricey. Google and Facebook are the best places to start for paid advertising because they have the largest reach, offer easy-to-use platforms, and return a ton of data that you can use to make your ad programs more and more effective.

Word-of-mouth and referrals

Word-of-mouth marketing is when your consumers have a good experience with your product or service and they, of their own accord, decide to tell others about it. These days, word of mouth and referrals are largely accomplished through ratings, testimonies, and online reviews.

As your ecommerce business is up and running and you start to receive orders, you’ll want to keep track of which marketing tactics are working and which aren’t — especially if you’re investing money in them. As time progresses, you’ll be able to adjust and change your
marketing strategy to find what works best for your business.



Once you go through this checklist on how to start your Ecommerce business, you may realize that building your own ecommerce business is not a simple task. But technology has made it relatively easy and inexpensive to start an Ecommerce business.

Keep in mind, there is no such thing as easy money in Ecommerce, but with careful research and planning and the smart use of resources, you can succeed.

Take the time to read through the resources above, and you’ll save hours of work and you’ll know where you’re more likely to get your money’s worth in ecommerce. Good luck with your ecommerce startup!