How to Start an Online Retail Business: A Comprehensive Guide

Gillian Harper By Gillian Harper  |  Aug 5, 2022  |  E-Commerce
how to start an online retail business

Dating back a few decades, the idea of establishing a successful business was very distinct. Comparing the same theories in 2022, one would notice that things have become “not so simple.” A business needs to take a different approach to attract more customers and outshine its peers. Every retail setup is launching an e-retail or eCommerce business platform. Do you know the eCommerce platform’s biggest perk? You no longer need to operate on a small budget or even have inventory. In this blog, we will discover how you can start an online retail business in 2022.

When was the last time you shopped online? That’s a very straightforward question to ask yourself and self-evaluate how trending online shopping is. Most people will answer today, yesterday, or a few days ago! You’re not alone here because that is how frequently people purchase stuff online.

According to Statista, around 75 percent of people shop at least once a month. The statistics indicate that people shop from e-retail stores and enjoy coming back. So what’s to lose here? Why can’t you set up your online retailing setup and make 2X of your profits? Let’s dig deeper into how to build an online retail business before you explore the retail app development company.

Table of Contents

What is an Online Retail Business?

Before you start an online retail business, you must be clear about the concept of online retailing. In layman’s language, it is an online store where a shopkeeper sells the goods. The customers visit this electronic shop through their mobile phones or desktop, browse the menu, add to cart the items, and pay for them. In short, the customers can shop for their desired items anytime, anywhere.

An online retail business has multiple benefits. Do you want to know what they are? Here’s every significant benefit listed:

  • Increase sales and profits.
  • The e-retail store is open 24 hours a day and 7-days a week.
  • Sell in any part of the world without additional expenditures.
  • Customers can interact with your brand anytime they wish to.

Statistics That’ll Leave You Gasping

The pandemic propelled digital sales growth since people became stringent about stepping into crowded streets to shop.

  • According to a report by McKinsey, 40% of the respondents said they shifted to new retailers during the COVID-19 humanitarian crisis.

This response came from the U.S., U.K., Germany, and France.

  • By the end of 2023, eCommerce sales will hit $6.5 Trillion.

retail ecommerce sales report worldwide 2014 to 2023

According to Statista, the sales growth for retail eCommerce witnessed a huge surge in 2021 with 9.7%, though the growth trends in the following years projected to decline with 5%, 4.8%, 4.9%, and 4.1% in 2022, 2023, 2024 and 2025 respectively. The growth trends in 2020 was downwards with -2.9%.

Statistic: Projected retail sales growth worldwide from 2022 to 2025 | Statista
Find more statistics at Statista

That means when you see the retail eCommerce growth trends, 2021 has been the golden years. No doubt, the highest growth trend in the year 2021 was due to the COVID-19 slowdown and it was the time when businesses were gradually returning to normalcy from the incessant lockdown worldwide.

How To Start an Online Retail Business from Home?

Digitization has made many things possible, knowing what to start and how to start can be a great help. So, things can happen: first if you have an idea, come to us and let us help you start your online retail business. Second, follow the steps given below as you find the suitable way to start an online retailing business in 2022 and 2023.

#1 Find your market

There are many options for finding a market for your retail business. So, before you dive into specifics, ensure that you have chosen the right niche to sell your products/services. Conducting the initial niche research will be time-consuming, but you cannot compromise.
You can start your market research here:

  • Google Trends
  • Google Keyword Planner
  • Keyword Surfer

#2 Know your target audience

Figuring out your potential customer is tricky. However, none can overlook the importance of this one step of mining your target audience because “NO CUSTOMERS, NO INCOME, NO PROFITS.” There are multiple ways to find the right audience for your online retailing business. Remember, pain points and needs are the key things to defining who your target audience is.
To find your ideal audience, you can use Facebook’s Audience Insights. This tool has incredible strength, features, and capabilities to locate our model audience.

Demographics for people who attend coffeeshops in Seattle on the Facebook Audience
source: Hootsuite

#3 Source your inventory

Sourcing inventory is yet another essential aspect of the entire process of starting a retail store. There are two ways you can source your inventory in e-retail:

Manufacturers/wholesale suppliers

Alibaba, Kompass, and ThomasNet are some of the best websites if you want to search for suitable wholesalers. Before hiring them, check their ratings and review, ask questions, or request samples. This way, you can assess if they’re appropriate for your business requirements or not.


With drop shipping, you don’t have to worry about purchasing the products in bulk and maintaining the inventory. The dropshipping suppliers will ship the products to the buyers. All you need to do is manage the order. Shopify, SaleHoo, and Printful are some of the popular dropshipping platforms in 2022.

#4 Create a brand

Building a brand is significant. To ensure that you create brand identity correctly the first time, here’s a checklist that might help you.

  • Decide a name
  • Design a logo, professionally
  • Pick a color scheme and font to use on the website
  • Set your brand’s voice
  • Establish your mission, vision, and values

Also, to see if your brand identity could sustain the market or not, take a close look at your competitors along with a retail software development guide. It will help you during the retail application development. And the result? It will be a fabulous e-retail store.

#5 Select the eCommerce platform

After you have selected the viable niche and defined your audience, it’s time to choose a platform to build your eCommerce store. The selection of platforms will ensure how you build and manage your online store. So, play smart, take help from experts or if you have hired one of the best retail app development company, you can take help from them and choose the right option.

You have plenty of eCommerce platforms to choose from. For example, Shopify, Square, Squarespace and many others have good options and unique set of features to start an online retail business. When selecting eCommerce platform, you need to keep a certain things in mind. The criteria of selecting the right platform is/are;

  • Affordability
  • Capabilities
  • User-friendliness

Let’s take a look of some of the top eCommercee-commerce platforms and they match the given criterias;

Shopify: If you are opting for a dropshipping store, Shopify is the best option for you. You get a great many features and functionalities at minimal expenses. You get a different plan, starting $29 onwards. Based on your preferences, you will have to pay. It’s easy to use, though hiring a right Shopify developer can be a great help.

Squarespace: With built-in marketing tools, stunning design and various other features for as little as $14 per month (when purchasing an annual plan), Squarespace is a perfect fit for web design beginners who simply want to create outstanding online stores.
Square: This is the best option for startups and those with a low budget. Square offers a free plan with all required features, tools and functionalities.

#6 Create your online retail store

It is one of the fun steps to starting an online retail business. Starting a retail store online isn’t easy, but it is essential. If you already have a brick-and-mortar business, it is time to expand your business online. There are many eCommerce website-building platforms like Wix and Shopify. The primary benefit of using these sites is that you can manage or build the store without any technical background. However, let’s be clear that you need professional Shopify developers or eCommerce website developers before you move further. Why? These professionals will ensure that your non-technical background doesn’t affect your business and profits.

How to build an online store website:

  • If you have selected your eCommerce, navigate to it and create an account
  • Choose your domain name
  • Choose templates from the options provided by the eCommerce platform
  • Name your business and add logo
  • Customize pages, such as home page, product/service pages, about us, contact us, etc.
  • Start listing your products/services
  • Right description and product/service information clearly and precisely
  • Set up a payment methods
  • Configure settings
  • Your online store is set up and ready to sell products

Look at the following infographic to understand what professionals do to take your business online!

steps to build an online store website

#7 Plan your marketing strategy

Marketing will help you acquire new customers and engage with them. Determine which is the best way to communicate with your customers. Doing so will help you to gain an edge over the competitors and scale out the marketing success. Here is what you can do to attract, convert, and retain customers.

  • Advertising
  • Email marketing
  • SEO and content marketing
  • Social media marketing
  • Influencer marketing


In conclusion, we’d like to state that it takes time to build a successful online retailing store. Therefore, it would be best if you start early. As long as your mind is focused on growing the business, you are ready to face whatever comes the way! The journey to setting up an online retail business will be exciting and challenging, but selecting the most experienced eCommerce development company developer from the list can add wings to idea. And the results would be something you’d always be grateful for.
Leap today and start working on your goals.

FAQ About Start an Online Retail Business

Is an Online Retail Store Profitable?

The answer to the question is YES! Although the e-retailing business has become competitive yet, if you do things accurately, you’ll achieve success. In short, strategize what the market wants, and it will turn out to be profitable. Remember, the first thing we learned in how to build an online retail business is finding your niche? Well, once you have that, things will remain on track.

How Much Does It Cost to Start an Online Retail Business?

In one sentence, a standard retail application will cost anywhere between $1000 to $10,5000 depending on the complexity of the application. The cost of setting up an online retail business may vary depending on various aspects. However, we feel that these two factors affect the development cost extensively!

Gillian Harper Gillian Harper   |  Aug 5, 2022

A professionally engaged blogger, an entertainer, dancer, tech critic, movie buff and a quick learner with an impressive personality! I work as a Senior Process Specialist at as I can readily solve business problems by analyzing the overall process. I’m also good at building a better rapport with people!


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