Ecommerce: An Easy Beginners Guide 
Why should you learn ecommerce?
Because it’s the easiest way to make money online… and the lifestyle is awesome!
I know it’s a bold statement. But it’s true!
Ask yourself this…
Have you ever wondered why so many people are making a ton of money online?
It’s simple… they learned how to use ecommerce to sell stuff.
You don’t have to be a marketing guru to know that people buy nearly everything online.
Ecommerce is the new normal… it’s the fastest growing industry on the planet… it’s where ALL the money is being made.
And, here’s the thing…
Ecommerce is only going to get bigger!
And you can be a part of it too.
But, I know what you’re thinking: “Ecommerce sounds expensive. It must be hard to set up. Or it’s going to take too much time and effort.”
Well, the truth is, ecommerce is actually easier and way more affordable than you think!
And the benefits are huge…
You can sell anything from anywhere, no matter where you live.
You don’t have to spend a dime on education, or even go through any formal training to get started in ecommerce.
And, you don’t need a lot of money or experience to set up your online store either… all you need is a laptop, an internet connection, and some free time!
So, if you are tired of working for someone else, want more freedom, and the lifestyle to do more of the things you truly enjoy – then ecommerce might just be for you.
To help you get started, I’ve put together this easy ecommerce for beginners guide to help you learn the basics.
I’ll explain what ecommerce is, how it works and its benefits. I’ll also show you the different types of ecommercebusinesses, and how you can start your own ecommerce store today.
So, are you’re ready to start your empire?
Great. Let’s dive in!
What Is Ecommerce?
Ecommerce is the buying and selling of products or services over the internet. The term comes from a combination of the words ‘electronic’ and ‘commerce’.
Ecommerce is also known as online shopping, Internet shopping, or web-based shopping.
Ecommerce has become one of the most rapidly growing industries in the world. In fact, it’s estimated that by 2027, the ecommerce market will reach $55.6 trillion dollars worldwide.
Is it Ecommerce or E-commerce?
So is it ‘ecommerce’ or ‘e-commerce’? This is a question I get asked all the time by beginners.
The simple answer: It’s ecommerce… no hyphen.
For one reason…
Because the biggest names in the ecommerce industry including Amazon, Shopify, and BigCommerce are now all using ‘ecommerce’ without the hyphen.
Of course, you’ll still find the hyphenated term ‘e-commerce’ in Wikipedia and all the dictionaries.
But, if you’re old enough to remember, the term ‘e-mail’, which started as ‘electronic mail’ years ago, is now only referred to as ’email’. Well, now the same thing is already happening with ecommerce.
What about Google using a hyphen?
Google’s search results shows both of these terms, as well as another five terms including:
- E-Commerce, eCommerce, Ecommerce, ECommerce, and E-commerce
You can see here there are differences in hyphenation, and the use of capitalization for the letters ‘E’ and ‘C’ too.
The important point for you moving forward, is that Google Search recognizes all the terms the same way.
In fact, other big business media names like, Forbes, Bloomberg, and the BBC also use both of the terms ‘ecommerce’ and ‘e-commerce’.
But, as you move forward, I believe you will see the unhyphenated term ‘ecommerce’ more and more.
So, here on FunnelKarma, as we follow the industry… and we’re using ‘ecommerce’ and the capitalized version ‘Ecommerce’.
How Ecommerce Works
The concept of ecommerce is simple, but the process can be complicated.
So here’s the real easy version of how it works:
Ecommerce is basically the buying and selling of products online. You can buy anything from an ebook to a car through an ecommerce website or platform.
Ecommerce platforms allow sellers to list their products for sale online.
Buyers browse the listings and make purchases by paying for their purchase through an online payment service such as Visa, MasterCard, PayPal or Stripe.
You can even Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ethereum, and other cryptocurrencies as a form of ecommerce payment.
The seller receives payment for their product, then ships the product to the buyer.
The buyer receives their purchase and leaves feedback about their experience with the seller. The seller uses this feedback to improve future sales.
People tend to overthink ecommerce and forget that it’s a very simple business model.
The goal is to sell products and services to your customers with a great experience. It’s not about making things complicated or difficult; it’s about providing value.
That’s it. You don’t need to do anything else!
Ecommerce History: A Very Brief Timeline
Here’s a very brief ecommerce timeline:
1979: Englishman Michael Aldrich invents the first online shopping system. He called it Teleshopping. It involved connecting a television to a computer via a telephone line
1992: An online bookstore called Book Stacks Unlimited was launched as the first site dedicated to selling books over the internet.
1994: Jeff Bezos launched the Amazon website as a bookstore that sold books from all over the world. They now sell everything!
1995: Pierre Omidyar started eBay as an online marketplace to buy collectibles. Today, eBay is one of the most popular online marketplaces with millions of items for sale daily by sellers from around the world.
1999: Alibaba Group is established in China specializing in ecommerce.
2015: Amazon resonsible for more than half of all ecommerce growth.
2021: Global ecommerce market reached $13 trillion dollars.
2027: The global ecommerce market is forecast to reach $55.6 trillion dollars by 2027. This works out at a average growth rate (CAGR) of 27.4% during 2022-2027.
How Ecommerce Is Changing The World
The ecommerce revolution has turned the world upside down, and it’s only just begun.
With ecommerce, you can buy almost anything from anywhere in the world at any time of day.
You can also sell products to people all over the world without having to leave home either.
The world’s largest companies are scrambling to adapt to this new model of commerce, which is reshaping the way we shop, consume and interact with brands.
Ecommerce is changing more than just how we buy things; it’s also changing our entire culture.
Ecommerce has made it possible for people who live in remote areas or even in developing countries to participate in global trade.
It has also given smaller businesses a chance to compete with larger ones by lowering their costs and providing access to more customers than ever before.
The truth is, the internet has created new opportunities for ecommerce entrepreneurship that were never available before.
Why Ecommerce Is The Future
Ecommerce is not just the future… it’s the new normal.
Ecommerce is growing faster than any other sector in the world. The market reached $13 trillion in 2021 and is projected to reach over $55 trillion by 2027.
The numbers don’t lie… ecommerce sales are up.. way up!
If you look at any of the big ecommerce sites like Amazon, eBay or Alibaba, you will see that their numbers are increasing every year.
The reason for this is simple… ecommerce is convenient.
People can shop from home and not have to worry about traffic, parking, crowds… or even dealing with people.
Instead, they can order whatever they want, when they want it, and have it arrive on their doorstep the next day… or hour!.
There’s no reason to go anywhere else when you can just shop online.
What Is An Ecommerce Business?
An ecommerce business is a business that sells its products or services online.
An ecommerce business can be a brick-and-mortar shop that has an online presence. Or it can be a website that sells directly to customers without any physical presence.
Ecommerce businesses are a great way to start your own company without having to deal with the headache of rent, employees, or other expenses that come with traditional brick-and-mortar stores.
Types of Ecommerce Business Models With Examples
Here are the 6 types of ecommerce business models:
The business-to-consumer (B2C) model is one of the most common types of ecommerce business. B2C companies sell directly to consumers.
Amazon and Walmart are examples of B2C ecommerce companies.
The business-to-business (B2B) ecommerce model involves selling products and services to other businesses rather than directly to consumers.
Amazon Business and Alibaba are examples of B2B ecommerce companies.
The consumer-to-consumer (C2C) ecommerce model allows consumers to buy and sell products directly with each other, usually through an online marketplace.
Amazon Marketplace, eBay, and Etsy are examples of C2C ecommerce.
The consumer-to-business (C2B) ecommerce model is where consumers provide a product, service, or deliver value to a business rather than the other way around in B2C.
Examples of C2B ecommerce include Google Adsense, Shutterstock, and Survey Junkie.
Affiliate marketing is also an example of C2B ecommerce.
The business-to-government (B2G) model allows companies to sell products and services to government agencies, including federal, state and local governments.
Aerospace and defense companies like Boeing, or cloud software platforms like OpenGov are examples of B2G ecommerce.
Dropshipping is an ecommerce business model in which a retailer does not keep products in stock, but instead, relies on suppliers or wholesalers to physically ship products directly to the consumer.
Dropshipping is a popular way for smaller ecommerce businesses to get started because it allows you to sell products from other stores and websites.
There’s no risk of overstock or returns, and you don’t need to invest in expensive inventory or warehouse space.
An example of a dropshipping ecommerce business is AliExpress.
AliExpress is an online marketplace that lets you purchase products from overseas manufacturers and sell them in the US.
You don’t need any inventory or customer service… AliExpress takes care of all that for you.
Ecommerce Advantages And Disadvantages
Ecommerce has both advantages and disadvantages when compared to traditional brick-and-mortar businesses.
Advantages Of Ecommerce
Here are some advantages of ecommerce:
Be Your Own Boss
The best thing about an ecommerce store is that you are your own boss! You can make all the decisions for your business, and there’s no one else telling you what to do. If you want to take a day off and spend time with family, no one will say anything. It’s up to you when work needs to get done and how fast it gets done.
No Physical Location Required
You can start your ecommerce business from home or any other place on earth where there is an internet connection. You don’t have to be tied down by a physical location or have to pay rent for a store front.
Lower Startup Costs
One of the biggest benefits of selling online is that you can start with very little capital. In fact, if you use dropshipping, there are ways you can get started for free, and there are no extra costs for storage or inventory management.
Easy Access To Customers
The Internet is a global marketplace, and you can reach customers from all over the world. This means that with ecommerce, you don’t need to be limited by your location when it comes to selling your products.
No Employees Needed
You don’t have to worry about payroll or benefits. You can hire out any tasks that need to be done and pay people by the hour… rather than on salary.
Higher Profit Margins
With an ecommerce site, you have more control over the price of your products or services. You don’t have to worry about middlemen like retailers who need to make a profit from the sale of your goods.
Easy To Manage
With an ecommerce site, you don’t have to worry about managing your inventory. You can simply set up an automated system that takes care of everything for you. You can work from home and spend time with your family and friends.
Easy To Scale
With an ecommerce site, you can easily scale up your business as demand increases. You can start small and see how your business does before you invest more money into it. If it works well, you can scale up by hiring employees or outsourcing work to freelancers.
Disadvantages Of Ecommerce
While the benefits are clear, there are also some drawbacks to ecommerce. Here are some of its disadvantages.
You’re On Your Own
When you’re your own boss, there’s no one there to help you out. If something goes wrong with your ecommerce business, it’s up to you to fix it! You’ll need to find solutions on your own or hire someone else who can help out.
It Takes Time To Get Started
Starting an ecommerce business can be slow going at first because it takes time to build up traffic and sales through word-of-mouth, advertising, and search engines.
The Hours Can Be Long… And Lonely
You’ll be working long hours, especially in the beginning. And while you’re busy building your ecommerce business, it can feel like there’s no one around to talk to.
You Might Lose Money
Like any business, you can lose money… ecommerce is no different. Even if you have a great product or service, there’s no guarantee that it will sell. And if you’re not able to make enough sales to cover the bills, then you’ll lose money.
Competition From Bigger Companies
Ecommerce is very competitive, and there are many big companies that offer similar products and services. If you want to be successful, you’ll need to make sure that your online business has a competitive advantage over its competitors.
There are many different types of ecommerce platforms, each with their own features, strengths and weaknesses.
The question is: which one is right for you?
What Is An Ecommerce Platform?
Ecommerce platforms are software solutions that help you build, manage and grow your online store.
Also called ecommerce tools, they handle everything from payment processing to inventory management and shipping.
There are two main types of ecommerce platforms:
Hosted ecommerce means that the platform is hosted by a third party.
It is much easier to set up and manage than self-hosted ecommerce because you don’t have to worry about maintaining your own server or installing any software.
However, there are some limitations… hosted ecommerce can be less flexible and doesn’t give you full control over your data or store design.
Self-hosted ecommerce solutions are more complex but they offer greater freedom and flexibility. This means you can customize them more according to your needs and business goals.
What Are The Most Popular Ecommerce Platforms
If you want to start an ecommerce business, you need to choose a platform.
The following are some of the most popular ecommerce platforms available today:
Shopify is one of the most popular ecommerce platforms out there.
It has over 500,000 stores in its network and is used by businesses of all sizes and industries. Shopify’s biggest strength is its ease-of-use and simplicity.
It offers a wide range of features, including payment processing, shipping tools, analytics and more.
Wix is a very popular website builder that allows you to create beautiful online stores without any technical knowledge or design skills.
It’s similar to Shopify’s platform in that it allows you to set up your store without any technical knowledge or design skills required.
You can also choose from a great range of templates, which makes it very easy to get started quickly.
Both Wix and Shopify are great platforms for beginners.
BigCommerce is a complete ecommerce solution that allows you to build an online store and manage all of your marketing, sales and customer service in one place.
BigCommerce is geared toward larger businesses and offers a lot of features.
It’s also ideal for small businesses that want to grow big by running their ecommerce on multiple digital marketing channels.
WooCommerce is the most popular ecommerce platform for self-hosted WordPress sites.
It’s a free plugin that can be installed on any WordPress.org website to enable you to sell products online.
The plugin integrates with many popular payment gateways and shipping providers, making it easy for you to get started selling online.
Zyro is an easy-to-use and affordable hosted website builder that makes it easy for anyone to create a professional ecommerce store.
Zyro comes with a drag-and-drop platform that allows you to build your online store with no prior coding knowledge too.
Squarespace is a popular hosted website builder that offers ecommerce features.
Its intuitive interface and easy-to-use tools make it easy to create a professional looking online store.
Squarespace also offers a variety of templates that can be customized to create a unique online store.
Volusion is a popular hosted ecommerce solution that offers a variety of features and integrations.
The platform includes all the tools you need to build an online store, including a shopping cart, checkout process, templates and more.
Volusion also allows you to create your online store without any coding knowledge or web design experience.
What Is The Best Ecommerce Platform
Choosing an ecommerce platform can be a tough decision.
There are many solutions out there… each one has features that make it attractive to certain types of businesses.
So how do you know which one is best for your needs?
The answer is simple: The best ecommerce platform is the one that will help you meet your goals and grow your business.
If you don’t have a specific goal in mind, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by all the options out there.
But if you know what you want from your platform, the decision becomes way easier.
So, the first step in choosing the best ecommerce platform for you is to ask yourself some questions:
What kind of ecommerce store do you want to build?
Do you want an online store that sells physical products, digital downloads, or both?
Some platforms are better at selling physical products than digital downloads, and vice versa.
What are your goals for your ecommerce business?
Do you want to grow your business quickly and sell thousands of units per month?
Or would you rather have a smaller online store that makes enough money to support your lifestyle?
What do you want your ecommerce site to look like?
The best ecommerce platforms allow you to customize your site’s look and feel with custom themes. Others don’t offer any design options beyond basic color schemes.
Before choosing a platform, think about what kind of experience you want your customers to have when visiting your site.
If your goal is to create a ecommerce site that looks professional and trustworthy, then consider choosing a platform with more design options.
It may be more expensive, but it will be worth it in the long run!
On the other hand, if you’re just starting out and can’t afford custom designs or premium themes, then choose a platform that offers simple but functional themes at no extra cost… or even free.
How much time do you have to spend managing your ecommerce store?
Some ecommerce platforms are very easy to use but have limited features. Others are fully customizable but may require more maintenance than others.
You need to choose one based on your available time and skill set.
What kind of customer support does the ecommerce platform offer?
If you’re just starting out and you have questions about how to set up your online store, or how to promote it, then having 24/7 support could be really helpful.
The best platforms offer resources like guides and tutorials that can help get your business off the ground quickly.
What integrations are available with each ecommerce platform?
Most ecommerce platforms have some kind of integration with popular tools like Mailchimp.
Other platforms give you access to more advanced features like inventory management and accounting software integrations.
This can make running your online business easier overall.
At the end of the day, the best platform for your business depends on its features, cost and ease of use.
Consider these questions, and then go back and look at the 7 popular ecommerce platforms from the list above.
They all offer some sort of risk-free trial so you can play around… you’ll soon see which one feels right for you.
How To Start An Ecommerce Business From Scratch
Okay, so now the good stuff… how to begin!
Starting an ecommerce business from scratch can be intimidating, especially if you’re a beginner.
The good news is that it is much easier once you break the task down into small, manageable chunks.
So, here are the 11 steps I recommend you take to start your ecommerce business:
1. Understand Your Market
The first step to starting an ecommerce business is to do your research. You need to find out:
- What people want
- Who they are
- How they want to buy
You’ll need this information later on when you start creating your store. So make sure you have a good idea of what people are looking for before jumping in.
2. Find A Niche
Next, try to find a niche that’s not already saturated with competition. This means that you’ll want to look for niches where there’s room for you to stand out from the crowd.
To find an ecommerce niche, try searching on Amazon and Google’s search engine for keywords that are related to your products or services and see what comes up. You can also use Google Trends to see what niches are trending.
This will give you an idea of how many other people are selling similar items.
Ideally, try to find a niche that you are interested in. It will be easier for you to stay engaged in your store if you’re passionate about the products you’re selling.
3. Choose A Product Or Service
Once you’ve found your niche, if you don’t already have your own product or service, you need to decide what product or service you want to sell.
Keep in mind that you can’t just sell anything in ecommerce… it’s important that your items are relevant to your niche AND will help people solve a problem or need that they have.
You’ll also want it to be something that people are willing to pay for.
3. Create Your Brand
With a niche and a product or service, now it’s time to create your brand. This can be as simple as choosing a a name and designing a logo for your ecommerce business.
You want to make sure that your brand is unique, memorable, and attractive to consumers. It should be able to stand out from the competition while still fitting in with your niche.
Don’t overthink this stage or prevent it from holding you back. Business names and logos today are usually very simple and straightforward.
You can get a free logo from a site like Canva if you don’t have the funds to hire an agency.
Just make sure that your brand is consistent across all social platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, TikTok etc.
4. Create Your Online Store
The next step is to create you online store.
Simply choose from one of the best ecommerce platforms for the list in the previous section.
All of them have free trials so that you can try out their services before deciding which one to use.
I recommend you start with either Shopify or Wix.
Both of these platforms are extremely user friendly and they have amazing customer support. You will be up and running in no time with either one of them.
If you want to host your ecommerce store on WordPress, then I strongly advice you to use WooCommerce.
The WooCommerce platform is used for over 50% of the online stores in the world, so it’s safe to say that it’s one of the best ecommerce platforms available.
Once you have chosen an platform, simply create your account.
Then follow the instructions provided by your chosen platform on how to build your online store.
5. Choose A Payment Processor
The next step is to choose your preferred payment processor and shipping providers from your ecommerce platform.
Both Shopify and Wix offer integrations with various payment processors and shipping providers, so simply choose the ones that you think will work best for your business.
If you’re using WordPress to host your online buinesss, WooCommerce also integrates with a variety of payment processors and shipping providers.
So choose the ones that work best for your business here too.
6. Create Your Product Listings
Now that you have created your ecommerce store, the next step is to add your product listings.
This involves choosing the right category for your products, and writing compelling descriptions with effective copywriting. You’ll also need to add keywords, and choose photos that will attract your customers too.
7. Start Selling!
Now the fun begins… once you have your product listings set up, you can start selling from your ecommerce store!
The key to success here is to have a variety of products, set competitive prices, and make sure your store has an easy checkout process.
You must make sure customers don’t have any problems completing their orders. If you do… they will leave, never to return!
And remember, in ecommerce, you have to provide excellent customer service too.
8. Drive Traffic To Your Ecommerce Business
So you’ve now got an ecommerce business, but what about customers?
To get customers you need to drive traffic to your online store. This can be done in several ways:
- Create a blog with useful content like guides and reviews about your products. If you’re using WordPress to host your ecommerce business, then you already have a blog. This is a great way to build up your customer base, as well as getting more traffic from search engines like Google and Bing.
- Create social media accounts with all your preferred networks and start engaging with people. This helps to build a following. So when you post about your products, they will be more likely to visit your store.
- Create videos on YouTube about your products and how to use them. This is an excellent way to build brand awareness, as well as drive traffic back to your site.
- Create an email list of subscribers who are interested in hearing about your business. Then use email marketing to drive traffic back to your store.
- Put up an online ad on Google Ads, Facebook Ads, or Twitter Ads that directs people straight to your site.
The key to getting loads of traffic in ecommerce is to create content that adds value and helps people to solve their problems.
And be consistent in your in your efforts. The more you post, the more people will come back to your business to see what else you have to say.
This is the only way to build a following and make money in ecommerce.
9. Build Relationships With Influencers
As you continue to drive traffic to your ecommerce store, think about how you can build relationships with influencers in your niche.
These are people who have large social media followings and can help you get more exposure for your brand.
Try to find influencers who have audiences similar to yours, and then reach out to them with a personalized message that lets them know about your brand.
You can also try to get featured on their blog or podcast if they have one.
Your products, brand, and business can go viral overnight with the right influencer and the right content.
10. Track Your Progress
As you start getting sales and making money, it’s important to track your progress.
To do this, you can use the ecommerce analytics tools that come with your platform. They will give you data on how your business is performing.
You’ll see what products are selling well, and which ones aren’t doing so great. This way you can make adjustments as needed.
If you’re using WordPress and WooCommerce for your online business, then I suggest you install the free Google Analytics plugin so that you can start tracking your site’s performance.
Google Analytics is the most popular website analytics tool. It will give you all kinds of information about how people are using your site.
11. Optimize Your Content
As you start to track your performance of you ecommerce business, you’ll start to see certain pages that are performing better than others.
This is where search engine optimization (SEO) comes in. SEO involves optimizing your content so that it performs better in search engines.
This means adding keywords and keyphrases to your pages, but also making sure that the words are used correctly.
Both Shopify and Wix’s platforms have SEO tools built in and features to help you optimize your content.
If you’re using WordPress and WooCommerce for your business, make sure to install the free Yoast SEO plugin.
Yoast SEO is one of the best SEO plugins for WordPress. It allows you to easily optimize your content, so pages and posts on your ecommerce store rank higher in Google and other search engines.
And that’s it!
That’s how easy it is to start an ecommerce business.
As you can see, you don’t need a lot of money or experience to get started in ecommerce… and you can do it all on your own schedule.
Just follow these steps above and you’ll be well on your way to success!
So, are you tired of the 9-to-5 grind?
Do you ever feel like the world is passing you by while you sit at your desk, day after day?
Can you hear your inner voice screaming, “I want more!”?
If so, then it’s time to take control of your life, learn ecommerce, and start making money online.
Ecommerce is about selling products or services online… and it can be one of the easiest ways to start a successful online business.
No matter what your skill level or experience, ecommerce provides a low-cost way to build something amazing.
With a successful online store, you can be the boss… work when and where you want… have more freedom… more money… and the lifestyle to do the things you truly enjoy.
It’s a no-brainer… people are buying stuff all over the world, and you can sell it to them too!
Want proof that it works? Just take a look at Amazon…
Jeff Bezos started out selling books online out of his garage… and now it’s one of the biggest ecommerce companies in the world!
And you could do the same…
All you really need is passion, an internet connection and some free time!
The world has changed – and so should your business.
There’s no better time to be an entrepreneur than right now…
So why wait? Start your own ecommerce business today!
Here are some frequently asked questions about ecommerce that I often get asked by beginners: