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Blog / Style & trends / 10 Profitable Ecommerce Business Ideas for 2024

Style & trends

10 Profitable Ecommerce Business Ideas for 2024

10 Profitable Ecommerce Business Ideas for 2024
Ilze Elizabete Strazda

By Ilze Elizabete Strazda

10 min read

In the post-pandemic world, starting an ecommerce business is easier than ever. Whether it’s selling custom shoes or other items with print-on-demand, dropshipping products with a high profit margin, or something else entirely, operating your own online business is a good way to earn money outside of the traditional 9 to 5 work model.

But you can’t have an ecommerce business without an excellent ecommerce business idea. Lucky for you, this article is just the thing you need—we’ve put together a list of 10 profitable ecommerce business ideas for 2024.

Why start an ecommerce business?

Before we get into our list, let’s answer an important question—do ecommerce businesses actually make money? Is it even worth it? The answer is: yes, definitely.

Even before the pandemic, ecommerce was on the rise. Online commerce allowed companies to expand their reach into new audiences and ecommerce stores allowed them to significantly increase sales. As the pandemic came, ecommerce businesses thrived, and we haven’t looked back since.

Statistics show the same—people love to shop online more than ever. Ecommerce sales are expected to reach $8.1 trillion by 2027. What does this mean? It means if you’re planning to start an ecommerce website, now is the best time.

10 ecommerce business ideas for your online store

Once you decide to start selling online, how do you figure out exactly what to sell?

Well, the good news is that the possibilities are endless—you can do anything, from an apparel shop to an online grocery store. But, if you want to be successful, you have to find the right product, the right niche, and the right audience.

So, read on to find ecommerce business ideas you can try out in 2024.

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Dropshipping

Dropshipping is one of the top ecommerce business ideas among ecommerce entrepreneurs.

The popularity of dropshipping comes with some competition. Just look at the statistics—in 2022, the dropshipping market was valued at $222 billion and is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 28.4% until 2031.

At its core, dropshipping is a business model that enables you to sell products without keeping inventory or dealing with hassles like product development or shipping. 

Here’s how it works: essentially, you act as a middleman between the customer and the manufacturer. You set up your own website and sell products made by a third-party supplier. When somebody purchases a product from your site, the supplier fulfills and ships out the order.

a group of makeup productsSource: Amy Shamblen on Unsplash

If you choose to pursue this business model, be mindful of the challenges it brings. Your customers will obviously want high-quality products, so a lot will depend on your supplier. Since dropshipping is such a popular business model, you’ll have to face tough competition.

But that doesn’t mean dropshipping isn’t profitable. In fact, if you make sure your business stands out, you can make a lot of passive income with this ecommerce business. Check out this article for more info on how to make dropshipping work for you in 2024.

Print-on-demand

Print-on-demand is one of the most popular and profitable ecommerce business ideas. A relatively new commerce model, print-on-demand is expected to grow significantly over the next decade.

The print-on-demand market was valued at $6.4 billion in 2022 and is projected to hit $64.3 billion by 2032, with a compound annual growth rate of 26.4%. Crazy, right?

But how does it actually work? Here’s how: you create designs or pay a designer to create designs for you. Then your print-on-demand provider, for example, Printful, prints those designs on the products of your choice and ships them out to your customer, all under your brand name.

a woman sitting on the floor looking at a mirrorSource: Prinful

With the right provider, print-on-demand is a simple and effective business model that allows you to create your own online store and break into the global apparel market with high-quality trending products.

Plus, you don’t have to worry about printing, packing, and shipping your custom products. Since print-on-demand is a white-label service, you can establish your own brand and build a successful clothing business with this business idea.

Don’t believe it? Just take a look at how Lineman Life’s founder, Thomas, turned a meme page into a 6-figure business, creating best-selling print-on-demand products with Printful.

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Affiliate marketing

If you’re not looking to sell products and start your own ecommerce store, you can turn to affiliate marketing. Affiliate marketing is when you promote a specific brand, product, or service to your audience and earn a commission fee when your followers make a purchase using your link.

The upside of affiliate marketing is that you don’t need to create products or bother with manufacturing, packing, and shipping. You only take care of the marketing aspect of your new ecommerce business.

However, the downside is that in order to make money from affiliate marketing, you’ll need an audience. That’s why affiliate marketing typically works best for people with an established audience—people with a large social media following or a successful blog.

But everybody starts somewhere. You can try affiliate marketing with Printful’s Affiliate program—read more about it here.

a woman smiling with a plantSource: Printful

DIY crafts on Etsy

There’s good money in handmade goods. In 2023, the global handicraft market was valued at $1 billion and is expected to reach $1.9 billion by 2030, with a compound annual growth rate of 10.8%.

Personalization is a growing trend—customers are increasingly looking for personalized, unique products when shopping online and searching for ways to DIY things themselves. So now is the perfect time to start an ecommerce store focusing on handmade goods or craft supplies. And what better place to sell arts and crafts supplies than Etsy?

a screenshot of a web pageSource: Etsy

Plus, when selling on Etsy, you can easily combine it with other business models, such as print-on-demand. You can sell art supplies and merch with your art in the same store. This strategy of mixing different business models will make ecommerce profitable for you.

Online courses

Another excellent ecommerce business idea is venturing into online education. Creating and selling courses online isn’t an easy gig. But it can be lucrative—the global e-learning market is a multi-billion industry, expected to reach $336.98 billion by 2026, with a compound annual growth rate of 9.1%.

If you want to sell courses online, the first step is figuring out which skills you could monetize. Are you a talented painter or photographer? Maybe you’re a copywriting guru? Think about your skillset and find a niche.

You’ll also have to research where to publish your course. You can use online learning platforms like Udemy or Skillshare or create your own website with, for example, Shopify or Squarespace, and sell your digital products there.

Selling digital products like an online course can be a great source of passive income that doesn’t require much upkeep. Plus, if you find the right niche, you can turn your e-learning venture into a successful business.

a woman smiling with her arms crossedSource: Udemy

Coaching

If you’re into the idea of monetizing your skills but want to try something a little more hands-on than selling courses online, you can try coaching. Coaching, a subset of the e-learning industry, can be a very profitable ecommerce business idea. The global market value of the online coaching market is expected to hit $11.7 billion by 2032, with a compound annual growth rate of 14%.

Online coaching is one of those ecommerce business ideas that took off during the pandemic. It’s not hard to see why—it allows customers to receive a personalized approach to learning in the comfort of their homes.

Find a topic or subject you know a lot about. If you’re athletic, you can join the health and wellness industry and offer fitness coaching. Or, if you know a ton about sustainability, you can coach your audience about eco-friendly practices or organic and natural products. There’s a ton of opportunities out there—you just have to find something that works for you.

Fashion reselling

If you’re into fashion and have great taste, you might want to try reselling clothing. Vintage and unique secondhand clothing is an excellent niche apparel product in high demand and limited supply.

Nowadays, with the pressure for more sustainability in the fashion industry, the secondhand clothing market has been on an upswing, especially among younger people. In a survey conducted in 2021, 42% of millennial and Gen-Z shoppers said they were likely to shop secondhand for various items.

This means there’s a huge target audience—but not everybody has the opportunity or patience to dig through piles of clothing at their local thrift shop in the hopes of stumbling upon an iconic fashion piece. That’s where you come in. Your job is to search for awesome clothes that you can resell online.

An excellent example of this ecommerce business venture is content creator Melissa Tatti or @threadsobsessed on Instagram, who travels to thrift shops around the world, looking for original pieces and reselling fashion in her online store. She later resells her best picks on Depop, a platform that caters specifically to selling secondhand clothing. Melissa primarily focuses on Y2K fashions, but you can find your own niche—for example, your focus could be on 1960s/1970s mod and hippie looks.

a collage of images of different dressesSource: @threadsobsessed on Depop

Thrifted or vintage goods

If fashion isn’t your thing, you can resell other thrifted goods and items. Business ideas like dropshipping and print-on-demand can be intimidating because the competition is tough. But when you open an online antique store, you can offer genuinely one-of-a-kind products.

Start by scouting your local businesses and thrift stores to see what interesting, unique items you can buy and resell online. Whether you choose to sell antique books, home decor, art, photography, or toys, there’s bound to be an audience for those products.

You can use many channels to market your thrifted goods, but arguably the most popular is Etsy. Etsy is an online marketplace that caters specifically to thrifted and vintage items. Many sellers there have found their audience selling thrifted, vintage, or antique goods. A good example is Etsy seller TwoForJoyBooks, who has racked up 800+ sales selling antique books from the 19th and early 20th centuries.

a screenshot of a book storeSource: TwoForJoyBooks on Etsy

Your services

If you’re skilled at something—graphic design, digital marketing, programming, video, or music creation—you can bet that someone is looking for your skillset. That’s why it can be a good idea to monetize your skills with freelance work.

a man wearing headphones and sitting at a desk with a computerSource: Faizur Rehman on Unsplash

There are several ways to start your online business as a freelancer. You can start your ecommerce website and build your customer base through social media marketing. You can also offer your services on sites like Fiverr or Upwork, which are designed to connect freelancers and people who need their skills.

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Sell your photos

If you’re a talented photographer but don’t want to work with clients on specific projects through Fiverr or Upwork, you can sell your photography to stock photo sites. The world always needs stock photos, so this is a good business plan for folks who know photography and want to earn some money on the side.

Many stock photo sites will pay for your work. For example:

Websites like Adobe Stock, Shutterstock, or iStock will pay you for every time your photo is licenced or downloaded. Unsplash, on the other hand, will give you a one-time payment when your work is included in their library.

Want to learn more about starting your own business online?

Did you find any of these ideas inspiring? We’ve got more good stuff in store for you. Starting your online store isn’t that difficult, but keeping your focus and building a real ecommerce business can get tricky. That’s why you need good advice.

Lucky for you, we have some great resources. Printful, as one of the leading print-on-demand providers, works closely with some of the top ecommerce companies in the world. We regularly share updates and news about the ecommerce industry to help you along your business journey.

If you’re looking for more ecommerce business ideas or advice on design, marketing, or selling, you can check out our blog. It has a ton of up-to-date information about all things ecommerce.

a hand holding a cell phoneSource: Printful

However, if you’re more of a visual learner, you can check out our YouTube channel or Printful Academy

Ready, set, go!

Remember—building your own ecommerce business will take time, patience, and effort. And even if your startup business idea doesn’t work out right now, it can lead you to something even bigger and better.

To give you a real-life example—long before Printful became one of the leading print-on-demand providers in the world, our team started with a much smaller idea. It was an online store called Startup Vitamins that sold inspirational posters to entrepreneurs.

As the store grew, our team realized that there were no print-on-demand services that fit their needs. So they decided to start one: Printful. 10 years later, we’re one of the top print-on-demand providers, fulfilling more than 1M items every month.

So, even if your idea doesn’t work out like you hoped, see what lessons you can learn from that and keep going. We’ll be here, rooting for you! Good luck!

author

By Ilze Elizabete Strazda on May 15, 2024

Ilze Elizabete Strazda

Guest author

Ilze Elizabete is a freelance writer with a background in law and international relations. In her free time, Ilze is an avid reader and painter.

Ilze Elizabete is a freelance writer with a background in law and international relations. In her free time, Ilze is an avid reader and painter.