4 Quick Steps to Build an Online Store: eCommerce for dummies

Over the past few years, eCommerce has rapidly grown into a multi-billion dollar industry, with millions of people shopping online daily. Despite its potential, many beginners find it challenging to start an eCommerce business due to the complexity of the online marketplace. However, creating an eCommerce store can be worth experiencing and a profitable venture with the right approach and understanding of the fundamentals. 

This article will explore tips and strategies to help build eCommerce for dummies.

Preparation of eCommerce business for dummies

Step 1: Find product opportunities

Finding product opportunities in eCommerce can be a challenging task. Still, with some research and strategic thinking, you can identify potential products to help you succeed in the online marketplace. 

The easiest way to find product opportunities is to explore trending products in your industry or niche. Look for products that are gaining popularity, especially on social media platforms like Instagram and TikTok. Remember that trends can be short-lived, so research and evaluate whether a trend has staying power before investing in it.


Another way to look for trending products is to use tools like keywordtool.io or Google Trend to conduct keyword research and identify popular search terms related to your industry or niche. This can help you discover products in high demand but not offered by your competitors.

Moreover, look for gaps in the market where there is a demand, but no one is offering it. For example, no organic, non-toxic skincare products are available in your area. In that case, consider filling that gap by providing organic, non-toxic skincare products.

Finally, dropshipping is one of the popular methods for beginners in eCommerce. It’s a business model where you don’t hold inventory; the manufacturer or supplier ships the products directly to the customer. So you can test out new products without investing too much upfront.

Step 2: Research your competitors

The next step is to analyze your competitors’ products and see their offerings. Look for gaps in the market where your competitors are not providing solutions for your target audience’s needs or problems. This can give you an idea of what products you can offer to differentiate you from the competitors.

To be more specific guidance about eCommerce for dummies:

  • First, identify your competitors: You can search for keywords related to your product or industry on Google or other search engines. Then, look for the top-ranked websites and list the competitors in the search results.
  • Analyze their websites: Once you have identified your competitors, analyze them. Look at the design, layout, and user experience. Note how they display their products, how they organize their website, and what features they offer. 


  • Check their product offerings: See what products they are promoting, what products are selling well, and what products could be doing better. This can give you an idea of what products to offer in your store and what products to avoid.
  • Check their pricing strategy: Look at your competitors’ pricing strategy. See if they offer discounts, promotions, or other incentives to attract customers. Next, look at their shipping rates, return policy, and further pricing details. From there, you can build your pricing strategies and what you can offer to remain competitive.
  • Monitor their social media activity: Follow your competitors on social media and monitor their activity. Look at the type of content they post, how often they post, and how engaged their followers are. Following that, you can figure out what content resonates with your target audience and what you can do to improve your own social media presence.

Step 3: Understand your audience

Despite eCommerce for dummies, understanding your target audience is crucial to the success of any eCommerce business. Your target audience is the group of people who are most likely to be interested in your products or services and who are most likely to make a purchase. To identify your target audience, you must conduct market research to learn about their needs, interests, and behaviors. 

You can start by creating customer personas, fictional representations of your ideal customers based on research and data. These personas should include demographic information such as age, gender, income, and location and psychographic information such as interests, values, and lifestyle. Moreover, you can gather this information by conducting surveys, analyzing social media data, and using tools like Google Analytics. 

Once you have identified your target audience, you can tailor your marketing strategies and product offerings to meet their needs and preferences. Understanding your target audience can increase your chances of success in the eCommerce industry and build a loyal customer base.

Building an online website

Here is a checklist for building a website:

  1. Determine the purpose of the website: Decide what the primary purpose of the website is, such as promoting a product, providing information, or selling a service.
  2. Choose a domain name: Choose a domain name that is easy to remember and represents the website’s purpose.
  3. Choose a Content Management System (CMS): Select a CMS like Shopify, Magento, or WordPress to manage the website’s content and functionality.

TIPS: Shopify is an excellent option for beginners or “dummies” who want to make a website quickly and easily without technical knowledge. It offers various customizable design templates and features, including payment processing, inventory management, and shipping options. With Shopify, you can create a professional-looking website without coding skills or technical knowledge. Shopify also provides a 24/7 customer support team to assist you with any issues or questions.


We also compare the three most popular eCommerce websites, Shopify, Magento & WordPress.

  1. Choose a theme or design template: Choose a theme or design template that aligns with the purpose and style of the website.
  2. Develop content: Create high-quality content, such as text, images, and videos, that is relevant to the website’s purpose.
  3. Optimize for search engines: Optimize the website for search engines by using relevant keywords and optimizing metadata.
  4. Test the website: Test the website for usability, functionality, and compatibility with different browsers and devices.
  5. Launch the website: By publishing it to the web hosting server and making it accessible to the public.
  6. Maintain and update the website: Regularly maintain and update the website to keep it relevant and functional, including updating content, security, and software.

Following this checklist, you can build a functional, effective website that aligns with your goals and objectives.

Ecommerce marketing for dummies

Finally, to attract customers, you’ll need a solid marketing approach. You will only generate sales if you attract customers to your online store. It’s not like you have a physical storefront where folks might come across you. Instead, you must direct customers to your internet store.

To succeed, you must put much effort into this area. It’s also an area that must be explored, analyzed, and altered based on what brings you traffic and what doesn’t.

Here are some essential tips for beginners or “dummies” looking to get started with e-commerce marketing

Social media


Social media can be a powerful tool for eCommerce marketing. You can use social for multiple purposes, including:

  • Build brand awareness.
  • Use social media to connect with your customers and build relationships.
  • Share links to your eCommerce website on social media profiles and posts to drive traffic. 
  • Offer promotions and discounts.
  • Leverage user-generated content.
  • Partner with social media influencers with a strong following in your target audience to promote your products and increase brand awareness.

Accordingly, TikTok has become a famous platform with a 1 billion daily user app and the ability to convert viewers to buyers. Read how to promote your brand on TikTok!

SEO – Search Engine Optimization


SEO will be a cost-effective way in commerce marketing for dummies to drive traffic to the website and increase sales. SEO involves optimizing your website and content for search engines like Google so that your website appears higher in search results when people search for keywords related to your products. By ranking higher in search results, you can attract more organic traffic to your website and reach a wider audience.

SEO is also a long-term marketing strategy that can continue to drive traffic to your website even after your initial efforts have ended. Unlike paid advertising, which stops generating traffic as soon as your budget runs out, SEO can continue to drive traffic to your website over time.

Finally, SEO can help you build credibility and authority in your niche. By producing high-quality content that addresses the needs and concerns of your target audience, you can establish yourself as an expert in your field and build trust with potential customers.

Email marketing

Email marketing is another cost-effective strategy that allows beginners to communicate with many people at once without spending much money on advertising. It can also be highly targeted, allowing beginners to send personalized messages to subscribers based on their interests and behavior, increasing the chances of converting them into customers.

Another benefit of email marketing is that it can help beginners build relationships with their customers. By sending regular newsletters or updates that provide value to subscribers, such as exclusive promotions or helpful tips and advice, beginners can build trust and loyalty with their audience, leading to increased sales and repeat business.

Overall, email marketing can be a valuable marketing strategy for beginners looking to promote their eCommerce store, build relationships with their customers, and drive sales over the long term.

Retargeting and digital advertising

If the two-step above requires a long period to see the result, digital ads will give instant results. Both retargeting and digital advertising can be valuable strategies for eCommerce stores looking to increase sales and conversions. By targeting specific audiences and promoting your products in a targeted and engaging way, you can attract more potential customers to your website and increase your chances of converting them into paying customers.

Retargeting, also known as remarketing, involves showing targeted ads to people who have already interacted with your website or products. For example, if someone has visited your website but did not purchase, you can use retargeting ads to remind them about your products and encourage them to return and make a purchase. This can be a highly effective way to convert leads into customers and increase sales.


On the other hand, digital advertising involves using paid advertising methods to reach a wider audience and promote your products or services. Platforms such as Google Ads, Facebook Ads, and Instagram Ads allow eCommerce stores to create highly targeted campaigns targeting specific demographics, interests, and behaviors. 

Referral marketing


Referral or affiliate marketing is an easy marketing strategy for eCommerce for dummies in which you encourage existing customers to refer their friends and family to purchase your products or services. It is a powerful and cost-effective way to increase sales and customer acquisition. 

The best practices for referral marketing include identifying and rewarding loyal customers, making it easy for customers to refer others, creating a sense of urgency, and monitoring and analyzing the referral program’s success. Additionally, businesses should ensure that the affiliate process is seamless, the rewards are enticing, and the referral messaging is personalized and compelling. 

Calculate eCommerce business start-up costs

Calculating the start-up costs of eCommerce for dummies can be broken down into several stages and estimated costs:

Website development and design

  • Domain name registration: $10-$20 per year
  • Web hosting: $20-$200 per month, depending on the hosting provider and plan
  • Website design and development: $500-$10,000+, depending on the complexity of the website and whether you hire a professional designer or developer
  • E-commerce platform subscription (e.g., Shopify, WooCommerce): $29-$299 per month, depending on the plan and features

Product sourcing and inventory

  • Product sourcing costs: vary widely depending on the product and sourcing method (e.g., wholesale, dropshipping, manufacturing)
  • Inventory management software: $50-$500 per month, depending on the features and number of products

Marketing and advertising

  • Social media advertising: $500-$5,000+ per month, depending on the platforms, targeting options, and ad spend
  • Search engine optimization (SEO) services: $500-$5,000+ per month, depending on the scope of the work and the agency or consultant hired
  • Email marketing software: $10-$500 per month, depending on the features and number of subscribers

Legal and administrative costs

  • Business registration and licenses: varies depending on the state or country, ranging from $50-$500+
  • Legal fees for consulting with attorneys or accountants: vary widely depending on the complexity of the legal and tax issues, ranging from $100-$500+ per hour.

Payment processing and shipping

  • Payment processing fees: vary depending on the payment gateway used and the transaction volume, ranging from 2.9% + 30 cents per transaction (PayPal, Stripe) to custom rates for high-volume merchants
  • Shipping costs: varies depending on the shipping carrier, package size and weight, and destination, ranging from a few dollars for domestic shipments to $50+ for international shipments.

Overall, the estimated start-up costs for an eCommerce business can range from a few hundred dollars to tens of thousands of dollars, depending on the complexity and scale of the company. Therefore, it is important to carefully budget and plan for each stage to ensure you have the necessary resources to succeed.

Final Thoughts on Ecommerce for Dummies

In conclusion, building an eCommerce store can take time and effort for beginners or dummies. However, it can be a rewarding and profitable venture with the right approach and guidance. Choosing the right platform, knowing your target audience, and selling in-demand products are essential. In addition, experiment with marketing and advertising strategies, invest in outreach and link building and continuously improve your business. With these tips and a willingness to learn, anyone can successfully start an eCommerce business and thrive in the competitive online marketplace.

One more tip is to forget about year one profitability. Establishing a successful online store is a marathon, not a sprint. Therefore, profitability in the first year should not be used to determine business success. Instead, allow yourself 18 to 24 months to get your business. Then, with the budget guidelines outlined above, spend your first year experimenting, iterating, and reinvesting your revenues into your firm.

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