Ecommerce Business Blueprint: How to Build, Launch, and Grow a Profitable Online Store

A complete blueprint for starting an ecommerce business.

The future of ecommerce is incredibly bright. But, starting an ecommerce business is hard work and demands many steps and decisions that need to come together at the right time.

To help, we’ve put together a comprehensive blueprint for starting a business, compiled from Shopify’s most popular content. These blog posts, guides, and videos have been organized based on the most important tasks you’ll face when researching, launching, and growing a profitable ecommerce business.

I. Choosing a product

Finding a product to sell

The first step to building an ecommerce business is knowing what products you want to sell online, wholesale, or direct-to-consumer. This often is the most challenging part of starting a new online business. In this section, we’ll highlight strategies you can use to find product opportunities, explore the best places to look for product ideas, and finally, look at trending products to consider.

Evaluating your idea

Once you have a product idea in mind, how do you know if it will sell? In this section, we’ll cover a few approaches that active entrepreneurs have used to validate their product ideas and potential market.

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Free Webinar:

How to Find and Source a Winning Product to Sell

In less than 40-minutes, let us walk you through how to find product ideas, how to validate them, and how to sell the product once you have an idea you want to pursue.

Obtaining your product

After landing on a strong product idea, your next step is figuring out where and how you’re going to obtain your products. The next four posts cover the various methods for acquiring your products, along with the pros and cons of each model.

Sell your retail products online

Many independent retailers face a challenging road ahead. Shifting your brick-and-mortar business online can help you weather this storm, generate cash flow, and build a more resilient business.

II. Research and prepare

Research your competition

You’ve found your product, evaluated its potential, and sourced a supplier. But before you get into that, you’ll need to thoroughly research your competition so you know what you’re up against and how you can differentiate your business from theirs.

Writing a business plan

With your competitive research complete, it’s time to write your business plan. A business plan is a roadmap that helps bring your ideas and thoughts together. A business plan is vital in determining what to prioritize and how to effectively reach new customers.

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III. Setting up your business

Start your ecommerce business by setting up an online store.

Naming your business

Aside from figuring out what to sell, another challenging decision is determining your business or brand name and choosing an appropriate and available domain name. These blog posts will help you tackle these important tasks.

Creating a logo

Once you’ve selected a memorable name and registered a corresponding domain, it’s time to craft a simple logo. In these resources, we’ll show you several options for creating a great logo for your new business.

Learn more: From a logo maker and business name generator to gift certificate templates and a discount calculator, Shopify offers free marketing tools to help run your business.

Understanding search engine optimization (SEO)

You’re almost ready to begin building your online store. However, before you jump into it, you should understand the basics of search engine optimization so you can properly structure your site and pages for Google and other search engines.

Free Download: SEO Checklist

Want to rank higher in search results? Get access to our free, checklist on search engine optimization.

Building your store

With a better understanding of search engines, it’s time to build out your store. There are many crucial elements to consider. Below, we’ve listed our essential reads to help you build high-converting product pages, write captivating product descriptions, shoot beautiful product photography, choose your ecommerce color palette, and much more.

Don’t forget, if you run into any problems getting your store set up, you can always hire help from Shopify Experts.

Choosing your sales channels

One of the best ways to reach new customers is to choose sales channels where they already shop. The right mix of sales channels will depend on your products and your target customers, but there are a number of great options that can complement and support your self-hosted store.


Ready to create your first business? Start your free 14-day trial of Shopify—no credit card required.

IV. Preparing to launch

As you prepare for the launch of your new business, there are several shipping and fulfillment elements you need to prepare for. In this section, we’ve curated a few comprehensive guides on how to determine your shipping strategy.

It’s also a good idea to define your key performance indicators up front so, once you launch, you know what measures of success to track.

As a final checklist, this post covers the 10 essential things you need to do before launch.

V. Post launch

Successfully launching your ecommerce business.

Acquiring your first customer

Now that you’ve launched, the hard work of marketing your products begins. While many new store owners should consider selling their physical products in person, the rest of digital marketing rests on doing one thing well: driving targeted traffic. Next, we’ll share a variety of marketing tactics that will help you in your first months.

Marketing your store

You’re well on your way and now likely have a few sales under your belt. It’s time to get serious and focused. The following posts will help you zero in on your top-performing marketing tactics or expand into new ones for driving traffic and converting that traffic to sales.

Email marketing essentials

Free Ebook: How to Grow Your Ecommerce Business with Email Marketing

Whether you're just getting started or dreaming up your next big campaign, this email marketing guide will provide you with insights and ideas to help your business grow.

Driving traffic from social

Driving traffic and conversions from paid ads

Optimizing for higher conversions

Using analytics to uncover insights

A blueprint is just the beginning

Building your own ecommerce business is as exciting as it is challenging. At a rapid pace you’ll learn a ton about choosing a product, evaluating its viability, figuring out how to get it produced, building an online store, and marketing and selling to new customers. The process can feel like you’re solving a head scratcher of a puzzle, but it’s rewarding all the same.

We hope following this resource roundup helps provide you with a clearer roadmap. As always, the best advice anyone can give is to just get started and to enjoy yourself along the way.