Remarkably malleable, e-commerce lends itself to a wide variety of business models and concepts. Even within product retailing, the possibilities are limited only by what you can affordably deliver to a consumer’s home.
So, if the idea of owning an e-commerce concern appeals to you, but you’re struggling to come up with the right opportunity, here are some online business ideas you may not have considered.
Even better, the best ecommerce website builders, like Shopify offer lots of templates you can use to create a good-looking “storefront” with all of the features you’ll need to run the business. This approach reduces startup costs considerably.
Perhaps the most familiar example of this is the wine club model pioneered by vintners. When you sign up, they’ll agree to send you a collection of wines at a given interval in exchange for an annual membership fee or monthly dues.
This archetype can be pursued for a wide variety of products that require frequent replenishing. One of the most notable in recent memory is the Dollar Shave Club.
Watch, Jewelry and Fashion Rentals
People love looking good, but they loathe the high prices that come along with luxury timepieces, haute couture, and fine jewelry. Offering the loan of these items for a fee can be a lucrative enterprise.
With the proper insurance and safeguards in place, it can also be relatively worry-free. People put up their credit cards as collateral, just as they would when renting a car.
This is another place where the subscription model could be an effective strategy. Further, as pieces age out, you can sell them at reasonable discounts, giving you an additional stream of revenue.
Virtual Fitness Club
Year-round demand and a steady stream of people concerned about their appearance give this concept “legs.” You can sell equipment suitable for the environment of each “member.” As an example, you can tailor whole body workouts to equipment someone can buy from you and put away when it isn’t in use if they live in a small space.
Modifying the subscription model, you can offer workouts on demand through streaming video for members of your virtual fitness club. As for equipment, you can partner with a supplier and have it drop shipped to your customers, so you don’t have to warehouse equipment or even pay for it—until it sells.
Print on Demand for Clothing and Accessories
Of course, T-shirts were your first thought when you read that heading. But print-on-demand can be so much more. Hats, button-down shirts and polo shirts for conventions, media events, and trade shows are an evergreen application for this idea. Also, in favor are drinking glasses, coffee cups, and water bottles. The possibilities go on and on and on. In addition to businesses, there are car clubs, pet clubs, chess clubs—you’ll never run out of groups to which you can market.
Sure, Airbnb is the 800-pound gorilla in this space, but there’s always room for a niche player. Simply narrow your focus to an area about which you have insider knowledge and can make personal connections with property owners. This can be especially lucrative if you live in a resort area or tourist destination. You can build a lucrative business with a nice portfolio of properties and some creative promotion.
Any of these five online business ideas you may not have considered have the potential to generate strong revenue streams. Of course, like with any occupation, you’ll need passion, dedication, a solid plan, some hustle, and creativity to be successful. However, if you put yourself wholeheartedly into any of these, they will work for you.