How to start an online retail business?

Ira Mataić / 07 Mar 2024
  • Industrija


Have you ever envisioned running your own retail business, yet felt overwhelmed by the financial demands, such as the cost of a physical storefront, employee salaries, and other related expenses?

These days you do not have to be held back by those concerns.

For entrepreneurs eager to market their products, venturing into online retail presents a practical and accessible solution.

In this text we will discuss how to set up an online retail business and how to make it thrive in the long run.

Online Retail vs. E-commerce

In order to discuss online retail properly, we should first define what it is.

You have probably heard terms such as e-commerce, webshop, online retail, online store, online marketplace and similar. People usually use all those terms interchangeably, but there are some differences between them.


Step by Step Guide on How to Start an Online Retail Business

Online retail has become a part of modern life where anyone can access various online businesses and purchase their products.

Between 2019 and 2023, the number of eCommerce sites across the entire globe grew from 9.2 million to 26.5 million. (Markinblog)

Now you might be wondering, “How do I start an online ordering business?” Starting an online store can be challenging, but the steps are relatively simple and straightforward.

1. Pick an industry

The first step is clear, define your industry and find your niche. Before you can sell products, you must define what they are.

If you are unsure what to sell think about the current trends, who your customers are and products they are interested in, and who your competitors are.

2. Create your brand

With so many online retail sites, it is important to stand apart from the competition. One of the ways to do that is by creating a unique brand.

You should look at other online store examples to see what works in your chosen industry and how to create a truly memorable brand. You should consult with a branding expert of use a platform that connects you with a freelancer.

People form an opinion about website visual design in about 0.05 seconds. (Journal of Behaviour & Information Technology)

3. Identify the needs of your customers

In order for your sale strategy to be effective, you should consider who you are selling to. Understand what products a targeted customer wants to buy and in what way will ensure success.

4. Define your products

Once you have defined your niche and target audience, it is time to pick your products. The best approach is to choose products with active demand in a market where you can make your mark.

5. Find your ecommerce platform

If you are not going to build your own servers and host the online retail business yourself, you will have to choose an ecommerce platform to do that for you.

You want an adaptable platform that supports the needed features and allows for easy business management.

6. Set up your website

Once you have defined your brand and the needs of your customers, it is time to hire a web designer. They will seamlessly blend your brand with the needed features of the website.

We have described this process in more detail in the blog “Guide on how to develop an E-commerce website”.


A good website is not just design deep; features and security are just as important. Providing a customer-friendly and secure purchasing process is paramount.

Check the regulations and local laws to create your privacy policy and provide various payment options that comply with the policy.

User-friendly layout, striking design, and well-placed features make up a good online retail website. Prioritizing these elements will not only enhance the overall customer experience but also reduce the risk of abandoned carts or negative impressions.

7. List your products

Once you have set up your website and defined your products, it is time to place them in a well-organized catalog that divides them in clear categories that are easy to navigate. Complement the user-friendly layout with SEO descriptions and high-quality images.

How Much Does it Cost to Start a Retail Website?

Many variables define the cost of creating a website.

Depending on design, website development, and custom solution development price, even with a web builder an online retail store can range from few thousand to tens of thousands of euros.


Define your goals, estimate your budget, plan out your features, and asses the cost as an investment into your future profits. If you need an estimate or advice for building your online retail site, contact us and we will be happy to help.

How to Start an Online Retail Business in Europe?

Plenty of retail companies throughout Europe are providing in-store options, home delivery and related services to accommodate customers with busy schedules. They ensure accessibility in both physical stores and on mobile or electronic platforms.

However, entering the European retail market can be challenging for new players, as it requires an understanding of diverse customer preferences across countries.

So how do you start an ecommerce business in Europe?


Given the strong competition across Europe it is not easy to break into the market, but you can still carve out a space for your business.

With proper market research and business planning you can establish yourself within a niche. You don’t even need to focus on just one market.

With the European union and other trade agreements, establishing cross-border logistics and shipping can greatly benefit your business. Implementing a proper marketing strategy paired with a business management solution, you can successfully build a profitable business.