How to start an eCommerce Business Step by Step: A complete guide for 2021

Hello future entrepreneur! So you have now decided to start eCommerce for business and are looking for more clarity on – where to begin and how to proceed. 

Don’t worry! To help you out we have put together a comprehensive step-by-step guide to help you set up eCommerce for business in 2021. 

Let us begin.

Step 1: How to choose Product/Service to sell online

This is the first step in the process of setting up your online or eCommerce for business. You need to first understand and research on what product you want to sell online.

You can start by researching on the 2021 trending list of what to sell online in India. Some resources that can help you understand these trends are Google trends and online business communities.

A few questions to ask while choosing a product or service to sell:

  Is there enough demand or need for the product/service your planning to sell?

  Does the product solve the problem/challenges for your customers?

  Will your product or service help customers with the current issues they face?

  Do you want your product/service to make a difference in your customers’ life?

  Do you want to build an online business which can change user behaviour to have a positive and sustainable impact on the environment?

Step 2: Prepare a business plan for eCommerce Business

Once you decide on what to sell online, the next step is to prepare a business plan, which is indeed a blueprint of your business.

An ideal business plan will include:

  • Summary
  • Customer research
  • Strategy

Let us help you understand these in detail.

i) How to make a summary for your online business?

Start with jotting down the highlights of your business. This will include:

  • Online store business name idea, founder details, your product or service offerings
  • Target market research
  • Plan of execution – operations, management, accessibility
  • Marketing and Sales
  • Financial analysis – cost, investment, income and revenue projections.
  • Risk analysis
  • Funding

An ideal business plan should not be more than 5-10 pages with graphics and headers. This section should be a gist of what you will be covering in the rest of the plan. You can also refer to some business plan templates to make it easy.

ii) How to do customer research?

Research your market thoroughly and understand your customer properly. Build multiple ICP – Ideal Customer Profiles, with the help of this research.

Some ideas on how you can run these researches are by distributing questionnaires in your network, running polls on social media platforms, leveraging your personal brand and network. It is extremely important to put the data and findings of your research in detail in this section of your business plan.

iii) How to maintain a strategy?

This part should be like an action plan. A good strategy will be specific, will fill in the real gap in the market, and will be actionable and doable. You should conclude your business plan with a request for funds.

Use tools like Canva to design the plan on your own or invest in a designer, if you can.

Keep revisiting your business plan to update it from time to time. You can also take up this free mojoVersity course on ‘master your business model’ powered by MSMEx.

You can also try online tools like and to build your own business plan.

Step 3: How to set up your online business

Now is the time to put the theory into practice. It is time to do the final checks before launching online eCommerce for business. Below is a quick checklist: 

  A website to sell your products on

  Payment processor to collect money in exchange for your product

  A marketing plan to spread the word of your business

  Funds to run all of the above

Let us look at the above one by one now.

i) A website to sell your products on:

You can either build a full-fledged website with tools like WordPress or start an online store on Instamojo in a few simple and easy steps in under 2 minutes.

Starting an online store on Instamojo is free, simple and does not require you to invest in a developer. You can set up your online store on Instamojo on your own or even schedule a call with the team to help you set up your Instamojo online store from the scratch at a pricing package customised for you.

ii) Payment processor to collect payments:

Lookup for a payment gateway that you can use to send payment links to your customers. Did you know Instamojo also provides this service to help you share payment links with your customers on social media pages, emails, or your online store?

iii) A marketing plan to spread the word

Build an elaborate marketing plan to spread the word about your business and get more people to discover your eCommerce business. Some ways to do so are:

  • Email marketing
  • Social media marketing
  • SEO optimisation

Here are some marketing calendar templates you can use to create a calendar and run your marketing activities in a planned and systematic way.

You can also use some free marketing tools driven by artificial intelligence and data to create unique content.

iv) Funds to run all of the above

You also need ample funds to run your business. To understand how to raise funds for your business, you can take up the free mojoVersity course on ‘funding for small businesses and deepen your understanding of the subject.

According to YourStory Research, in 2020 (till November), Indian start-ups in total revealed a whopping $8.4 billion funding in 765 transactions.

While this is 30% less than 2019, the overall investor outlook remained positive even in the event of a pandemic. The report also showed the types of businesses that got the most attention from investors in 2020. 

Bonus: Indian eCommerce Outlook Report 2021 

Taking a step back to look at the year that was (2020), Instamojo with its partner industry experts, unearthed developments for this year (2021). 

For a country that accounts for 17% of the world’s population with a median age of 28 years, some very interesting business developments took place in 2020. 

This forward-looking report will give you insights on: 

  1. Top 6 business trends that will define 2021 
  2. Buyer patterns in 2021 
  3. A look at our industry experts tryst with 2020 
  4. Top business categories for different industries 

The report has been drawn upon the experience and trends of more than a million small businesses in the country from Instamojo, LegalWiz, Syrow, Profitbooks, and MSMEx. You can download the report here.  

ecommerce for business- industry report

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