Online business ideas

38 online business ideas: watch these founders' stories

Hear from these successful entrepreneurs who turned their inspiration into thriving businesses, and learn how you can launch products in front of the the 300 million customers shopping Amazon’s stores worldwide.
Amazon online stores with various product categories displayed

Thinking of selling online, but unsure how to start your business?

We’ve got some good news.

Barriers to starting a business have never been lower. You don’t necessarily have to figure out how to process payments, manage inventory, or provide shipping on your own. Instead, you can rely on today’s infrastructure for online selling to get your business up and running.

What’s the best type of online business to start? What niches are most profitable? To determine what online business ideas are best for you, explore your interests and zero in on your strengths. Here’s a list of great ideas for beginners. You’ll hear from over 40 entrepreneurs who’ve found success across niches, plus some helpful steps to get started quickly.

Did you know?

Amazon is not just "for the big guys"

Every day, entrepreneurs use Amazon to start or grow their businesses. More than half of all units purchased in Amazon’s stores come from small and medium businesses (SMBs).
  • In 2020, 55% of products sold on Amazon were from third-party sellers.
  • In 2019, nearly 225,000 entrepreneurs worldwide eclipsed $100,000 in sales on Amazon and 15,000 U.S. businesses broke $1 million.
  • In 2018, nearly three-quarters of Amazon seller businesses only had one to five employees.

38 ideas to inspire your next online business venture

Maybe you're a beginner entrepreneur with a new invention. Perhaps you're looking for your next side gig, or wondering how to sell your beautiful handmade creations your friends are raving about.

Amazon offers tools and support designed to help small businesses compete selling online. With the right idea and hard work, you can turn your dream into a reality.

Hear from these successful entrepreneurs who turned their inspiration into thriving businesses, and learn how you can launch products in front of the the 300 million customers shopping Amazon’s stores worldwide.

1.

Start a fashion and clothing business

Promising new businesses often start with something a person is passionate about—a cause, a unique product idea, or a problem that needs a solution. What’s your motivation? For some entrepreneurs, the answer is a passion for fashion.

A recent report found the worldwide fashion retail market was valued at $300 billion in 2020. This amount could reach $360 billion in 2025.

The fashion brand ShadesDaddy found success selling online.

2.

Sell books

The Amazon you know today started with the basic idea of selling books online. Other entrepreneurs have found this to be a profitable niche, too.

3.

Sell electronics

Make people’s lives easier with electronic solutions and practical gadgets. Cozyphones made a profit with their idea to sell super-comfortable headband headphones for kids and adults.

4.

Launch a personal care brand

In 2019, U.S. health and personal care sales generated nearly $22.54 billion in online revenue. The Cut Buddy is one example of a homegrown company with humble beginnings that found success with Amazon.

5.

Sell health and fitness equipment

Are you an exercise fanatic or a personal trainer? With the right strategy, you can sell and ship products to other fitness enthusiasts across the world.

6.

Build a business selling kitchen accessories

Help customers find kitchen products to make cooking or entertaining a more delightful experience.

7.

Sell home improvement products

Home improvement is on the rise. During the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. home improvement saw strong growth. Often, instead of upgrading to new homes, people choose to renovate their existing home, making this an exciting category.

8.

Build an artisanal foods or farm-to-table food and drink business

Food and drink are always on the menu. Fusion Teas makes life tastier for their online customers

9.

Launch your beauty brand

The beauty industry is a thriving and growing niche. You can channel your beauty obsession into a successful business selling products online.

10.

Source and sell artisanal products

Thanks to selling online, artisans can market and sell their products to a global audience. This type of business can also help promote cultures and provide a source of income to communities across the world.

11.

Create handmade items

Are you an artisan who finds joy in crafting things with your hands? Amazon Handmade can help you find an audience for your handcrafted products. People from over 80 countries are now following their passion by selling and growing their online business this way.

12.

Sell products for outdoors enthusiasts

With the right products, you can help people enjoy the great outdoors while increasing safety and comfort.

13.

Sell pet products

In 2020 alone, U.S. pet owners spent $103.6 billion on their pets, and sales could grow to a whopping $109.6 billion in 2021. See how one family took their love of furry friends and turned it into a successful online selling business.

14.

Offer outdoor adventure and recreation products

A love for the outdoors can be the seedlings for a business. Combine your big idea and love of nature to create a thriving business.

15.

Sell sporting goods

Don’t let age be an obstacle to success online. See how one young woman worked her way to success while she was still in high school.

16.

Specialize in graphic design

Is graphic design your passion? Let the world know! Hear how one lifestyle and stationery brand profits from this specialty.

17.

Offer specialty foods and world flavors

When people can’t jump on a plane to experience another culture’s cuisine, they’re in luck if they can bring it to their doorstep. Such is the case with a Vietnamese noodle shop.

18.

Sell office supplies

Sometimes an idea comes to you out of challenging circumstances and can turn pain into profit. See how one innovative idea birthed a flourishing business.

19.

Start a business selling cleaning products

A Natural Marketing Institute consumer research study found over half the U.S. population will choose eco-friendly products when given a choice. Sometimes a great product idea can help families with an eye toward sustainability.

20.

Build a unique brand

Specialty branding like screen printing is a great way to personalize products, especially fashion items. Here’s how one company rebounded by taking their screen printing business online.

21.

Create and sell custom gifts and collectibles

Custom gifts can make us laugh or bring back a special memory. See how one company makes a living with a unique approach.

22.

Focus on baby and children’s products

For one couple, the experience of becoming parents made them take notice of a market opportunity that gave birth to their business.

23.

Build applications and services

Good with gadgets? The Selling Partner API is now available for registered developers worldwide to build apps for sellers using Amazon’s API or businesses looking for software integration.

Alexa is also an opportunity for builders, developers, and entrepreneurs to innovate and build a voice-first business. As of 2020, there are now more than 700,000 developers building for Alexa.

24.

Provide SEO or marketing services

Are you skilled in advertising optimization or marketing?

Amazon connects sellers who need branding and store management with trusted providers through the Service Provider Network. Send an email to inquire about becoming a provider.

25.

Fill gaps with fulfillment, storage, and inventory services

If you specialize in Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) preparation, bundling, quality inspection, returns, storage, or excess inventory services, becoming a provider with Amazon’s Service Provider Network can connect you with businesses looking for help.

26.

Focus on health and wellbeing

Look into health and wellbeing products and services to help people live longer, healthier lives.

27.

Support a healthy diet and hydration

What products have had a remarkable impact in the way you live? These products may also provide an opportunity to help others live a healthier lifestyle.

Did you know?

Almost half of businesses on Amazon are women-owned

According to a recent poll of Amazon sellers, women own 48% of the businesses selling on Amazon’s US store.

28.

Zero in on home health solutions

For innovative home health businesses, Amazon offers a broad reach and customer base that can help products and services find success.

29.

Sell home decor and comfort products

The global home decor market is estimated to reach $838.6 billion by 2027. As people move into or upgrade their homes, they may be shopping for products you can provide. Think about the products you use every day in your own home. How could they function better? What products would appeal to first-time home buyers or those looking to add more comfort to their homes?

30.

Sell products for a cause

Building a cause-driven business can help you find a fulfilling way to make money online.

31.

Write and sell your own ebook

If you have creative writing skills, you can launch your career as a writer through Kindle Direct Publishing and build your audience directly.

Did you know?

Thousands of authors have self-published on Amazon.

Since the launch in 2007 of Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP), hundreds of thousands of authors worldwide have self-published millions of books. According to the 2020 Amazon SMB Impact Report, thousands of independent authors earned more than $50,000, with more than 1,000 authors surpassing $100,000 in royalties with KDP in 2019.

32.

Sell pre-owned products

Sell high-quality, like-new items through Amazon Renewed. If your refurbished or pre-owned products meet quality standards (such as inspection and testing), they may qualify for resale. This exclusive program leverages Amazon’s trusted capabilities to get high-quality resale products in front of millions of customers.

33.

Offer subscription boxes

Have a fantastic idea for a new subscription box? Amazon Subscription Boxes enables qualified sellers to list, sell, and manage subscription boxes on Amazon.com. Find out how to apply as a qualified seller. CEO of Bitsbox, Scot Lininger says, “Amazon Subscription Boxes is our fastest growing channel for new customers. Best of all, the team provides great support and has helped us find additional ways of growing our product.”

34.

Stream your games live

If gaming is your passion, you may be able to generate revenue from it. See streaming tools for broadcast while you play.

35.

Get into filmmaking

Prime Video Direct helps independent filmmakers, distributors, and studios reach a global audience. You get flexibility on how to earn royalties, what kind of reach you want, and optimization.

36.

Start an affiliate marketing program

The Amazon Associates Program helps content creators, publishers, and bloggers monetize their traffic. Associates use link-building tools to direct audiences to recommendations. Earn up to 10% in commissions from qualified purchases. Learn more about applying and qualifying criteria.

37.

Build your brand as an influencer

If you’ve built a social media following, the Amazon Influencer Program allows you to create your own page with an exclusive URL, share your recommendations with your followers, and earn rewards on qualifying purchases. See how to get started.

38.

Specialize as a freelancer

Put your know-how to work by offering your freelancing services to sellers in need of your expertise. This might include content creation, graphic design, keyword research, product photography, or setting up accounts and listings.

One way would be to help sellers and small business owners manage and grow their Amazon businesses. As a virtual assistant, you could help with administrative tasks, product research, data entry, and other services to help run daily operations.

How to start an online business and reach millions of shoppers

Amazon has the tools to help you reach millions of potential customers.

Amazon helps you from start to finish with one streamlined option, giving you the ability to start selling quickly. With over 300 million customers worldwide and over 150 million Amazon Prime members, your online business idea can benefit from Amazon's reach. Andres Jatombliansky of Shining Buddy noted, "I'm a solopreneur, and I cannot imagine selling online without Amazon."

Did you know?

SMBs earn an average of $160,000 a year on Amazon

In the 12 months ending on May 31, 2020 American SMB sellers each had an average of over $160,000 in sales, up from approximately $100,000 a year earlier, and the number of U.S. SMB sellers that surpassed $1 million in sales grew by more than 20%.

Eight perks of building your own business online

You have many options when it comes to launching your business. Here are some reasons to consider using Amazon to launch or scale your online selling business.

1.

Create your branded store online

Build brand awareness, get your own Amazon URL, and advertise all in one place. You don’t have to know how to code or be a design expert. Amazon Stores allows you to offer multi-page, immersive shopping experiences to customers online. Sellers with existing brands can build their online store exactly the way they want it to look.

To help your brand thrive, Amazon offers helpful tools. Customize with A+ content and brand registry, measure store performance with Brand Analytics, and promote your brand with Sponsored Brands.

2.

Work from anywhere

One of the perks of owning your own business on Amazon is you can outsource functions like shipping and order fulfillment, giving you the possibility to work from anywhere you’d like.

Living in a small town and loving it? See how these entrepreneurs reach global customers without leaving the land they love.

3.

Get tools to help you grow

Amazon looks for ways to help small and medium-sized businesses. Data from Amazon’s 2020 SMB Report shows third-party seller products account for more than half of all units sold in Amazon stores, with an average in the U.S. of more than 6,500 products per minute.

In 2019, Amazon invested 15 billion dollars and launched 225 new tools and services to help third-party sellers grow and thrive. One resource is the Amazon Small Business Academy, where you can explore webinars, discussion videos on demand, Pathways series, and more tools to empower small business owners.

If you have an innovative, original product to sell, check out Amazon Launchpad. To help spark growth, Launchpad will award $240,000 in small business grants in 2021.

Amazon’s numerous brand tools can help you build, grow, and protect your business.

4.

Lower the costs of starting your business

You have flexibility when starting your online business, but the sheer choice of options can be overwhelming. To find the combination for you, start by checking out the beginner’s guide to selling on Amazon.

With Amazon, different selling plan options give you the freedom to pay per sale or with a monthly fee, so it’s possible to launch with little upfront cost. As you grow, your options can grow and change with you. The actual cost to sell on Amazon depends on the decisions you make about what and how you will sell. Costs vary depending on selling plan, fees for your product category, how you fulfill your orders, and potential other expenses.

5.

Gain access to millions of online customers

Why limit the borders of your business? Selling products online affords you the incredible potential to expand your brand reach—nationally and globally. Amazon receives more than 300 million unique visitors per month, with over 150 million Amazon Prime members. As of 2019, 214.8 million users visited Amazon’s websites per month. That’s a lot of potential eyes on your brand.

6.

Have the option to outsource storage and fulfillment

The costs of storing and shipping products can add up. Get to know how your storage and fulfillment options are impacting your bottom line, whether you use merchant fulfillment, a multi-channel hybrid, or streamline the whole process in one place.

With Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA), Amazon’s fulfillment centers can handle product storage, packaging, and shipment for your business. Benefits include:
See how sellers have reaped the benefits of using FBA and how it has helped them increase sales and scale faster.

7.

Connect with resources and thriving communities

Entrepreneurs are creators, using their ideas to start, build, invent, and experiment. Amazon works to support and empower businesses through resources, learning tools, logistics, services, and programs. Tools like Seller University training videos and Seller Central Forums exist to help your business grow.

8.

Get expert help from Amazon-approved vendors

Want to expand your business? Amazon’s Service Provider Network provides a directory of third-party service providers to help you build, manage, and scale your business. Providers are vetted and continuously monitored to ensure the highest quality remains on the Amazon trusted local provider list. The Marketplace Appstore features apps from Amazon and third-party software providers to help you increase efficiency, automate, report, research, and more.

Amazon is built to support entrepreneurs like you

Since Amazon opened to third-party sellers 20 years ago, we’ve welcomed business owners and entrepreneurs from all backgrounds, enabling them to reach millions of customers and grow their businesses. In 2020 alone, Amazon provided more than one billion in AWS credits to help early-stage startups. Paul Miller of Cozyphones says, “I don’t think people understand, more than half of the Amazon marketplace is represented by entrepreneurs like myself.”

FAQ

Is online business a good idea?
Selling online can be a powerful tool to reach millions of potential customers worldwide. An online store isn’t restricted by location and can give you the freedom to work from anywhere. Small and medium businesses selling on Amazon come from every state in the U.S. and more than 130 countries worldwide.
What is the best online business to start?
Think about your strengths and what matters to you. Do you have a solution to a common problem, a new invention, or a niche product you want to sell? Check out this list of online business ideas and hear from entrepreneurs who have started and grown their successful online businesses.
What kind of online business is most profitable?
You can find success across various niches. To find a niche you can thrive in, do customer research and consider sourcing or creating products that will help a specific set of customers you have in mind. Picking the right sales channel for your needs, promoting products, and fulfilling products quickly can also help boost sales. To learn more, consult our ecommerce business guide.
What type of online business can I start?
Products, services, B2C, B2B—you name it! Let your imagination take the lead and check out this list of online business ideas for inspiration.
How can I start a small business online?
Amazon provides numerous tools to support your business growth. More than 1.7 million small- and medium-sized businesses around the world sell on Amazon. Ready to explore? Here’s how to start selling on Amazon.
What is the best online business to start from home?
What are your strengths? What are you passionate about? What products do you use on a day-to-day basis and wish were better quality? One of the biggest perks of starting an online business is you can do it from anywhere. Learn how to start an ecommerce business to match your skills and goals.

Start selling today

$39.99 a month + selling fees
carat
carat
Online business ideas