How To Come Up With An eCommerce Idea In 20 Minutes

E-commerce is how many businesses in the modern world sell their product or service. However, just because a company has an e-commerce site doesn’t mean that they’re rolling in the dough, or even making ends meet. notes that as much as 80% of e-commerce ventures fail. That’s about the expected value, given the volume of small businesses that don’t survive their first year of operation. What this reveals is one of the basic tenets of economics, the principle of supply and demand. Investopedia tells us that as supply increases, demand is expected to drop and vice versa. How successful e-commerce businesses make it is by understanding this simple economic rule and applying it to their benefit.

What Makes a Good Idea?

The supply-demand dynamic is just the first part of having a good idea. In essence, people buy products for many reasons which include:

– Things that make them feel better about themselves and builds up their egos

– Labor saving appliances and services

– Makes the buyer a happier person

– Increases their efficiency to perform tasks

While these are some of the broad categories people usually buy a product for, they are by no means the only reasons people buy something. As Psychology Today notes, people decide to buy things based on many different factors depending on what makes them happy. Using this as our basis, how can a regular, everyday person like you come up with an e-commerce idea that will sell in less than 20 minutes? It’s pretty simple in fact:

Step 1: Check the Reviews on Amazon

The start of your journey to coming up with an entrepreneurial ace-in-the-hole is to take a gander at the Amazon reviews for any particular product. The crucial reviews aren’t the ones at one or five-star reviews. Customers that are very happy or that are pissed with the retailer aren’t going to offer much help regarding the innovation of the product. The real gold mine is in the middle of the pile. Three-star reviews provide insight into why customers dislike the actual product, and some of them are very-depth with their descriptions.

Step 2: Trawl Through Reddit

Reddit terms itself the “front page of the Internet,” and it has a lot of users that think the same. Almost any topic worth discussing has a subreddit dedicated to it, including products that people have bought and didn’t particularly like. Because of the way Reddit users interact, it’s very likely that, by just observing a single thread, you could figure out the pain points of a particular product and see the things that users liked or disliked about it. People tend to be very honest on Reddit, especially about things they’ve bought. These people are the community that builds up or breaks down an industry, and they are very thorough in their criticism of the said industry.

Step 3: Check Quora and Facebook

Quora is a site that is dedicated to answering questions, and some of those answers are quite in-depth, covering everything that one could think about. Product reviews regarding a particular product, service or even an entire niche of users can be insightful if looking for a way to improve or innovate on a tried-and-true formula. Facebook is similar, but most of the candid discussion goes on in groups. While some group admins can be quite restrictive as to what can be discussed, they usually allow for the open criticism of products within a particular line. By following the groups and interacting with the posts, you can gain insight, not only into how to improve the product, but also the kind of users the product is likely to be marketed towards.

Step 4: Keyword Research

After we’ve gotten all our ideas as to how we’re going to improve the product, the next step is to leverage keywords to do the selling for us. Google’s Keyword Planner tool offers insights on some keywords that are relevant to the product and allow for it to be marketed at the right audience. If you’re promoting a refrigerator repair business then you plan your keywords around that. Using keyword planning, we can detect which keywords are most searched, which ones have less competition, and which ones offer the most reward for using them and apply that data to what we want to achieve. The column that we’re most concerned about is the one tagged “Suggested Bid.” The higher the value in this column, the more profitable the keyword is, and the more impact it has on internet searches. Keywords with high suggested bids are the ones making money for paid advertisers.

Drawing the Right Conclusions

At the end of this (more or less) twenty minutes, you should be well versed in how well the idea you initially came up with will perform. Some products don’t have a wide enough user base to market and be profitable in. Others aren’t that good for generating long-term profitability. Some of the products you’re looking at might have passed their prime and be in oversaturated markets. At the end of this time, if you find your product falls into one of these categories, don’t lose hope. You’ll choose another product and go through the process again. This isn’t wasted time by any means – it just means you get an idea of what you DON’T want to market.

The Potential for Great Things

If you have a product that makes life easy for people, is a part of a vibrant and interactive community, and has a lot of advertisers, then it’s just a matter of time before the product starts making money. It requires an investment of time by the entrepreneur, but time is all you have. Eventually, the product will take off, and once it does, there’s no turning back. That won’t happen overnight though – sticking to the plan and working through the shortfalls is all part of making a profitable e-commerce idea into a reality.


Alex is a small business blogger with a focus on entrepreneurship and growth. With over 5 years of experience covering the startup and small business landscape, Alex has a reputation for being a knowledgeable, approachable and entrepreneurial-minded blogger. He has a keen understanding of the challenges and opportunities facing small business owners, and is able to provide actionable advice and strategies for success. Alex has interviewed successful entrepreneurs, and covered major small business events such as the Small Business Expo and the Inc. 500|5000 conference. He is also a successful entrepreneur himself, having started and grown several small businesses in different industries.