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Start an eCommerce Business with No Money: The 2024 Complete Guide (+ Exclusive Promotion)

GemPages Team
13 minutes read

Do you aspire to become your own boss but haven't come up with any business ideas? Do you have a product and are eager to launch your own venture yet don't know where to start? Do you encounter budget challenges when developing a financial plan for your firm? 

If your answer is 'Yes,' we are here to assist you in the initial stages of your online business endeavor, from ideas to the actual launch. This article provides a comprehensive guide to how to start an eCommerce business with no money, as well as essential tips to help you kickstart your entrepreneurial journey successfully.

How to Start an eCommerce Business with No Money [2024]

Step 1: Start with a business idea

Before stepping into the actual plan of starting an eCommerce business with no money, every seller needs a business idea of what, why, and how to put on sale. It sounds simple but requires thoughtful research to ensure your business is profitable.

Identify products to sell

The very first step is always the hardest. Every entrepreneur has to decide what product or product line that will sell. The product should not only align with your expertise but also fit into the market's demand. There are several ways of identifying trending and in-demand products, for example, using tools like Google Trends.

For instance, if you are planning to open a pet food store in Japan, you can search for the topic on Google Trends, select a region and custom time range to see whether the niche product is in demand.

how to use Google Trends to find products to sell

The demand for pet food over the past 5 years in Japan

There was a peak in pet food demand in 2019, but overall the search volume is still stable and predicted to increase soon. By analyzing the niche with Google Trends, you can gain a deeper insight into the market to start an eCommerce business with no money.

Choose a business model

You may have heard about different ways of selling products online, including traditional models like wholesale or retail. However, if you are new to the field, we suggest two ideal and trending models to start an eCommerce business with no money: dropshipping and handmade crafts

  • Dropshipping: 

The dropshipping model involves promoting products through an online storefront, where you receive orders directly from your customers. Once orders are placed, you forward them to the suppliers and let them handle everything else, including the entire product-making and fulfillment process.

Learn more: Is Dropshipping Worth It? (2023 updated)

  • Handmade products:

If you master crafting products on your own, consider selling your handcraft creations online. Though it seems more complex than drop shipping, requiring careful management of order fulfillment and shipping, it might bring a significant rewarding experience. 

Step 2: Conduct market research

Having a product to sell is not enough. The product you think is ideal and profitable may not sell because you picked the wrong target market or target customer. To avoid failure and wasting time, you need to conduct market research beforehand to get insights into the market you are entering. 

Identifying target audiences

Defining target audiences helps you understand your potential customers, their preferences, and their behaviors. Knowing your target market allows you to tailor your products or services to meet their specific needs, increasing the chances of success.

We recommend using a totally free tool to define your buyer personas. The tool will guide you through a couple of questions related to demographic traits, jobs, habits, etc, from which you can come closer to your potential target.

Hubspot free buyer personas identification toolDefine your buyer personas using a free tool

Staying informed about current market trends is essential for any business. Market research provides insights into what's popular, what's fading, and emerging opportunities. This allows you to align your offerings with market demands, keeping your business relevant and competitive.

A practical way to get the insights you need is by creating surveys and collecting data from your customers and potential customers. You can consider using SurveyMonkey to conduct surveys, ask your target audience to answer the questions, and then analyze responses. 

Free market research survey tool by SurveyMonkeyGet insights from your target market using free surveys by SurveyMonkey

Assessing demand and supply

Knowing the demand for your product or service helps you anticipate market needs. Additionally, understanding existing competition and potential gaps in the market allows you to position your business strategically, ensuring there's a demand for what you offer.

A free yet valuable tool to conduct desk research you can utilize is Statista. It is one of the most popular tools that provides statistics, reports, and insights into various industries and markets. For further information, you need to buy the Premium plan. However, the Statista basic plan still provides adequate information for small-sized businesses' needs.

report about sneakers provided by StatistaThere are some free reports available on Statista

Want to turn your store into a cash cow?
With GemPages page builder, you can create compelling store pages that wow visitors and convert them into buyers.

Step 3: Build a website

Building a website to start an eCommerce business with no money
Building an eCommerce website to sell products

Choose a website builder

An attractive digital presence is indispensable for starting an eCommerce business with no money. Yet, not everyone possesses the know-how to code the whole eCommerce website. That's where Shopify and its apps come in. With Shopify, the steps of creating a website will be simplified, and individuals can design their distinctive websites with minimum coding.

Shopify is an all-in-one website builder platform where anyone can customize an online store and start their own business with ease. You can sign up for a free Shopify account and utilize the Shopify free trial option to get first-hand experience with its user-friendly features and best free Shopify apps to enhance functionality and business operations.

Best practices to create a store on Shopify

Design a well-branded and conversion-centric website

An online store is one of the means of communication with your customers. What is shown on the website will convey all the business messages and values, differentiate it from other brands, and enhance brand recognition. To align your brand identity with your website design, you need to maintain the consistency of all digital visuals, from typography and color palettes to elements throughout the pages.

Pro tip: Color is one of the decisive visual factors to impress website visitors. You can learn more about Color Schemes + Color Palette Ideas or find your style at GemPages' pre-built templates

You can see from a page of Inspirato - a luxury travel club, that the web page was designed consistently and brings travel vibes from background images to text fonts and colors, helping visitors recognize the brand instantly.

Inspirato subscribe page built with ShopifyInspirato’s web page contains the brand identity

In addition, the website design should also be optimized to boost the conversion of visitor's actions. You should place several Call-to-Action (CTA) buttons on the web pages to drive visitors to take action. Your site's CTAs could be 'Buy now', 'Subscribe' (to the newsletter), or 'Learn more', etc.

Pro tip: The CTA button is like the soul of a website. In addition to making simple appeals, optimize them by incorporating benefits that buyers gain such as "Try now for free"; "Enjoy package with $1". Design it now!

For instance, on The San Diego Union-Tribune's product page, there are CTAs like 'Add to cart' and 'Write a review.'

The San Diego Union-Tribune website built with ShopifyCTA buttons designed in a The San Diego Union-Tribune’s product page

Don’t forget to enhance device responsiveness

Mobile responsive optimization is a key point in improving user experience. Imagine your customers having trouble accessing your website with their mobiles or experiencing downtime; they might leave your website immediately.

It's not easy to optimize page speed or screen resolution when you're not a tech expert. Therefore, consider using a mobile-optimized website builder instead. The ability to quickly access your website regardless of device can reach more potential customers with less time and money.

Learn more: Top 9 Mobile Landing Page Designs for Inspiration in 2024

Customize templates with GemPages

Website-building platforms like Shopify may still have obstacles, such as template limitations, usability inconveniences, or the absence of integrated AI support. Therefore, users struggle to create brand-aligned, conversion-optimized and mobile-friendly web pages. 

GemPages is a drag-and-drop page builder that will assist entrepreneurs in effortlessly customizing a functional website. GemPages offers a number of templates and elements, as well as the image-to-layout AI feature enabling users to convert website layout from a URL or image instantly.

GemPages offers a variety of templates for eCommerce website
GemPages’s templates for eCommerce website

Step 4: Choose your product sourcing and fulfillment methods

In this step, you must select the right supplier for your product and create order fulfillment strategies. Choosing a product supplier might take a lot of time. For those with limited time, utilizing applications that offer dropshipping services from a large and reputable retail store can be beneficial.

While platforms like Shopify assist sellers in order management and shipping, integrating apps can be a cost-effective approach to starting an eCommerce business with no money. You can try using one of the order tracking integrations (some of which even offer free trials) to tailor your sales funnel and optimize operations for your business.

Efficient and reliable product sourcing and fulfillment contribute to positive customer experiences. Timely deliveries, accurate order fulfillment, and well-handled returns enhance customer satisfaction, fostering loyalty and positive reviews.

Step 5: Create a marketing plan

In order to promote and expand your business, you need to develop an effective marketing plan that aligns with your startup's goals and sets the stage for effective promotion and growth.

Set clear marketing goals

Establish specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) goals for your marketing efforts. This could include goals for brand awareness, customer acquisition, sales, or other key performance indicators.

Conduct a SWOT analysis

Evaluate your startup's strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT). This analysis will help you identify areas to leverage and potential challenges to address in your marketing plan.

Choose marketing channels

Select the most effective marketing channels to reach your target audience. This could include digital channels like social media, email marketing, content marketing, search engine optimization (SEO), as well as offline channels such as events or partnerships.

Monitor and adapt

Regularly review your marketing plan and adapt strategies based on the performance data and market changes. Stay flexible and be willing to make adjustments to optimize your results.

Start selling on Shopify for $1/month
Try Shopify for free, then enjoy the next 3 months for $1/month on select plans.

Exclusive Discount Package to Help You Start your eCommerce Business with No Money

Hold on! Before you start, we would like to offer an exclusive discount package to assist you in embarking on your business journey. The package, available at just $1, empowers you to start your online business without worrying about capital investment. We recommend you sign up for this package to ensure profit at the early stages.

Shopify 1$ promotion package for business startersExclusive promotions for your business

Important note: GemPages' is now offering Mother & Father's Day promotion: 20% Off Monthly Plans. It is exclusively for first-time GemPages users! From April 1 to June 30, 2024, UTC. Grab it now!!!

What’s in the package?

    Who is suitable for the package?

    The package suits all merchants, from individuals starting their online sales journey to businesses, regardless of company size.

    How to get the deals?

    1. Sign up for a free Shopify trial account expiring in 3 days

    Go to the Shopify website and click on the Start free trial button. Provide the required information, enter your email address, and create a password for your account.

    Shopify sign up for free
    Create a Shopify free account

    2. Add products

    Start adding your products to your store. Go to the "Products" tab in the Shopify admin dashboard and click Add product. Fill in the product details, including title, description, images, pricing, and inventory information.

    How to add products to ShopifyAdd products to your Shopify store
    3. Choose a theme and customize the design

    Customize the look of your online store by choosing a theme. Hit Customize theme or navigate to "Online Store"> "Themes" to explore and select a theme.

    Customize theme and design your Shopify store
    Hit Customize theme to choose a theme for your store

    4. Set up your store

    Enter your store name and some basic information about billing and currency. You can purchase a subscription plan after 3 days of trial.

    Set up Shopify store name and contact information
    Edit your Shopify store profile

    5. Configure payment gateway

    Set up your preferred payment gateway to accept payments. Shopify supports payment providers like PayPal, Amazon, Apple, and Google Pay. Click on Set up Payments or "Settings" > "Payments" to configure your payment options.

    Shopify offers a variety of payment methods, including Visa, Mastercard
    Add a payment method to your Shopify store

    6. Select a subscription plan

    When your Shopify free trial expires, decide on a plan that is appropriate for your business size and claim any plan with Shopify 1$ for the first month.

    Shopify subscription plans starting at 1$
    Shopify subscription plan pricing

    7. Install GemPages

    Look for GemPages Landing Page Builder in the Shopify app store. Install GemPages. You will need to enter your store domain. Hit Log in, and it will direct you to your Shopify Admin page. Click on Install to proceed with the installation. After GemPages is installed, you can access the Dashboard of your GemPages and enjoy free GemPages page design.

    GemPages Landing Page Builder in Shopify app store
    GemPages installation for your Shopify store
    8. Add Dropshipman App

    Access the Dropshipman app via this link Dropshipman download. Hit Install, and a pop-up will appear, requiring you to log in to your store domain. After getting back to Shopify Admin, install Dropshipman. You can continue using the free plan or upgrade to a paid plan with our 50% discount code.

    Dropshipman: Easy Dropshipping app in Shopify Admin pageAdd Dropshipman to your Shopify store

    9. Integrate Parcel Panel

    Install Parcel Panel by accessing the link to Parcel Panel in the Shopify app store. Follow the same steps as when installing Dropshipman to finish the installation. From there, you can personalize the tracking page and get a 30-day free trial for any subscription plan.

    Install Parcel Panel Order Tracking to your Shopify store
    Install Parcel Panel Order Tracking to your Shopify store

    Following these steps, you can effectively set up and use Shopify for your online business and start your eCommerce business with no money. Keep in mind that Shopify and GemPages both offer extensive resources, tutorials, and a supportive community to help you along the way.

    Learn more: Get more deals from GemPages, Dropshipman, Parcel Panel, and 17+ Shopify Apps exclusively for this Mother's and Father's Day and significantly boost your conversions.

    Our subscription recommendation for different types of businesses

    To make the most out of Shopify 3-month trial and promotions from GemPages and other apps, we divided into 4 options suitable for different online sellers.


    Small businesses

    SMEs (Small-to-medium Enterprises)



    Basic Plan

    Shopify Plan

    Shopify Plan

    Advanced Plan


    Free Plan

    Build Plan

    Optimize Plan

    Enterprise Plan


    Free Plan

    Pro Plan

    Pro Plan

    Plus Plan


    Free Plan

    Essential Plan

    Professional Plan

    Enterprise Plan

    Total price

    from ~$5/mo
    ($1/mo for the first month)

    from ~$87/mo
    ($30/mo for the first month)

    from ~$201.95/mo ($74.95/mo for the first month)

    ($224.95/mo for the first month)

    Main features

    - 1 Published Page

    - 3 sourcing requests per day

    - 20 orders tracking per month

    - Unlimited published pages
    - Unlimited product import

    - 200 orders tracking per month

    - Unlimited sections
    - Unlimited product import
    - 2000 orders tracking per month

    - All unlimited features
    - Automated product pricing
    - 25,000 orders tracking per month

    In this article, we have described the step-by-step guide of how to start an eCommerce business with no money, from selecting products to sell on Shopify to suggesting the best free Shopify apps. Along with the guide, we also offer an excellent deal for future entrepreneurs with prices starting from only $1. 

    Customize your Shopify store pages your way
    The powerful page builder empowers you to create store pages that bring unique experiences and convert customers. No coding needed.


    What are the costs of GemPages’s other subscription plans?
    GemPages offers 4 plans for different sizes of businesses and purposes. With the free plan,you can customize your website with a variety of elements and templates, and then publish your first page. As you become more familiar with the app and your business expands, you may need to upgrade to a paid subscription plan.
    Find out more about GemPages pricing (including monthly and yearly bill).
    How to find trending products to sell on Shopify?
    Identifying trending products is crucial for the success of your Shopify store. Here are several strategies to help you find trending products:
    1. Google Trends:
    Use Google Trends to find products to sell by exploring the popularity of specific keywords over time. This tool provides insights into the search volume for different products and helps you identify rising trends.
    2. Social Media Platforms:
    Monitor social media platforms, especially Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter, to identify products gaining traction. Look for hashtags related to your niche, and pay attention to what influencers and users are discussing.
    3. Shopify Apps and Tools:
    Leverage Shopify apps and tools designed to help you find trending products. Some apps provide insights into popular items, while others assist with market research and trend analysis.
    4. Competitor Analysis:
    Analyze your competitors to see what products are performing well in your niche. Keep an eye on successful stores, check their best-selling products, and identify any gaps or opportunities.
    5. Consumer Reviews and Feedback:
    Explore consumer reviews on various platforms to understand what products are receiving positive feedback. This can provide insights into customer preferences and help you spot potential trends.
    Remember that trends can vary by region and industry, so it's important to tailor your product selection to your target audience. Additionally, while trends can be profitable, building a successful store often involves a balance of trending products and evergreen items that cater to long-term consumer needs.
    How to use Google Trends to find products to sell?
    Here is a short guide on how to use Google Trends to explore the best products to sell online.
    1.Look for specific product ideas or categories in the 'Trending Searches' section on the Google Trends homepage. Google Trends will display the search interest over time, helping you identify if there's a consistent demand for the product.
    2. Utilize the filters to narrow down your search. You can filter by location, time range, and category to obtain more insights about the products.
    3.Look for the 'Related queries' and 'Related topics' sections. This can provide additional ideas and understanding of related products or niches that are profitable.
    4.Use the insights from Google Trends to assess the level of competition for the chosen product. A balance between demand and competition is crucial for success.
    Is Shopify free?
    Shopify is not entirely free, but it does offer a 3-day free trial that allows you to explore and set up your online store without making any payments upfront. During the trial period, you can test the platform's features, add products, customize your store, and get a feel for how Shopify works.
    After the free trial period, if you decide to continue using Shopify, you will need to choose a subscription plan based on your business needs. Shopify offers various pricing plans, each with different features and capabilities. However, you may take advantage of Shopify 1$ for the first-month plan before committing to a premium subscription.

    Start selling on Shopify

    Start with free trial, then get your first month for $1.

    Start free trial
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