How to start an eCommerce business in Canada

start ecommerce business in canada

According to reports by Statistica, retail commerce in Canada has garnered as much revenue as 52 billion U.S. dollars in 2022. It is expected to increase to 94 billion U.S. dollars by 2027. It shows Canada has a great opportunity for eCommerce businesses to capture a fair market share and make money out of it. If you aspire to be a successful businessman, you must pursue starting an online store in Canada. This article is going to help you guide through the entire process. 

What is an eCommerce Business?

An e-commerce business refers to buying and selling goods and services online. It’s a revolutionary idea that changes how we work and interact with businesses.

An eCommerce business facilitates customers to browse various products, order them and make secure payments to buy those products with convenience. Such convenience, accessibility, and globalization of e-commerce have contributed to its rapid growth and popularity.

From a small store to a multinational giant, e-commerce is the ultimate key to reaching a wider audience and thriving in the digital world.

Steps to Start an eCommerce Business in Canada

Canada is a multicultural country that is attracting people across the globe for work and business opportunities. Toronto is the business hub, whereas Vancouver is the tech-focused state that is attracting tech talent. Starting an eCommerce business is a viable option as it requires limited resources and budget.

Market Research

Thorough market research is vital for your e-commerce business in Canada. Identify potential products or services, assess demand, analyze competitors, and understand your target audience’s preferences. Review the top eCommerce platforms such as Amazon, eBay, Etsy, Kijiji, BestBuy, etc. Find the most selling products, identify the gap and problems customers are facing, and come up with an innovative product that serves the right solution. This research will guide your business decisions, ensure product-market fit, and set you apart from competitors.

Business Plan

Create a comprehensive business plan encompassing your ecommerce goals, marketing strategies, financial projections, and operational approaches. A well-structured plan acts as a roadmap, helping you navigate challenges and capitalize on opportunities while building a sustainable and profitable venture.

Choose a Business Structure

Selecting the right legal structure is crucial for your Canadian eCommerce business. Consider factors like tax implications, liability protection, and management control. Choose between sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, or limited liability company (LLC) based on your specific needs and long-term vision.

Register Your Business

Register your ecommerce venture with the relevant Canadian government authorities. Obtain a Business Number (BN) from the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) and any required permits or licenses depending on your products and location. Proper registration ensures legality and helps build trust with customers.

Select a Name and Domain

Your business name and domain play a significant role in brand identity and recognition. Choose a unique, memorable, and brand-relevant name. Secure a suitable domain that aligns with your brand and product offering to enhance online visibility and credibility.

Build Your eCommerce Website

A well-designed and professional website is the core of an online business. You can use platforms like  Shopify, WooCommerce, and other popular choices to create stunning websites for your business. It will Showcase your products effectively, implement easy navigation, and provide a seamless shopping experience.

Secure Payment Gateway

Instill trust in your customers by integrating a secure payment gateway into your ecommerce website. Offer multiple payment options, encrypt sensitive data with SSL certificates, and follow industry best practices to safeguard customer information during transactions.

Product Sourcing and Inventory Management

Choose reliable sourcing channels for your products or develop digital offerings. Implement an efficient inventory management system to monitor stock levels, avoid stockouts, and streamline order fulfillment processes for better customer satisfaction.

Shipping and Fulfillment

Develop a well-organized shipping strategy tailored to your ecommerce business. Consider factors like carrier selection, shipping rates, and delivery times. You can opt for third-party logistics (3PL) providers to handle fulfillment efficiently and focus on core business aspects.

Legal Compliance

Adhere to Canadian laws and regulations concerning ecommerce businesses. Familiarize yourself with consumer protection laws, privacy regulations, and other legal requirements. Display clear and accessible policies, including a privacy policy, on your website to ensure transparency and compliance.

Marketing and Promotion

A well-executed plan is a bedrock to gain more customers for your online business. You can use various social media channels to promote and advertise your products and services, engage your customers and finally increase your sales. 

Customer Service

Prioritize exceptional customer service to build long-lasting relationships with your customers. Respond promptly to inquiries, resolve issues professionally, and provide hassle-free returns or refunds. Satisfied customers are more likely to become loyal brand advocates.

Track and Analyze Performance

You can use different analysis tools to check your website performance, analyze sales data, and gain insights into customer behavior. After gaining enough data, you can identify your strengths and weaknesses, optimize strategies, and achieve continuous improvement.

Scale and Expand

As your ecommerce business flourishes, consider expanding your product range or exploring new market segments within Canada. Continuously innovate, stay adaptable to changing market trends, and seize growth opportunities to maintain a competitive edge.

Is Canada the Best Place to Start an eCommerce Business?

No doubt about it, eh? Canada is a top pick for savvy entrepreneurs seeking ecommerce success. Why, you ask? This land of maple syrup and mounties offers a perfect recipe for a thriving online business.

First and foremost, Canada’s booming economy sets the stage. The abundance of tech-savvy Canucks with a penchant for online shopping fuels the ecommerce fire. And let’s not forget the high internet penetration rate everyone’s connected from coast to coast.

But that’s not all. The Great White North boasts a stable political and economic climate, eh? With robust consumer protection laws, customers feel safe when clicking “Buy Now.” And oh, the digital infrastructure—so well-developed that it’s practically singing “O Canada” to your online dreams.

But wait, there’s more! Canada’s strategic location and trade agreements open doors to possibilities. Cross-border trade becomes a breeze, eh? No borders can hold you back.

And here’s the cherry on top—the business-friendly policies and digital readiness. You’ll be flying high, eh? Launching your ecommerce venture with ease, knowing you’re in good hands.

So, whether you’re a moose-loving merchant or a tech-savvy trailblazer, Canada beckons you to embrace the online business in Canada and ride the ecommerce wave to success.


Embarking on an ecommerce venture in today’s digital era can be highly rewarding and profitable. The surging popularity of online shopping and the demand for convenience present immense opportunities to connect with a global customer base. However, navigating the competitive landscape requires meticulous planning, thorough market research, and a customer-centric approach. 

By crafting a comprehensive business plan, ensuring legal compliance, delivering exceptional customer service, and staying agile to market trends, entrepreneurs can establish a thriving ecommerce enterprise. Dedication, innovation, and adaptability are key to unlocking boundless potential, making the journey of building a successful online store both gratifying and financially fruitful.


What is an eCommerce business? 

An ecommerce business is a digital marvel, a dynamic venture that thrives in the virtual realm. It leverages the power of the internet as its primary platform for the art of buying and selling. Whether it’s products or services, this modern enterprise operates through a captivating website or digital platform.

Why should I start an ecommerce business in Canada? 

Ah, the Great White North beckons with bountiful opportunities. Canada’s stable economy, tech-savvy denizens, robust digital infrastructure, and open arms to international markets through trade agreements make it an enticing paradise for ecommerce entrepreneurs seeking success.

What legal structure should I choose for my ecommerce business in Canada? 

The legal dance begins, and you must choose your steps wisely. Will you sway as a sole proprietor, twirl in a partnership, embrace the corporate waltz, or find solace in a limited liability company (LLC)? Each dance has its tax implications, liability moves, and management choreography.

Do I need to register my ecommerce business? 

Oh yes, you must! The bureaucratic ball awaits. Secure your Business Number (BN) from the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), and depending on your products and location, don’t forget to curtsy for other permits and licenses.

How do I select a name and domain for my ecommerce business? 

Behold the birth of your brand! Choose a name that sings the siren song of uniqueness and memorability. Don’t stop there. Secure a domain name that resonates with your identity, cementing your online presence with finesse.

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