Desperate times call for desperate measures. Despite the financial and economic repercussions of the COVID-19 outbreak, people have found ways to cope with the pandemic situation. One way to do so is to start a business. In fact, new business applications in the U.S. have surprisingly spiked during the pandemic.
As the global crisis has presented new business opportunities, some people have taken the plunge into e-commerce. But even before the COVID-19 crisis, the e-commerce industry has long been booming and thriving. The digital world provides an online hub for both consumers and sellers to meet.
If you’re looking to start an online store, here’s how to launch your e-commerce business amid the pandemic.
1. Study the e-commerce industry
It’s vital to understand how the e-commerce industry works. You must conduct research and perform due diligence before launching your e-commerce business. To begin with, get well-acquainted with the e-commerce market. Know what kinds of products are sold, what e-commerce platforms are used, how orders are fulfilled, how products get delivered to the customers, and how marketing is performed. Once you have knowledge of the e-commerce business, you can come up with a business plan.
2. Identify your target market
The e-commerce industry has a broad scope with several niches under it. This means that various products get sold to different consumers. When planning for your business, ask yourself what types of consumers you wish to cater to. Are they young or old, male or female, young professionals or retired ones? Start checking and studying different demographics and come up with your buyer persona.
3. Select products to sell
In line with determining your target market, you can decide on what products to sell. Of course, these products must be of your interest. Be sure that you know the value of your products and how they can benefit your target consumers. The United States Chamber of Commerce, for instance, highlighted handmade products that are best sold in e-commerce sites like Etsy. If you’re a crafter or an artisan, you can sell your crafts or products for your e-commerce business.
4. Choose your e-commerce platform
Choosing the right platform is crucial to the overall success of your e-commerce business. Know, however, that you have plenty of options for creating an online store. Consider the following:
- Social media: You can no longer deny the power of social media with its almost 4.5 billion users worldwide. You can start selling your products on Facebook, Instagram, or even TikTok.
- Business website: You can hire a web developer to create a website for your e-commerce business. You can even use a free site builder such as Weebly, Wix, and WordPress. Through these, you can create your site.
- E-commerce sites: You can utilize an e-commerce platform with a standardized interface and streamlined features for your business. Consider bandwidth and storage, basic search engine optimization (SEO), conversion and sales analytics, and even Systems Applications and Products or SAP advanced returns management solutions. Top e-commerce platforms include BigCommerce (for businesses of all sizes), Shopify (for dropshipping), Magento (for big companies), and Squarespace (for startups).
Once you’ve chosen your e-commerce platform, you can go ahead and set up your online store. Fret not, as most of these digital platforms are easy to set up and use. In fact, any individual can create their website. Or you can simply create a social media profile or a business page. The same is true for e-commerce websites known for being user-friendly.
5. Promote your products
After setting up an online store, you can now promote or sell your products. Don’t worry, as the pandemic has forced people to stay indoors, get hooked online, and transact business digitally. Forbes suggests performing the following digital marketing strategies during this pandemic:
- SEO: Search engine optimization is the process of optimizing your website and content to get the top ranking in the search engine results pages.
- Pay-per-click (PPC): PPC campaigns work similarly to SEO, but this is a form of paid advertising.
- Email marketing: This entails sending promotional emails to your target consumers.
- Content marketing: This involves creating valuable and relevant content with calls to action that will entice your customers to buy your products.
- Social media marketing: This entails using social media channels to market your brand, promote your products, reach out to your customers, and engage with them.
6. Start fulfilling orders
At this juncture, there’s no other way than to acknowledge your customers’ requests and start fulfilling their orders. Later on, you’ll have to incorporate critical things such as packaging, logistics, inventory, warehouse management, and shipping methods. All these will ensure the overall success of your e-commerce business.
The global pandemic doesn’t have to stop people from doing business. In fact, it has even accelerated the boom in the e-commerce industry. If you’re looking to launch your online store, consider the key steps outlined above. All these will help set your e-commerce business on the right footing!
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