Due to Covid, we have seen a huge shift in the way the world works, the way businesses work, the way customers behave, and more. And it’s convenient to say that the post-Covid world is a different world altogether.
Covid brought about such a huge negative impact on the world, but along with all the sufferings, it led to the rise of eCommerce and online businesses. eCommerce has been around for quite a few years now, and people have been buying stuff from Amazon and individual websites, but not like since the pandemic struck.
Things that people would never imagine buying and selling online, were being bought and sold right online due to the social distancing that was supposed to be followed. And people got so used to the comfort and the convenience of it, that even now when Covid is not around, the new habits have persisted.
In this article, we will cover how to start an online store in a post-Covid world. The basic steps would be just like before, but because a lot has changed in the world due to the pandemic, a lot needs to be considered.
#1 Market Research
Market Research has always been one of the essential steps of starting an online store, but now you need to look into it deeper. Besides just assessing the regular demand for your product, its existing supply, your target audience, your niche, etc. you also need to study how Covid impacted it.
You need to learn about the behavioral changes of your target audience post-Covid, the way your competitors are dealing with the customers, the change in expectations of your potential customers, and so on. If you go ahead with the old ways, and the customers are looking forward to something else after the pandemic, your online store would fail before even starting.
#2 Pick Your Product
When you are choosing the products you want to sell, look at how the demand has been impacted by Covid, and whether the demand has reduced post-Covid or increased. If it has increased then it could be a great choice of product, but otherwise, you need to study it deeper and see if there are chances of the demand rising again.
If the pandemic has brought about a change in the pattern where the customers are going to use it even less in the future, you might want to consider a different product. Normally what might seem like a good demand, could also come across as a fallen demand if compared to the pre-Covid times. So make sure you make your decision only after doing the comparison.
#3 Choose Your Business Name
Not everyone pays as much attention to choosing the right business name, but it can play a major role in making your online store successful. Firstly make sure that it’s easy to remember and pronounce, has relevance and significance as per your brand, is as original as possible, and isn’t common to get lost in the crowd.
Besides the above-mentioned factors, it’s of utmost importance that your business name is also available as a domain name. You don’t want a domain name that is different from your business name only to confuse your customers.
A domain name is the name that a user enters on their browser to go to a website. When your customers think of your brand, they should be able to type the same name on their search browser to land on your website.
Namify’s Business Name Generator can help you generate business names that are unique, good for your business, and most importantly, have future-proof domains. Meaning that you can find correlating domain names for the business names suggested by the tool.
It also comes with a trademark check feature that lets you check if your name has been trademarked anywhere in the United States or Europe, in a single click. Choose a business name for which you can find a matching domain name, which also hasn’t been trademarked before.
#4 Build Your Online Store
The next step in how to start an online store is to actually build your online store. Just like there are physical brick-and-mortar stores for traditional businesses, you would need an online storefront for your eCommerce business.
It is this online storefront, where people will have a look at the products, learn about their features and benefits, place their orders, and make their payments. You need a website builder that can not only help you in creating the website for your business but also incorporate all the necessary eCommerce features, to turn it into a full-fledged eCommerce store.
You need to consider a lot of factors before deciding which eCommerce platform you want to go ahead with. Every platform comes with its own pros and cons, and you need to go with the one that matches your needs the best when you start an online store.
There are a lot of options like Shopify, Wix, Squarespace, Square, WooCommerce, and so on, and all of them have different features and plans. You need one that can help you build the best online store, with a great product display, features for cross-promotions over social media, email marketing, an efficient payment gateway for smooth transactions, and lets you integrate with third-party eCommerce features as well.
#5 Build Your Brand
Branding is an essential aspect of starting an online store because your customers are not going to remember you by the cool shop across the coffee shop in the lane of their house. There won’t be a physical store for them to look at and remember, and for them to know about your business and remember it, you need to build a strong brand.
You have already done the first part of it by choosing an easy and memorable business name that has a domain name available and is not trademarked previously. Next, you need to design an appealing logo that is not only attractive but also coincides with your business and its products.
The fonts that you use, the colors that you apply, and the image or pattern that you design for your logo, all those should be relatable to your business, and that would mean good branding. You can either get your logo designed by a professional or design it yourself using the amazing designing websites you can find online.
Make sure to use your brand colors throughout your website, social media accounts, emails, and so on. And come up with vision and mission statements that would give a good direction to your business and how to proceed.
#6 Optimize Your Website For SEO
As we mentioned earlier, customers can’t spot your online store as they do with a physical store on the street, and enter it to do their shopping. Then how will you get your potential customers to land on your online store so that they can buy their products from you?
The answer to that is SEO! SEO or search engine optimization is the art of ranking high amongst the results that are shown by a search engine like Google. If you sell chairs, and a customer searches for “buy chairs for home” on Google, and your website shows up in the first few results, there is a high chance that the customer will click on it, and eventually buy from you.
Here are a few tips for you to optimize your online store for SEO:
- Title tags – The text that will appear on the SERPs or search engine results pages is your title tag. Make sure that it is relevant to your product and descriptive.
- Meta descriptions – The text that will appear under your title tag is the meta description. It should be explanatory and interesting enough to grab the reader’s attention so that they click on your title tag and visit your website.
- H tags – H tags or headings on your page need to be descriptive too, and the audience should get a good idea about what the page is about just by looking at it.
- Images – Add images to your page and tag them with keywords, as it will help with SEO too, as long as you are not spamming your website with them.
- Keywords – The most important aspect of SEO is keywords. Add hot and trending keywords to your website that are relevant to your business, and whenever they match with what people search on the web, your website should show up in the results.
#7 Market And Promote
SEO optimization can definitely help you attract visitors, but it’s not enough alone. You need to make sure that you leave no stone unturned in growing your audience because only a percentage of that audience will actually convert into customers.
Promote your business on various social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and more. Upload videos about your products, industry, or whatever is relevant, on YouTube, to find your potential audience there as well.
You should also ensure links to your store or other social media channels are always shared on each social media platform you use. This gives your audience quick access to your website and helps in cross promoting your online presence.
Most social media platforms however, especially Tiktok and Instagram, offer limited space to share your links, like your bio. You can use a link compilation service like Linktree or Linkpop to help you create one link that houses all your other relevant links. If you’re concerned about the fact that these links can often be generic and unbranded, go to Linklab.site and get a branded link for your link-in-bio, FREE for a whole year.
You can also tie up with social media influencers to spread the word about your brand or products, as besides growing your audience, it will also help in strengthening your brand image. Ask them to share your free branded link from Linklab in their posts so that potential customers know where to find all your website and the branded link reinforces your brand identity for them. Try all these methods to market and promote your online store, as the bigger the audience, the more the customers.
Apart from social media, email marketing is a great option for promotion. Build an email subscriber list and send email newsletters consistently to tell them about special offers and to make sure that they remember about your business. Create a blog where you regularly post blog articles that are SEO optimized, as these will help you in tapping more and more relevant keywords that are trending in the current scenario, and aren’t included in your website.
It’s apparent that things have changed tremendously after Covid, especially in regards to business. But for eCommerce businesses, it has been a blessing, as the pandemic forced people’s hands to do online transactions more and more.
Starting an online store has been an ideal business decision for the past decade, but now it’s more suitable than ever. If you have been wondering how to start an online store for quite some time, we hope that this guide has helped you figure it out. Good luck!