Covid-19 (or Coronavirus as it’s better known) has caused problems across the globe, taking its toll on busi-nesses and the economy in every country that has been affected. And the UK economy is no exception. With many people out of work or furloughed and many businesses having to close during lockdown, the Govern-ment has been forced to provide a lot of financial aid to struggling business owners.
That said, thanks to technology, many businesses were able to continue trading and take their services online. The e-commerce market thrived as a result. Despite people not being able to go to the shops, businesses and their delivery companies worked hard to ensure that everyone could still get everything they needed via the internet.
Yet despite lockdown now easing and shops and businesses beginning to reopen, it’s likely that the e-commerce market will continue to grow in the coming months. Why? Because social distancing and safety measures have made the shopping experience very different. If you don’t have time to queue outside shop-ping centres and stick to the rigid one way systems in each store, you might find it easier to just order what you need online and have it delivered directly to your home.
For this reason, now could be the perfect time to start your business. Below we’ll look at five tips for starting your online empire in a post Covid-19 world.
1. Make sure it’s a profitable venture
While the e-commerce market might be thriving, not every industry will be doing as well. For example, during lockdown fitness and sporting goods saw a huge increase with people no longer able to attend the gym or exercise classes. However, the tourism and leisure industries came to a screeching halt, with items like suit-cases and bags no longer a priority with everyone unable to travel. As such, you need to make sure that your e-commerce business is going to be a profitable one in the post-Covid environment.
Not only this, but with so many business owners affected and professionals out of work, many now have less money. This can make them reluctant to spend what little they do have on non-essential items. So you need to choose a niche that you believe is still going to be relevant and profitable (remember to take stock and shipping costs into account) as people try to recover from these unprecedented times.
2. Perfect your website
When you run an e-commerce business your website is your digital infrastructure. This is the place for you to advertise your products and/or services. Therefore, it needs to be good. So before you begin trading, you should spend some time perfecting your website, making sure it is simple to navigate, aesthetically pleasing and offers the best possible user journey. There are lots of platforms out there (such as Shopify) that help you to build your online store. Alternatively, if you have the budget you could pay a professional to create and perfect your website for you.
3. Optimise your e-commerce site
With so many businesses now online, competition for customers can be tough. But there are some simple steps that you can take to help optimise your e-commerce website and drive more traffic to your webpages.
First and foremost, you should start by identifying the keywords most relevant to your business and ensuring you optimise your web copy to reflect this. For example, you should include your keywords in product descrip-tions and on your ‘home’ and ‘about us’ pages. You should also organise your products on the page so that the most popular and on-trend products appear nearest the top.
An example of this might be if you’re selling face masks or hand sanitiser. Right now these are hugely popular items and they will continue to be in-demand even post-Covid. So putting items like these nearer the top of your page can drive sales and offer a better user experience.
4. Boost your marketing efforts
The best way to drive sales and make a success of your business is through effective marketing and there are so many ways you can do this. Best of all, many of these marketing tools are free to use, so you don’t need a huge budget to get started.
Social media gives you a platform to share your products, boost your SEO and stay connected with your cus-tomers. This is a great way to build brand loyalty. You can engage with those who are interested in your brand and share exclusive offers and product launches. These platforms are generally free to use, you can sign up for nothing, though you may choose to put some budget behind advertising via platforms like Facebook or Instagram to help you reach a bigger target audience.
You should also encourage existing customers to leave reviews. There are a handful of ways this can be done. In the early stages, you might want to send them communications expressing how helpful it would be if they were to review your products and potentially even incentivising them to do so. But ultimately, offering a great product or service will prompt people to begin leaving reviews off their own back. These are a great market-ing tool and can really help to boost your brand.
5. Follow the latest trends
Last but not least, you should try to keep up to date with the latest trends, within reason of course. If a prod-uct is hugely popular, despite the fact you might not usually offer this on your e-commerce site, it might be time to adapt. Let’s once again look at face masks, lots of fashion, sports and healthcare retailers have begun to sell these on their site to keep up with demand and the popularity of these items right now.
Jumping on trends – providing they aren’t completely farfetched or irrelevant to your industry – means you can better serve your customers and give them what they want and need. It also means you’re likely to get more sales and you can help to build your brand and reputation as a go-to retailer.