The current pandemic has changed everything in our lives the way we live, socialize, and do business.
As a result, many of US-based retailers have already announced that they're closing all their stores around the US. This includes big brands like Macy's and Sears.
That's probably why businesses are moving from the traditional brick-and-mortar setups to digital marketplaces. With this set up they can sell stuff without having customers visit their stores physically.
While the idea of running a successful online business in 2021 is exceptional, doing it in real life isn't as easy as it may sound.
Remember, everybody wants to sail the same boat, and you may have to face aggressive competition when you plan to start a new business online.
Whether you want to start a business from scratch...
Or want to switch from a conventional brick-and-mortar framework to the digital world. We have you covered!
In this article, we're going to talk about establishing a successful online business, along with business ideas for 2021 and some proven online business tips you must know to stay ahead of the competition.
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Before diving into the details of running a successful online business, first, it is critical to know why stepping into the world of ecommerce is essential for your growth and success.
Why Is Starting An Online Business In 2021 Is A Good Idea?
Starting a brick-and-mortar store today can be the worst decision.
You're probably wondering why...
Because the situation is already uncertain.
You never know when a new strain of virus emerges, forcing each one of us locked down into our homes again.
That is where online stores step in. You can set up and run your store from the comfort of your home.
Sounds great, right?
And not only this, there are many other benefits of starting an online business. We're going to highlight a few of them down below.
Low Barriers To Entry
There are many things involved when you plan to start a physical store - location, overhead capital, staffing requirements, and labor costs are to name a few.
But not when you start a business online.
In all honesty, anyone with a computer and an active internet connection can start a business online (successfully running it is entirely a different case, though).
Starting a business online could be the best possible solution if you're fed up with higher living costs and feel you barely make ends meet.
With minimum initial investment, you can start your own business and achieve financial freedom.
You don't even have to quit your 9-5 job for this either!
Minimal Overhead Requirement
Sure, you need to invest in a website and marketing before presenting your offers to your ideal customers.
But the cost of starting and running a business online would still be less. Especially if you compare it with running a business in a real marketplace.
Now imagine taking costs further down by investing in a dropshipping store. You don't need inventory and a warehouse...
Packing and delivery will not be a headache either.
Even if you start small, you can always expand your business online.
You don't have to hire more staff. Or invest in additional storage if you plan to take your business a step further.
That lends you an opportunity to experiment with your product range and scale your business whenever they want.
Can Be Run As A Side Hustle
As discussed above, you don't have to quit your regular job to run a business online.
You can start and run it as a side hustle and work at your convenience.
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Online Business Ideas 2021
Okay, so having an online business in 2021 is a great idea.
But jumping on the bandwagon can be risky at times. But as they say, higher risks lead to greater rewards.
First things first, you need to choose something from the list of online business ideas 2021. Feel free to skip this step if you're planning to take your already-running business online.
But if you're planning to start a business from scratch, this list will help you get an idea of what's trending and what's not.
Do you want to start a business online with limited finances and experience? Consider dropshipping.
Dropshipping is a popular ecommerce business model in which you're not required to manage your inventory. There are many dropshipping apps available online you can use to search for trending product ideas.
With more and more businesses creating online presence these days, the demand for virtual assistants is also increasing at a noticeable rate.
If you're confident of your organizational skills, you can also try your luck as a VA.
Do you have a passion for teaching? Why not turn your passion into a profession by offering online tutoring services?
Now you can conduct online classes using Zoom, Skype, or any other virtual meeting tool.
With rising unemployment, people are on the constant lookout for suitable job opportunities.
If you have helped your friends and other family members find a job, perhaps you can help others too.
Website And App Development
While starting and running an online business doesn't require a hefty initial investment, every online seller has to spend on website and app development to reach their target audiences.
If you're proficient in these skills, you can offer these services on professional freelance platforms, such as Upwork, People Per Hour, and Fiverr.
Amazing, isn't it?
Now you must clearly understand your options for online business idea 2021 that you're willing to invest in.
And if you're interested in dropshipping, make sure you research the best products to sell online and look for the best supplier.
It's time to turn your dreams into a living reality.
How To Start An Online Business In 2021?
- Identify your target market: Knowing your ideal customers is the first step to starting an online business. Conduct thorough market research to know about the buying preferences of your target customers.
- Identify your customer’s pain points: The next step is identifying a problem your target audience is having and finding a solution for it.
- Create a website: Time to create a website. Choose a platform that allows you to create a feature-rich and user-friendly website. Don't forget that you can develop a feature-heavy website using Debutify's premium add-ons.
- Conduct competitor analysis: Conduct competitor analysis to see what others are doing to attract sales and drive conversions
- Figure out the legal requirements: This is the most critical step. Get a business license and speak to your attorney to know about the applicable taxes and all other legal requirements you have to follow before starting a new business online
- Choose marketing channels to promote your products: Last but not least, choose marketing channels you think are most suitable for your business. There are many options available, including SMM, Influencer marketing, paid ads, and more. Choose platforms that can add more value to your conversion funnel.
Ecommerce Business Challenges
Before we reveal our tried-and-tested online business tips, let's have a quick look at some common ecommerce challenges every entrepreneur faces at some stage of their ecommerce journey.
✔ Finding the right niche and products to sell
✔ Identifying and luring an ideal customer
✔ Capturing and nurturing the qualified leads
✔ Driving conversions
✔ Customer retention
No need to feel overwhelmed, as our next section includes the best online business tips and practices to overcome these challenges and help you stay ahead of the competition.
Seven Things Online Entrepreneurs Must Learn To Stay Ahead Of The Competition
1. Set Your SEO Strategy
How many times have you visited the second page of Google while performing a Google search?
If you answered 'never,' you're not alone.
Even if you have the best products, all of your efforts will go down the drain if they're not visible to your customers.
And for better visibility, you need to have an effective SEO strategy in place.
Gone are the days when SEO was all about keywords. If you want to get your website listed on the first page of Google, you need to focus on-page, off-page, as well as technical aspects of SEO.
2. Leverage Email Marketing
Many online businesses believe that email marketing is outdated and dead.
But the fact is email marketing is pretty much alive and impactful. It's actually one of the best ways to reach your ideal customers. Not only this, but you can also use this strategy to retarget those customers who didn't convert initially.
Since email marketing is a permission-based marketing strategy, it is critical to only have those customers on board who're actually willing to be a part of your contact list.
3. Benefit From Social Media
There are over 4.33 billion active social media users worldwide.
Failing to create a powerful social media marketing strategy means losing all those prospects who spend most of their time on social media.
You don't really have to target all social media channels initially. Try to identify platforms where your ideal customers spend time.
It is also critical to remain active on those platforms, try to post often, and have a live chat customer support team to resolve your customer's queries in time.
This strategy can bring great value to the table when done correctly.
4. Invest In Content Marketing
Creating and sharing high-quality content that resonates with your target audience will give you an edge over your competitors.
Whether it's blog posts, web content, or guest posts, make sure you leverage all content marketing avenues to provide value to your users.
This strategy will also help you prove your expertise and represent your business as an industry leader.
Here it is critical to understand that you can't expect overnight results from your content marketing strategy.
Be patient and give your content strategy enough time to work.
5. Offer The Best User Experience
Your goal as an online seller is to improve the overall user experience of your potential and existing customers.
There is nothing more valuable in ecommerce than personalization.
So make sure you tailor experiences for each of your customers so that they can better relate to your brand and recommend it to others as well.
Apart from that, having a user-friendly and navigable website design and structure are also critical.
Your site should be mobile-responsive and fast so that your buyers enjoy their stay on your site instead of checking out your competitor's websites.
We don't want that to happen to you.
6. Have A Robust Customer Retention Strategy In Place
We're sure by following the above-listed tactics, you will start having quality leads on your site soon. Now it's your chance to turn them into paying customers.
While it may be tempting to have many customers on board, remember, the cost of acquiring them is a lot more than retention. Also, having more traffic doesn't mean conversions.
So, instead of exhausting your resources on acquiring new customers, it is better to keep your existing customers happy and engaged so that they can constantly contribute to your sales funnel.
7. Set Your KPIs And Measure Performance
Without knowing where your business stands at the moment, you can never improve or adjust your processes.
So set KPIs in the beginning and keep on comparing your achievements with those set standards to measure your current progress.
Your KPIs should align well with your business goals.
For instance, you should set conversion metrics if having more sales is your objective.
Similarly, if you want to have more leads or traffic, set metrics accordingly.