College is an interesting time of growth and adjustment, even in normal times. With the current global pandemic of COVID-19 affecting the way students attend classes and learn, it’s even more difficult than usual. The pandemic has made it more difficult for students tortunities that fit within a student schedule—many on-campus jobs are scaling back or disappearing entirely. While it’s a time-honored tradition of college students to pursue side hustles, now is the perfect time to consider starting an online store. If this is the case, check out these tips for starting an online store for college students.
Decide What You Will Sell
The most important thing a store does is sell things. Decide what you want to sell and figure out if there is a market for it before buying from suppliers—inventory is of no use if nobody buys it! Figure out the different product offerings you’ll keep in stock, and only pick a few to start—with plans to expand, should your business take off. Especially when you’re in school, it’s a good idea to keep your initial investment small to avoid potential losses that could jeopardize your ability to continue schooling.
Find Your Niche Market
The next step is to identify what niche market you serve. For example, if you’re selling college supply essentials, your niche market is most likely college students who want supplies that are tailored to them by a fellow college student who understands their needs. Your niche market is the population that needs your products and has the means to buy them. Identifying who this group is will help you better target advertisements and communications while you develop your brand personality.
Invest in Your Website and Distribution Channels
Developing your website is, arguably, the most important investment you can make for your online store. Since your business is completely online—meaning there is no brick-and-mortar store that customers can shop in—you rely on the user-friendliness of your site. Make sure people can find your website easily. Putting your name out there on social media is a great start, but what you really need to invest in is search engine optimization and pay-per-click advertising. These work together to make sure people who are searching for the items or services you offer can find your store quickly and easily, allowing you to make more sales.
Starting your own business is an exciting venture, and it’s especially impressive while you’re in school. Take these tips for starting an online store for college students, and keep them in mind when you plan for your business.