20 Online Business Ideas for the Coronavirus Economy
Starting a business now in an economy that’s been hit hard by the coronavirus can be tricky. But that does not mean it’s impossible. Here are 20 product and niche ideas for an online business. And don’t worry, these are completely legitimate and ethical products with long-term growth potential.
Video transcript: In response to the coronavirus, government institutions, and businesses have taken important steps to save human lives. These regulations are changing the economy, consumer buying habits, and our day-to-day routines.
A lot of people are thinking about starting a business right now and for very different reasons. If you’re looking to build a business that has short-term growth potential, sells products based on fear, and runs ads that could potentially get banned on Facebook, this is not for you.
But if you’re looking to build a business that has long-term growth potential, helps people adapt to this new way of life, and practices ethical marketing practices, then read on. That’s because I will talk about 20 ethical business ideas that you can start in an economy that’s being impacted by the coronavirus.
Entrepreneurs like you, entrepreneurs who are thinking in the long-term and are adding value to people’s lives, are going to be critical to the way this economy goes forward. So if you’re ready to explore some online business ideas, then let’s get started.
The businesses that you and I are going to dive into are wide-ranging. You can use these business ideas to build online stores to sell products that you develop, print-on-demand products, or products that you source from other suppliers.
If you’re sourcing products using the dropshipping business model, then you don’t pay for a lot of inventory upfront. Instead, you only pay for the product after you get a sale, and then you have your supplier ship products directly to your customers.
I’m going to use the dropshipping business model as we go through these online business ideas. That’s because a lot of dropshippers use AliExpress to source products to sell.
And I’m going to use AliExpress to give you examples of the different online business ideas that we’re going to talk about.
One more thing before we dive in. In the coming weeks, we’re going to talk a lot more about this topic. We’re going to talk about how to validate specific products before adding them to your store.
We’re also coming out with videos that show you how to build a brand in the dropshipping niches that we talk about today.
When you take the time to build a brand, you really increase your chances of having repeat customers over time.
Okay, we have a long list of really exciting business ideas to get through. I promise you have not heard of these ideas in other videos. Let’s begin.
Welcome to my bedroom. The reason that I’m here is that a lot of the business ideas we’re going to talk about today revolve around life from home. Life from home is a new normal in this economy.
And so if you’re going to start an online business, you need to make sure that your products fit the needs of people who are living and working from home now. Now, we’re going to start with the business ideas that are all about helping customers stay comfortable.
1. Hoodies and Sweatshirts
And the first is, maybe you guessed it, hoodies and sweatshirts. You can sell hoodies and sweatshirts like this one.
When you do, make sure to target your audience with language that talks about staying comfortable in the home.
Now the difficult thing about hoodies and sweatshirts is that you need to be unique. You can either design your own hoodies and sweatshirts with a print-on-demand service for source hoodies and sweatshirts that have a bit of a novelty aspect to them.
The second business idea in the same vein of keeping people comfortable is socks. Here, again, you’re looking for socks that are particularly comfortable, something where you look at the photo and it just looks so soft and warm that you wanna slip your feet right into them.
That’s why I love these socks here that I found on AliExpress. You can also sell novelty socks. And if you do, what you’re going for there is sparking a little bit of joy in people’s day-to-day routines. And that’s something people are really craving now as they work and live from home.
3. Sleepwear and Pajamas
The third business idea you might be able to guess from my surroundings. It’s sleepwear and pajamas. People are spending more time at home and they might want to spruce up the way they look even when they’re dressing down for bed.
This pink pajama set is a great example. It allows people to stay comfortable while they’re living and working from home whilst feeling maybe a little bit elegant and pretty.
That’s the kind of copy you’re going to go for if you decide to build an online business around this kind of luxury lounge and comfort wear category.
4. Phone Holders
The fourth online business idea that you can look into is in the mobile accessories category. Now, if you’re a dropshipper, you’ve heard others talk about selling phone cases or holders that you can mount onto a car.
Guess what? People aren’t going out of their houses as often. And so the demand for an interesting phone case, or something that mounts onto the car, isn’t really there anymore.
What is there is the demand for these phone holders that help people use their phones within their houses more efficiently. Think about it, if I’m face-timing someone from bed here, I’m going to like something that I can maybe mount so that I could look into the screen without constantly having to hold it. Same thing if I wanna watch Netflix on my phone.
Enough lounging around. Let’s move on to number five on our list of online business ideas in this new economy.
5. Laptop Stands
Here I am at my work-from-home work station, and I chose this location because it’s very fitting for the fifth online business idea on our list. That idea is to sell laptop stands or lap desks.
Within this category, you don’t have to restrict yourself to laptop stands. You can also sell things like keyboards and mice. The important thing is that you sell things that are “ergonomic”. That signals to customers that they can use accessories like these to work from home in a way that’s good for their posture and their body alignment.
On the subject of tech accessories, let’s go to our business idea number six which is gaming accessories.
6. Gaming Accessories
Guys, I know nothing about gaming. What I do know is that a lot more people are spending their time gaming now that they’re staying indoors.
If you know this niche, look for ways that you can build a store to cater to the needs of people who are gaming more often.
Just a word of warning, make sure that if you’re selling accessories, like controllers and things like that, you know that they’re compatible with certain devices. Otherwise, you’re just going to get a ton of customer questions about whether they can use your products or you’re going to get skepticism, and customers are going to bounce.
Far safer to sell accessories like these, which can fit over a wide range of different gaming consoles and accessories. I’m pretty sure I didn’t say that right.
Let’s move on to the next online business idea.
7. Tiny Jewelry
People are going to tell you that no one is buying jewelry in the economy as it’s being affected by the coronavirus. I love it when people make blanket statements like that because it means there’s a ton of opportunity that no one is getting creative with.
So for example, I love this tiny monogram necklace. It’s small, but it’s a little indulgence that helps people feel like they’re taking care of themselves and taking pride in themselves during this difficult time.
I like to think of this as tiny treats jewelry. And actually that domain name is available, so go get it and start selling jewelry that helps people feel good about themselves.
8. Home Storage Solutions
Just one more business idea here before we move into the next room of my apartment, and I’m going to represent that business idea with this tiny little box.
Yes, this is a desk organizer, but it stands for a broader trend. Home storage solutions are going to be big in this new economy because people are spending so much more time at home. Look for products that help people organize what they already have or products that help people manage their homes more efficiently.
That’s one of the reasons I love this over-the-counter dish towel rack from AliExpress. This niche is going to continue to grow as people continue to buy in preparation for uncertain times. So get really familiar with home storage solutions and get really creative with stores if you go in this direction.
Okay, let’s move on to the next room of my house to talk about another very fast-growing niche in the economy impacted by the coronavirus.
9. Kitchen Accessories
Maybe you even guessed that I would be in the kitchen next. With restaurants and cafes closed in response to the coronavirus, a lot more customers are spending more time in the kitchen.
That includes me. You might have noticed that I have this bandage on my thumb.
I cut myself yesterday making a bagel sandwich. As people spend more time in the kitchen, whether they’re making bagel sandwiches or other recipes, they’re going to be looking for accessories that help them become better home cooks.
I really like kitchen accessories like this juicer that help people use fresh produce better. The reason that I like that is that where I’m living here in Germany, it’s actually really hard for me to find flour every time I go to the grocery store.
That means that now is not the time for me to get into baking or pursue other hobbies that need flour. However, I still have easy access to fresh produce, so kitchen accessories that have to do with using produce are going to be something that I’m more likely to shop for. As well as first aid kits.
10. Home Decor
Another thing I want to touch upon while I’m here is actually home decor. Because people are spending more time indoors, they’re going to look for ways to improve their surroundings.
However, they’re not going to want to spend a ton of money on these projects. Remember they can’t necessarily go to their local home improvement store anymore and just pick up whatever they want.
Look for little signs, wall decals, and other accessories like these butterfly decals that you can sell in your online store to help people bring that little bit of joy into their homes.
11. Support Cushions
We’re still in the home decor category for online business idea number eleven. For this online business idea, think support cushions. People are going to be spending a lot more time sitting in weird positions that they don’t normally sit in.
Whether they’re working on their laptop from their couch, from their bed, or from a newly reconfigured remote workstation, they’re going to look for solutions that help those positions feel more comfortable.
And that’s where you come in. Either create or source support cushions that help people get more comfortable in these new positions.
12. Quiet Pet Toys
Business idea number twelve has to do with pets. In a lot of other product suggestions here on Oberlo, we used to talk about dog vests or glow-in-the-dark dog collars.
Customers are still buying those pet supplies. But now, think about all the items that customers could buy to help them live in peace with their pets in their own homes.
Remember these are customers that are used to being able to go to work and come back to their pet. Now their pet is with them all the time. One niche that I think you can really serve customers with is quiet pet toys.
These are toys that customers can use to entertain their pets without distracting them as they try to join an online meeting. This example from AliExpress is pretty good. It’s not a squeaky ball, but rather a ball that will entertain dogs as they try to get the snack of the ball.
13. At-Home Hobbies
There are a lot of different directions you can go with business idea number thirteen. That is in the hobby space.
People are looking to explore more at-home hobbies. This could include knitting, it could include embroidery, or it could include this new thing called 5D diamond painting.
I’ll be honest, I don’t really know what this is, but I saw that it made its way into its own category on AliExpress and that told me that it’s probably trending as a hobby.
I’d look more into this or use a hobby that you already have and know and love, to build your own online store with Shopify.
14. House Slippers
Business idea number fourteen. Okay, so I’ve actually seen some videos saying that there’s no way you can sell shoes when everyone is staying at home.
I disagree. I actually think that there’s one category of shoes that you definitely can sell and those are house slippers.
House slippers are comfortable, you don’t need exact sizing for them to fit, and kind of like socks as we talked about earlier, house slippers can help spark some joy, and bring some comfort into people’s lives.
So while everyone else is ignoring the shoe category when they’re starting their online businesses, get creative because I think there’s an opportunity to really own a category or with house slippers.
15. Play Mats
Business idea number fifteen is for the parents. You can do a lot to serve parents during this time. Remember, parents are going to have to work from home and entertain their children at home at the same time.
One technique that helps with this is having separate spaces so that the child knows where they can play, and maybe that improves the chance of them staying there as the parents work. That’s why I think play mats like this one could be good for their own online store.
If you want to explore other ways to sell to parents so that they can entertain their children, I think that’s a great idea. I would just caution you that if you’re sourcing products from other suppliers, don’t sell products that children could put in their mouth and potentially choke on.
It’s just a liability that you don’t wanna have on your plate right now. Playmats like these, on the other hand, are a pretty safe bet.
We have five more online business ideas on our list. I just have to go change real quick before we get to them.
16. Home Gym Accessories
Welcome to my home gym. This is what a lot of people are doing to stay fit and even to stay sane while they’re spending more time indoors.
One business idea that you can start to cater to the needs of people who are working out indoors is to sell fitness accessories.
Resistance bands like these are a great example of lightweight accessories that people can use to get a big workout from the home.
And if you decide to sell something like resistance bands, there are tons of content opportunities. You can create ‘how-to’ guides to give work out ideas and draw people to your store for free. I’ll be sharing more tips like that in the future about specific product validation tactics.
There are two more online business ideas in the fitness space that I think you should have your eyes on.
17. Running Accessories
The next one is all about running accessories. Where I live in Germany, I’m still allowed to go outside if I’m going for a run or exercising. And as a result, I’ve seen a ton of joggers in Berlin that I’ve never seen outside before.
People are taking up running as a way to get outside and stay fit during this time. And you can cater to this group by selling them running accessories that make this hobby easier. I like this waistband because it allows people to carry their essentials with them while they go on a run.
I actually need to be carrying proof of my address and proof of identification whenever I go outside. So, a running band like this would be really useful to someone like me.
18. Hiking Accessories
The other business idea in the sports category is hiking. Hiking is another way that people can get outside while still being a healthy distance from other people. Help people develop their hiking habits by offering hiking accessories.
That’s a great online business idea for someone who already is a hiker and knows how to speak the language of that market.
19. Home Salon Stuff
Online business idea number 19 is something that a lot of people are overlooking. I saw another YouTuber say that there is absolutely nothing you can sell in beauty right now.
Wrong. For proof of that, just look at my nails. I usually go to a salon to get my nails done, but salons are closed. So now, if I want nice nails, I have to do that work myself.
So, a fantastic online business idea would be to look for products like this nail polish that helps people maintain their self-care routines from the comfort of their home.
However, if you’re sourcing products elsewhere instead of, say, making them yourself, be careful that you’re not sourcing products that people could apply directly to their skin. People could have allergic reactions, and again, that is just not a liability you wanna sign up for right now.
20. Home Monitoring Accessories
Finally, number 20 on our list of 20 online business ideas that you can pursue even now is home monitoring accessories.
I don’t mean security. I mean accessories that help people monitor different aspects of their indoor lives. In this case, I really like this home monitor that allows people to gauge humidity in their apartments.
More and more people are actually starting indoor gardens, and so gauging humidity is an important part of keeping those gardens flourishing. Look for other ways that you can help people measure humidity or temperature in their own homes in smart ways and accessories that help them to do this.
Oh wow, that was a lot of online business ideas. Do me a favor, drop your online business ideas in the comment section.
Entrepreneurs like you and I have a critical role to play in helping people to take care of themselves during this time period. We don’t need to be greedy with our ideas. There’s a lot of space to run here.
As a reminder, Shopify is extending its free trial from 14 days to 90 days. This means you have a lot of time right now to start building your business, and I hope you take advantage of it.