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With the rise in the number of online businesses, competition in the eCommerce market has also intensified proportionately. There are both large businesses and solo entrepreneurs competing with your brand, and standing out is getting increasingly challenging.
Building a customer base requires more than just having the right product. Customers are now looking for a personal touch and a connection with the brands they choose to buy from. Once a brand connects with them, they will share the experiences with their friends and social circles and this is one of the strongest ways in which a brand’s customer base widens.
To develop this personal connection, your brand needs to carve its niche in the market. Let us discuss the areas that your business could strengthen to stay ahead in the eCommerce race and stand out in the crowd.
Positioning is a core concept in marketing that says that you need to identify your demographics and market your product in accordance with the target audience. There have been many innovative products that have failed terribly in the market because of wrong positioning.
For instance, Tata Motors launched the Nano and positioned it as the car that anyone with a relatively smaller budget could afford. This gave people the impression that Nano was an inexpensive car and it would reflect poorly on their social status. Hence, a good budget car which could have sold like hot cakes in the Indian market failed to garner much traction. So, if a business needs to set itself apart, it needs to communicate its value proposition effectively to its target audience.
Of course, segmenting comes before targeting and positioning, wherein you divide the market based on demographics such as income, gender, education, occupation, age, etc. Once the market segments are classified, it gets easier to identify and define your target market and then devise the positioning strategy.
A good example here would be boohoo.com who has positioned itself as a global fashion brand for girls.
Provide value that is difficult to imitate and keep improvising
A customer buys a product for the intrinsic value that it is perceived to have, or the real benefits that it offers, and not just only because of the inherent product attributes. Your brand needs to provide visibly unique or exclusive benefits for it to be recognized among the competitors. It’s more challenging to find unique selling points today as competitors tend to replicate very quickly. Imitation of products/services in markets spreads faster than office grapevine.
You need to dig deep to find an untouched niche in creating an eCommerce USP and constantly innovate to stay ahead of the competition. For instance, there are several e-stores that provide custom-tailoring but some bespoke labels offer doorstep tailoring services which give customers superior convenience.
Offer more than just products
It is possible that the product you’re selling has many close substitutes or competitors. For customers to choose your product above the others, you need to provide something additional that appeals to them. For instance, it could be a handcrafted element, natural ingredients, extended warranty, money-back guarantee, express shipping, cashback, or discount and offers. A popular example is Body Shop which offers skincare, cosmetics and hair care products that are cruelty-free and 100% vegetarian. There are tons of cosmetic brands but only a handful offer such features that could connect personally with the customers.
Elevate the element of service
Customer service in the eCommerce business has evolved to be a crucial aspect of brand-building and customer interaction. If your brand has better customer support in terms of complaint redressal, returns and refunds, and after-sales services, it is definitely going to ring the right bells among customers. This is especially true for dealers and resellers dealing in homogenous products and services.
Invest in user-friendly website/app design and UX
Attractive and soothing display, easy search options, easy navigation and suggestions based on customer preferences and purchase/interest history are ways in which you could enhance customer experience at your eCommerce platform. This is a strong focus area because eCommerce platforms, by default, lack at delivering a personal touch and hence, having an interactive website could help make the browsing and buying experience easier and user-friendly for customers. The flexibility offered in payment solutions for eCommerce transactions is another sensitive area that cannot be overlooked.
A customer-oriented website/app is definitely going to outshine the competition. Special features such order status updates, push notifications, delivery tracking, process transparency, flexibilities in editing orders, etc. are highly appreciated by customers and these have quite become the norm.
Promoting it right
You might be selling the best product at the best prices, but if you don’t promote it right, it will be less likely to get customers. In e-commerce, promotion plays a big role as you don’t have a physical storefront and merchandising to attract customers. You need to actively try to get the word out through marketing and advertising techniques. You can also use the power of social media in eCommerce to spread awareness about your brand and expand your customer base.
Search Engine Optimization is another brilliant technique under the ambit of digital marketing in eCommerce that can help your brand perform better with search engines’ search results. If your website is optimized for search engines, it will show up among the topmost results when people search for products or services related to your brand.
Invest in the future
Many entrepreneurs go wrong when it comes to managing their funds and efforts. They tend to prioritize earning a little instantly, even if it means forgoing an exponential income earning potential later. Getting into any eCommerce business today means that you are already a little late, chances are that someone is already doing the same business or shall do it very soon.
What you need to do to stand out from the rest is look 5 or 10 years down the lane. Think big, think about the future. Investing in marketing and building the right clientele may not get you to break even instantly but in the long run, these efforts and investments will offer exponential potential and help you squash the competition.
It is clear that the eCommerce market is flooded with players, but online retail has magnanimous potential and room for new (read that innovative) sellers. So, if you have a business idea, you will need to first set it on the right track. Starting out your eCommerce venture or even sustaining your existing one can be a tough job. You can get in touch with specialized retail eCommerce consultants who can help you devise an effective positioning strategy, formulate a growth plan and take your retail business online. Because when you are on the right track in terms of planning and execution, growth and success in business are closer than you might think.
Your Retail Coach (YRC) is a retail consulting and outsourcing company in India offering a wide range of services in retail offline, retail eCommerce and retail omnichannel catering to a multitude of industries.
Your Retail Coach (YRC) helps retailers and retail enterprises set up their eCommerce business right from planning (eCommerce business plan) to implementation. Our experience and expertise in both offline and online retail channels will help businesses overcome challenges in adopting and running the eCommerce route.