When starting your business/eCommerce shop you need to ask:
Why would an online shopper buy your products? What makes your product different than your competition? Are you competing with Amazon's low prices and fast shipping? Is your store more fun to shop in? What makes you unique?
Most online store owners do this exercise when they launch their business and then forget about it. Since our business is dynamic, so must our questioning be dynamic.
I have worked with many entrepreneurs; they all think their products are unique from the onset. Once they launch their business, they realize there IS competition and generally speaking there is not a lot of unique ideas anymore...just a variation of the same concept.
In most cases, merchants are selling products being sold elsewhere, cheaper. So you have to think of a way to differentiate yourself from your competition. Competing on prices is usually the first no-no. As a small business, you won't be able to compete and you'll price yourself out of the market and out of business.
To have a profitable business, you have to continually ask yourself, how can you make your customer experience exceptional, what can you add to your product to increase the value (not necessarily the price), and how can you keep your customer coming back to your online store?
Here are six ways to separate your business from your competitors.
Sell solutions, not just products - add more value to your products you sell. Here are some ideas:
1. Content is King
It does not matter what you sell, providing informative and instructive content for your customers will bring your customers back all the time. Turn your online store into a place people will want to go to for information and education. Include videos, product reviews, expert content (create a blog and add it to your product page for extra information), social sharing, Facebook connecting button/shares to interact with all your other customers and other social buttons. Don't forget about shipping information or any other relational information to help customers get comfortable to buy your product.
2. Unique Branding
As a small business, you have to distinguish yourself from your competition by personalizing your business. Your customers need to feel that they know you. Connecting through your branding is setting the first impression to your prospective customer. What makes you unique from anybody else? Think USP - Unique Selling Proposition - a unique selling proposition (USP) is a statement about what makes you and your company different from other vendors.
Its primary value is to create competitive differentiation.
3. Be Consistent
4. Tell your story
People love stories...
Try to be very personal and write about your business, why you are doing it and what your passions and motivations are - anything that your customers will identify with. Create a connection they can relate to your actions and lifestyle.
Here are some ideas to think about:
- Why you are doing this and what is your motivation.
- What your passions are e.g. reading, swimming, traveling....think about how your customers will identify with you.
- Personal information is important because your customers think they know you and why they will buy from you. Don't you like to buy from somebody you know? That is why selling on television is so successful especially if famous actors are involved.
We want to give our customers a nice warm fuzzy feeling of knowing us.
'People buy from people they trust.'
5. Be Clear about your Goals
This doesn’t have to be your only goal - come up with something unique and important to you, but make sure you’re only setting one clear goal to develop at a time. Most entrepreneurs hop around too much. There is always that next shiny thing they want to pursue because it will make money quicker, it seems easier. It takes dedication and focus to be successful. If we are involved in too many different ideas, your customer will get confused in what you are selling and why.
6. Customer Service.
Customer service is probably your one BIG way to differentiate yourself from your competition. And there are many ways to do this in your ecommerce store. A few examples:
- Have a chat app on your pages.
- Automatic emails in your store can be personalized
- A thank you video on your thank you page.
- Sending a thank you card by mail.
Conclusion:Be unique by helping and educating your customers when they land on your website/store. Ask yourself this question - what do you do if you shop online and there is not enough information or the website/store is very impersonal?
That's it for now, stay tuned as we ramp up for the next season!
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