Here's how to make your ecommerce store stand out so it thrives against competitors.
There is no denying the fact that online shopping has made people’s lives easier not only by allowing them to order the things they need from the comforts of their homes, but also by giving them a wide variety of choices. With the world increasingly going digital, we no longer have to limit our choices just because our nearest stores only stock a limited selection of products.
But, while customers feel wonderful to have a huge variety of options, things are becoming more and more challenging for ecommerce business owners.
As the market is continuously getting more saturated, it has become extremely hard for ecommerce businesses to stand out.
No matter what niche you operate in and who your target audience is, you have to compete with a large number of other online retailers to attract, engage, and convert your target customers. What’s more is that you have to have a sharp competitive edge to win over your audience.
You can’t rely on things like ‘fast shipping’ and ‘24/7 customer service’ – they aren’t going to be value proposition because these are some of the things that customers expect all online retailers to provide.
Wondering how else you can increase your customer base and win customer loyalty in an increasingly competitive ecommerce world?
Here are a few useful tips to get your ecommerce store noticed and make it stand out from your competitors:
1. Offer Cutting-Edge Products
The best way to make your ecommerce store stand out from the crowd and get more business is to offer unique, best-quality, or most interesting products. It’s highly difficult to differentiate yourself and attract more customers if your products are just like everyone else.
While you can dominate the market for a long time if you are manufacturing your own custom products, but even if you are offering the same products, try to make them a little different from what others are selling by making improvements or innovations.
New or unique products help you corner the market by creating a buzz for your business. However, you have to constantly adapt to the emerging trends and evolving expectations of customers because your competitors will try to catch up with you as soon as they can.
To make sure you offer cutting-edge products, do market research and see what’s already out there. Identify the best-selling products in your industry and try to figure out why people love them.
Once you have identified what products are giving advantage to your competitors, make yours better than them by incorporating innovative ideas, latest trends, or newer technology.
For example, take a look at the following earrings that are being sold by The Colossal Shop:
While there are hundreds of ecommerce stores that are selling earrings, this company is setting itself apart from them by offering unique designs. The earrings are interesting and quirky and this is what’s likely to be giving an edge to this company.
2. Set Yourself Apart Through Branding
While selling unique products is the ideal way to make your business stand out, it is practically impossible for every ecommerce business to manufacture its own products. So, if you are not able to beat the competition through product offerings, rise above it by creating a memorable brand.
Figure out the unique aspects of your business and highlight them through your marketing practices. Are your products cruelty-free, environmentally friendly, or organic? Do you use a unique manufacturing technique that you believe no one else uses? Can your products be customized according to clients’ demands?
Find out your unique selling proposition and use it to build your brand.
One thing that you should keep in mind while building your brand is that the content should consistently reflect your brand values, should be informative, engaging, and is customized according to your target audience.
For example, check out how Nasty Gal has built its online presence.
Since the brands target audience is young American women, they are highly active on social media.
Also, to make sure their audience can relate to their brand, they have maintained a casual and witty voice; even their webcopy is informal.
And the language they use is the one that the young generation can easily relate to. Take a look at the following screenshot taken from their website’s homepage:
While the brand has overall maintained a casual approach, they have also added a section named ‘Environment and Social Responsibility’ on their website to attract the serious bunch of customers. The section has been sub-divided into multiple parts under which they share their brand values and policies regarding some of the most buzzed-about global issues, such as environment, modern slavery, gender pay, and recycling.
3. Use Social Proof to Win New Customers
How do you determine the credibility of an ecommerce business and/or the quality of their products?
If you are like most people, then it is highly likely that you read customer reviews to decide whether you should buy from a store or if a product is worth buying.
While social proof can come in a variety of forms, customer reviews play the most important role. As consumers, we tend to trust the opinion given by other consumers. Many a times, these reviews act as the tipping point your visitors need to make the buying decision while some times our whole purchasing decisions are based on the reviews given by people who have already used its products. So, one of the simple ways to win more customers is to encourage your existing ones to give reviews.
But, if you are a start-up and do not have customers yet, then you can reach out to the influencers in your niche and ask them to review your product(s). You can then use their reviews and testimonials on your website and social media pages to get customers.
4. Use Third-Party Channels
Wondering why do you need to use third-party channels when you have your own website and, most likely, social media pages too?
The answer is – to increase your exposure, establish expertise and increase credibility.
Sharing content on platforms other than your own website is a great way to reach out to a larger audience. It also gives you the opportunity to win more customers by establishing authority through your content. Also, links from authority sites help to boost the SEO score of your website as well as improve your credibility.
Guest blogging is the best way to use third-party channels to your advantage. This is a technique that has been used by a large number of ecommerce businesses to increase their exposure and build their online presence.
In addition to guest blogging, you can also establish your expertise by responding to queries on platforms like Quora.
If you are confident of your knowledge and capabilities, you can also try to get your ecommerce business featured in industry blogs and news sites by signing up and answering journalists’ queries on Help a Reporter Out (HARO).
HARO is a unique platform that aims to provide valuable media coverage to news or information sources as well as to help journalists get information for their stories by providing them with a database of sources.
Another way to make your ecommerce business stand out with the help of third-party channels is to contact leading YouTubers in your industry and ask them to interview you and share it on their channel.
5. Involve Your Audience
Ecommerce businesses can gain a number of benefits by keeping their audience involved and engaged.
The best way to do it is to encourage your followers and customers to share their purchases, tips, experiences, or their pictures while wearing
or using your product(s) and feature them on your website or social media pages.
In addition to getting your business noticed, this will also act like a social proof and help your prospective customers make their buying decisions.
When visitors see a number of happy customers actively engaging with a brand, they are most likely to buy from it.
You must have seen a lot of leading brands sharing their customers’ pictures on their social media –this is exactly what they are doing. For example, check out NYX Cosmetics Instagram page.
While the brand also has retail presence, it enjoys a huge online following as well. And despite the fact that it is already an established brand, it keeps its customers involved by sharing the pictures of their customers wearing their products.
6. Get Involved In a Charitable Cause and Advertise It
In general, people feel good to know that their actions or behaviors are affecting the world in a positive way. Since not many people get the time to actively participate in philanthropic programs, they like to associate with people or companies who do so and give their share in whatever way possible.
Building partnership with a charitable organization is a wonderful strategy to make your ecommerce business stand out from your competitors and to attract more customers.
When you tell your potential buyers that you are going to donate a portion of your revenue for a social cause, they will get impressed and will want to do business with you, so they can also be a part of the good cause.
However, be careful to work with an organization that fits with your business. For example, if you use animal derived ingredients in your products, then you shouldn’t be partnering up with an animal rights organization.
Digital world has opened up a new world of opportunities for all types of businesses, but over the years, the field of ecommerce has become so competitive that sellers have to constantly revise and reformulate their strategies to stay ahead of the competition.
Use the tips discussed above to gain a competitive edge over other sellers in your industry and be ready to adapt to newer trends and advancements to stay relevant.