The internet can be a busy place. With so many users, so many sites, so much to see, so much to buy, it can be hard to know how to make your business and your brand stand apart from all the noise. How do you distinguish yourself, and your products, from those of your competitors?
It is not enough to simply offer quality items, being successful in the world of e-commerce means taking the time to look at the bigger picture, taking the time study both your competitors’ performance, as well as your own.
Here are some tips that can help you maximize your business and handle your competition like a pro:
One of the best ways to beat your competition is to know your competition. Begin on their website. Examine every inch of it, from the home page to product pages, from education pieces to the checkout process. To start, don’t look at them as your competition, browse as a potential customer. Make notes of anything that jumps out to you as a good idea. Some of what you find may be proprietary or intellectual property so it’s best to avoid directly implementing these ideas on your own site, but there is nothing wrong with using these notes as a starting point. If it jumped out at you, there’s likely a good reason and every good idea can be made into an even better idea. Use these notes to brainstorm new approaches for your own site. You don’t want to copy them, you want to be better than them.
Make note of things you consider to be negative as well. If you’ve hit a pain point while browsing, odds are good their customers have experienced the same thing. Make sure you aren’t making the same mistakes on your own site.
The next step is to dig a little deeper. Examine their marketing strategy. What are they saying about their product? How are they trying to differentiate themselves from the rest of the pack? If it is possible, counter these points on your own site. Use language that causes your customer to reconsider your competitor’s proposed strengths in favor of your own.
Look to see if you can determine whether or not they are using an agency, consider hiring one yourself. Digital marketing agencies are a powerful way to grow your brand and increase your web presence.
When trying to grow a business and beat the competition, it is easy to focus on sales. While it is an important metric, it is not the only thing worth considering.
One of the best ways to beat your competition is by using a really good supplier. The kind of supplier you want to deal with will give you a quality product, for a decent price. This does not necessarily mean the cheapest supplier. A cheap product can lead to customer returns and a loss of profits. What’s worse, it will ruin your chances for those highly coveted repeat customers. They may not return the item but if they aren’t happy with it, you can make a safe bet that you will never see them again.
Once you’ve found the right supplier and are happy with the product you are getting, you can work on improving your sales. This type of improvement is more than just increasing your margins or selling more product, it means giving the customer what they’re looking for and meeting all of their buying needs. Remember, a satisfied customer drives more sales through positive reviews and repeat business.
If you can create a better user experience than your competition, you are off to the races! Many sites have terrible customer conversion rates because they fail to create a positive user experience.
Be sure your website is visually appealing and easy to navigate. This means removing clutter, using clear language, and minimizing the number of steps your customer has to take between selecting the item they want, placing it in the cart, and checking out. We know you want to gain as many details as you possibly can about your customer so you can improve your analytics and target your marketing accordingly, but if your quest for this information is distracting the customer from completing their transaction, you’re likely to be left with an abandoned cart and a lost customer.
More than just site navigation, you can improve user experience through strong customer service. If you and your competition are on equal footing in most areas, excelling in customer service can push you to the front of the pack. A customer who has purchased from you before, and had a positive experience, is more likely to purchase from you again. They trust you so keeping and maintaining that trust should be one of your top priorities. A new customer has yet to establish that trust with you and they may reach out with questions before making their initial purchase. How you handle this, could determine whether or not you convert this new customer into a repeat customer. Investigate what your competition is doing. Assume an alias and send a query. How do they respond? Could you do better? Is there more you could do to help your customers? Consider adding a live chat window or offering 24/7 phone support. People love to feel like their concerns matter and that they are being taken seriously.
Incentives are a great way to help guide the customer towards the actions you wish them to take. Maybe you offer a discount on the first purchase or one for buying in bulk. Sometimes it could mean offering free shipping after the purchase hits a certain amount. Investigate what your competition is doing and either match it or improve upon it. Get creative! Customers love to feel that getting value in return for their dollar and if you find the right incentives, word will spread in a hurry. Just be careful not to get locked into a race for the basement. You don’t want to get a reputation for giving it all away.
What is it that makes you different from your competition? What is it that really sets you apart? Every brand and every seller has something unique to offer. If you can identify these differences, you can exploit them as strengths. Customers want to know exactly why it is they should buy this product from you and not from somebody else. It is up to you to tell them.
Trying to move past your competition can feel like a daunting task but taking any of the above steps can certainly start you in the right direction. Sometimes it might take a few tries to figure out what strategy works best for you, but the payoff is always worth the effort.
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