When was the last time you purchased something online? For many people, online purchases are a daily occurrence. The ease of shopping online has led millions of retailers to have an e-commerce presence. This is beneficial to consumers who are seeking purchasing convenience and businesses looking to create a more geographically diverse consumer base.
There’s no denying that e-commerce is a crowded space. With tens of millions of options for consumers, it can be a challenge for retailers to stand out. Moreover, the retail giants — like the Amazons and Targets of the world — are taking a huge portion of the consumer pie. Because of this, getting in front of consumers can seem a daunting prospect.
But don’t fret. Whether you’re a new business just starting out or an existing one still trying to stake a claim online, keep reading. Below are practical tips for standing out in a crowded marketplace. Your business will be head and shoulders above the competition in no time!
1. Impress Your Customer
Online shoppers today are used to personalized choices. They are accustomed to getting recommendations while they are in the midst of purchasing. They are also used to speedy deliveries and don’t want to wait weeks for an order to arrive. Delivering on these expectations can be a difficult task in today’s world, particularly considering supply chain issues and delays. And yet the key to thriving online is to wow your customer.
One way to impress them is to run a tight ship with respect to your ordering and fulfillment processes. You never want a customer to order something only to be told that the item is no longer in stock. This can ruin your relationship with shoppers, leading them to purchase elsewhere. However, if the mere thought of tracking inventory in multiple warehouses intimidates you, know that there is help available.
With a complete e-commerce solution, your business can be digitally managed and automated from start to finish. Processes like warehouse management, fulfillment, and distribution are all taken care of with this solution. Orders are fulfilled more seamlessly, allowing your business to scale and thrive. Think of it as a resource that allows you to focus on providing the best service to your customer through the entire shopping experience.
2. Create a Referral Marketing Program
Your customers know the other best customers out there. Think about it: Say a new customer places an order and absolutely loves it. They’ll likely tell their friends and family about their great new purchase. These friends then go online and look at where they purchased it from. Adding in a referral discount code is a cherry on top, enticing these friends to also complete a purchase.
You may know about referral marketing from your own shopping habits and behaviors. However, implementing it for your business requires some legwork upfront. First, you need to generate a seamless system for current customers to share a discount code. You’ll want to identify what channels to utilize for referrals. The sky really is the limit here — everything from email to text to Instagram links to Facebook Messenger is fair game.
Second, you’ll need to determine the right incentive for customers to share. Perhaps they get their own discount if their friend completes a purchase. Or maybe they receive more loyalty points or a free product in their next order. Next, get the word out there through your own distribution methods such as newsletters and social media to let your customers know about the program. Finally, be sure to track the referrals so you can improve upon the system and learn new customer behaviors.
3. Be a Differentiator
Standing out in a crowded online marketplace means being different from the rest. A distinct point of view with clear branding and messaging is crucial. Anyone and everyone can go to Amazon. You need to create an experience and a reason for consumers to shop from your site directly.
Being a differentiator is an ongoing task. It’s not something you achieve once and then move on from. Your direct competitors are all looking to make a mark, too, meaning you need to constantly set yourself apart. If you’re selling backpacks for college students, for instance, you need to explain why your bags are better than the rest. Through your content and marketing, you need to tell prospective consumers why they need to get their bag from you.
Once you’ve gained a loyal consumer base, you can start identifying ways to attract new consumers while also keeping your current fans. This may entail expanding your product line to include adjacent items. For instance, you might add lunch totes or weekend getaway bags to your backpack line.
When seeking to expand, be sure to know what your competitors are doing but don’t necessarily follow suit. Being a differentiator means going down your own path. You look to see where others are going but march to the beat of your own drum.
In the U.S., over 263 million consumers make purchases online. This staggering statistic shows that the customers are out there. It’s just a matter of capturing them and getting them to patronize your online business. With these tips in mind, you can create a smart e-commerce strategy that matches your goals as a brand. It will take some consistent work, but it’s also one of the surest ways to grow your business.