26 Nov Making your online shop stand out in a competitive market
Retail competition is heating up. With more competition than ever in the online marketplace, what can you do to make your site stand out?
- Gaining the visibility of potential buyers
- Establishing trust
- Making your products and offer appealing and relevant to buyers
- Creating a smooth and easy purchase experience
- Having a point of difference with competitors
What can you do in your online store?
- Highlight important points with bold, but use bold sparingly
- Do not overuse capital letters or bold text
- Break up text by using a combination of both bullet points and sentences
- Accompany your descriptions with great product photos. Use the best ones you can get, and if you have the skills take your own additional photos to make sure that you can show the products from different angles. The more you can tell your customers about the products before they buy the more satisfied they will be with the products when they get them – as they’ll know exactly what they are getting in advance
- Look at your competitor’s websites and the descriptions they use for the same products. Include facts they do not – fill in the gaps for your customers like sizes, colours etc.
- Get your facts right – don’t make claims that are not verified or that you are guessing. As a merchant you are responsible for the statements that you make about a product, and if you don’t describe an item correctly, you could potentially be receiving the product back as a faulty item for a replacement or refund
Know your competition
- Is the product from the same stock batch as you? Is it a newer/older product than the one you stock? Is this to your advantage or disadvantage?
- How is the item packaged? Is it from better or poorer quality material than what you are using? Could you match or better this? Do you need to make changes to the way you package items?
- By what postage company did the package arrive? Did it come directly from the manufacturer or supplier (drop shipped) or was it sent from the competitor’s office/dispatch location? What form of postage did they use? How much are they allowing for handling and packaging in their published postage costs? What can you learn for yourself?
- What would you think if you received this in the mail?
- How good is your competitor’s overall customer service? Do you need to lift your game? Is this a competitor you want to compete against or are they in a higher/lower/different market from you?
You don’t have to compete on price
- If you are the lowest cost provider in the market then by all means compete on price, but make sure that you stay the lowest cost, or else your whole market could be swept out from under you. For example, what if Target or Big W started selling your products? Could you compete on price with their warehouse and distribution networks?
- If you have an advantage in packaging or design you might want to focus on that
- If you have better customer service, then you might want to focus on encouraging your customers to spread the word. This could be a good approach to take if you have superior service skills and a good social profile through Twitter and Facebook.
- Think about is there another way you can compete – can you have superior marketing by targeting a particular type of person that your competitors do not? Can you be faster to market or get post/dispatch things faster? Are there policies that you have that your competitors do not that you can use as a selling point? How can you turn their negatives into your strengths without looking like a whinging competitor? That’s your online challenge.
Online Shopping Competitive Advantage
You can compete in a highly competitive online market, but you need to be smart about the way you go about it. Think about your whole marketing mix from end to end: who your customers are, why they buy those products, what they are looking for, what objections they might have, how you can structure an offer that will appeal to them (taking into account your relative strengths over your competitors). For your website, make sure you have the shopping cart that will give you the head-start that you need – with the right features, that is suited to Australian business conditions and gives you the right promotional tools for your business needs and is easy for both you and your customers to use.