The online marketplace is full of successful eCommerce brands that sell similar products. This is because one can’t stop new stores from opening up and selling similar items. However, it is possible to manage eCommerce competition by using store and service differentiation to stand out from the competitors.
This article will help businesses understand product and store differentiation, and it will presents six practical ways to ensure one’s eCommerce store stands out from the rest.
What is eCommerce differentiation?
Ecommerce product differentiation is a process where an online store accentuates its products and services’ unique features and benefits to differentiate it from competitors. The differentiation is evident in technology, product designs, and marketing campaigns.
The sales team then capitalizes on these differences to highlight their product’s competitive advantage. Merchants can also differentiate their online stores by offering extra services and developing an effective marketing strategy.
While there are several ways to differentiate an eCommerce store from competitors, the following six strategies are a great way to boost your businesses image:
6 ways to ensure your eCommerce store is unique
- Create products instead of reselling
Although most eCommerce stores thrive in selling what their competitors sell, a merchant can stand out from the crowd by inventing new products that address customers’ unique needs. Creating unique products that address consumers’ pain points is hard work, and only a few online stores pull it off. It requires research and capital investment, but it can go a long way in improving your brand’s reach if done right, by significantly lowering competition and attracting new customers to your store. Therefore, sell solutions to unaddressed problems, and customers will come to you to get what they can’t find elsewhere.
- Tailor the customer’s shopping experience
Another way merchants can make their eCommerce store stand out is by ensuring a stellar shopping experience. One can do this by investing in a unique and easy-to-navigate web design that allows customers to easily choose a product and make payments without leaving the store. Also, customers should be allowed to air their concerns, ask questions, and get feedback promptly from the website. This calls for effective and excellent customer service, leaving no customer dissatisfied.
If customers feel cared for by the brand and are offered a shopping experience that meets their specific needs, they are more likely to be loyal to the brand. When customers know that an eCommerce store prioritizes customer service, they will also be more likely to provide free word-of-mouth advertising, spreading awareness of your brand.
- Develop a strong brand story
Since the eCommerce industry is very competitive, merchants can differentiate themselves from the competition by building a strong brand. And creating a strong brand means being memorable. An online store owner can achieve this by coining a relatable and memorable business name. Additionally, they want to ensure that their logo, tagline, and colors are unique. Customers should not confuse your products and store with your competitors. The logo, color, and tagline should feature the website and the store’s social media profiles.
A strong brand helps customers remember you when they want to buy something online. It doesn’t matter if a store sells its product cheap; if clients cannot remember the store, they won’t buy from it. Build a strong brand voice and let your customers connect with it as a person.
Another way to build a strong brand is to create striking product photos for your online products. Customers remain easily influenced by visuals and great design, and as a result are often attracted to stores with stellar photos. A store owner can also develop an awesome brand by adopting fancy packaging ideas to stand out from the competitors.
- Adopt competitive pricing
Price differentiation is probably one of the most obvious strategies eCommerce stores use to outperform one another. Many store owners believe the lower the prices, the higher the sales. However, before lowering prices, a merchant should first calculate their profit margin, and keep in mind that if the profit margin is too low at a particular price point, then lowering prices will not make sense.
Instead of engaging in price wars, an entrepreneur can explain to customers why their products are priced slightly higher than the competition. For instance, the quality of the product could be superior, or the product could have more advanced features than your competitors.
Additionally, a merchant can offer low prices to certain groups of customers like subscribers or to those who sign up for loyalty programs. This can encourage others to subscribe to your site and provide you with their contact details for promotional purposes. Check out this guide on how to set retail prices for profit and retention.
- Set up a loyalty program
Every customer loves to be rewarded for shopping, even if the reward is a simple “thank you.” Most online stores with loyalty programs offer discounts, exclusive products, and members-only sales to their loyal customers. However, one can differentiate their store by going the extra mile with loyalty programs. A merchant can send personalized gifts to customers on special days such as wedding anniversaries and birthdays. Personal gifts will build an emotional connection between the client and your store.
Even if your shop is purely online, you can still create a customer loyalty program by offering customers free products after a certain number of orders. Ensure customers receive what they cannot get from your competitors, without compromising your store’s ability to run at a profit. Customer loyalty programs focus on making existing customers happy, which is an excellent idea since by doing so they may be up to 14 times more likely to purchase again from your store.
- Be socially responsible
One study by CGS indicated that approximately 50% of consumers are willing to spend more on products from socially responsible brands. A merchant can differentiate their online store from the competition by selling green products that care for the environment.
Besides dealing in sustainable products, an eCommerce store can also be socially responsible by improving employees’ wages and benefits. Customers often flock to brands that show concern for people, not just the bottom line. So when the competition focuses purely on profit, you can stand out by getting involved in community activities, such as supporting tree planting or other endeavours to make a positive social impact.
Although the eCommerce industry is filled with stores selling similar products, an entrepreneur can stand out if they put in the effort to do so. As a store owner, you should be creative, developing ideas that attract and excite customers.
Above all, seriously consider customers’ feedback; most of them will express what they want that your competitors are not offering. A merchant that identifies this market gap can attract customers and improve their brand’s image. But most importantly one should remember that the eCommerce landscape keeps evolving–and as a result entrepreneurs need to keep learning and implementing new ideas to stay ahead of the game.