In recent years, the e-commerce industry has witnessed unprecedented growth. From 2019 to 2021, the number of digital buyers has shot up from 1.92 billion to 2.14 billion. Several factors including COVID-19 and online shopping events such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday are the reasons behind this spurred demand for online shopping.
Clearly, e-tailers have many rich opportunities to access a large audience and generate sales through digital channels. However, the market is already quite crowded, and in a competitive set up as such only the “differentiated” brands are attracting customers and growing their business.
In this post, we will explore how differentiation strategies are helping e-commerce firms stand out and ultimately increasing their conversions, sales, and profits.
Create A Unique, Visually Enticing Website
A unique website with updated content and easy navigation is a key differentiating factor for e-commerce brands. The website’s product pages should include detailed information and attractive images to retain shoppers’ interest. Further, drop-down navigation menus should be included at the top of each page since they enable buyers to easily access the product categories they are most interested in. To add on to that, quick links to the shopping cart and checkout pages can help busy customers complete their payments and purchases with minimal hassle.
Technical elements like page loading speed, mobile optimization, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), and personalized content also help in creating a unique space for the brand in shoppers’ minds. These elements are aimed at improving shopping experiences through personalization and accessibility. They can thus attract more visitors and keep them on the site for longer, increasing the chances to buy from the brand and not from its competitors.
Leverage the Power of Digital Marketing
By 2022, the digital marketing market is expected to be worth $460 billion. By adopting the right digital marketing tactics, e-commerce brands can generate and garner more leads, promote their products, and connect with their customers. Social media marketing plays a pivotal role in the practice for its deep reach in different geographies.
Brands planning to accelerate their reach can create apps that simplify the purchase experience for buyers who prefer mobile shopping. Smart e-commerce brands also create personalized, sales-optimized landing pages to attract customers and move them down the purchase funnel. Finally, live online chat is another effective way to leverage digital media to achieve competitive differentiation.
Offer Multiple Payments Options
Different customers use different modes of payment depending on their preference, country of residence, and currency. E-commerce companies that understand this and offer a variety of payment methods can differentiate themselves from competitors. Under this, all a brand has to do is to have multiple payment options (fast cash, digital wallets, and net banking) to facilitate a convenient and error-free payment process. A mistake in these areas could invite legal trouble or regulatory fines that can affect the brand’s reputation and bottom line. To add to it, customers may view the brand as non-transparent or even dishonest, which could turn them off and push them towards competing brands.
Simplify Order Fulfillment and Shipping
Many e-tailers forget that reliable and timely order fulfillment is part of the purchase process and can impact a customer’s brand experience. In this situation, delayed orders and multiple calls from the customers to check order status can frustrate customers and steer them away from the brand.
To prevent customer churn and create competitive differentiation, e-businesses must streamline the order fulfillment and shipping processes. They should understand customer expectations and implement tactics to meet them. For instance, if a majority of customers expect same-day delivery or free shipping, the brand should consider offering these options. These qualities can create a “preferred” status for the brand in customers’ minds and push the company ahead in the competitive race.
Offer Great Customer Service
Stellar customer service is one of the most effective ways to keep customers happy. One crucial tactic is to provide multiple support options. Some shoppers prefer phone contact or email-based support, while others are more comfortable with online chat through chatbots or social media. That’s why it’s important to ensure that customers can reach the brand through their preferred channel. To differentiate themselves from the me-toos, brands should also offer personalized attention focused on each customer’s unique pain points or needs.
To achieve competitive differentiation, they must also make their policies crystal-clear on any digital location where they have a presence, including their website, app, and social media pages. They should clearly state all policies around product cost, shipping times and fees, returns, and taxes. When customers know what to expect, brands can create a more transparent shopping environment that improves customer experiences and boosts the brand’s reputation for “being different in the best way.”
According to recent estimates, there are 9.1 million e-tailers in the world – 2.5 million in the USA alone. To survive and thrive in this crowded landscape, e-commerce firms must differentiate themselves by implementing the strategies explored in this blog. While the path to competitive differentiation is not easy, the effort is always worth it!
Ergode helps e-commerce companies to identify and implement tailored strategies to achieve competitive differentiation and create a unique presence in their chosen niche. Contact us if you need help in this area and we’ll show you how you can stand out against your competitors, win customers’ trust, and increase sales.