Ecommerce strategies that will set your business apart from competitors
Traditional retail is dead.
Or perhaps it is experiencing a slow death due to the rise of the Ecommerce industry.
Many experts will say that the retail apocalypse has been greatly exaggerated but the truth is, more and more brick and mortar stores are gearing towards operating their business online.
Even big brands such as Macy's, Bebe, Guess and Payless have closed dozens - or even hundreds of stores in 2017. Big names such as KMart, Sears and Toys R Us have also declared bankruptcy because they can’t keep up with Ecommerce players, led by the industry giant Amazon.
And because shoppers are spending more money online and are devoting bigger shares of their wallets to entertainment, restaurants and technology, the demand for more Ecommerce stores that offer quality products and services is continuing to grow.
The reason why a lot of people want to start their online store is the fact that the Ecommerce industry gives entrepreneurs an equal chance to grow their business. And unlike starting a brick and mortar store, huge capital isn’t needed to get your digital shopfront off the ground. But, because of stiff competition, you should always look for ways to stay ahead of the curve.
If you have an online store, are about to launch one, or you’re still in the stage where you’re contemplating whether or not you should create one, here are the top Ecommerce strategies that can set your business apart from your competitors:
Thorough Product Research
If you want to have a successful online store, you should know that what’s currently selling today will probably not sell forever. You have to research products and services constantly and make sure that you benchmark your business against its' strongest competitors.
And while many Ecommerce entrepreneurs dream of creating a mega brand store like Amazon or Walmart, starting out as a niche online store can be more effective. By choosing the right niche, you’ll be able to better position your brand and create awareness to a relevant and specific target audience.
Your niche will help you build a target audience based on the qualities and what your product solves. Most of all, when you choose a niche that you’re passionate about, it will be much easier for you to devote your time, resources and energy to the business.
Strong Brand Story
Your brand story transforms the presence and identity of your business and it is a very powerful tool in terms of consumer engagement. Your brand is the ultimate tool that will get your audience to resonate and create a relationship with you.
With that being said, you will need to write your brand story in a compelling, personalized and unique way. Whether you want to highlight how your company was founded, what you stands for, why you decided to enter the industry or how you came about the product or service you’re selling, you must make sure that your brand story connects with your target audience.
Source: Goodness Me!
This way, you will be able to create a community of brand advocates who will stand behind you and recommend your products to people they know.
Another great way to develop a strong brand story is through your e-commerce packaging design. Visual design such as shape, colour, materials and touch can create an overall attitude, showcase the professional quality and highlight the product’s persona.
If your brand stands for natural beauty products or organic food for example - your packaging must also deliver the same message. When you’ve succeeded in designing a packaging that reflects your vision, you can emphasize your ability to deliver your customers’ expectations.
The Power of Social Media
Considering that an average person spends around an hour and 40 minutes browsing social media every day, there is an enumerable opportunity to get your products in front of your target audience through platforms like Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Pinterest.
In this digital age, the reputation of your business can either live or die based on its social media standing. Simply put, failing to take advantage of the power of social media will hurt your business in one way or another.
You don’t need to set aside thousands of dollars for your social media campaign. You’ll be able to stand out from competitors if you keep your audience engaged by:
- Offering exclusive discounts and running promotions using your social media pages.
- Posting photos of your company’s day to day activities (what your staff are currently working on, company news and events etc). This will make your audience feel involved in causes you’re supporting or activities you’re part of.
- Setting up polls about products that your audience may possibly need or features they may want to get added to your current services.
- Asking questions and participating in discussions.
- Curating outstanding content (photos, quotes, videos, memes, related news stories, jokes, viral content) that your audience love.
- Collaborating with social media influencers. Since these influencers already have lots of followers, it won’t be hard to acquire brand ambassadors from their existing audience. If you work with influencers that your target audience trust, you’ll be able to build a strong reputation.
Positive Customer Experience
This is definitely a no-brainer: the key to improving sales and retention is based on how customer experience your product and service time and time again. Many customers are prepared to pay more for products they truly like or to companies that provided them with excellent customer experience.
Higher customer satisfaction rates, lower customer churn (the number of customers who leave your company during a given time period) and increased revenues can be achieved through a successful customer experience strategy.
Simply put, customers who had a positive experience when they purchased a product from you are most likely going to be loyal advocates of your brand or become repeat customers.
To be a leader in your chosen niche, don’t consider your customers as people who will do one-off transactions with you. Instead, take care of them and make sure you attend to their needs religiously.
It takes at least three rounds of positive experience to capture a loyal customer!
Therefore, take time to delight your customers and walk an extra mile for them whether it be personalized service, dedicated guidance, unparalleled return policies, promotions etc...
Implementing Different Marketing Strategies
Structuring and launching your Ecommerce store could be daunting, however, staying up to date with the most current marketing trends and techniques for your business is much more difficult. Depending on your goals, you’ll have to test different platforms and launch multiple campaigns.
But, if you really want people to identify your brand, know your story and purchase your products, you have to make sure that you’re visible online.
Although on-page optimization and long tail keyword research can potentially provide significant traffic to your site initially, you will need to take on other activities to boost your ranking, impression and ultimately, your conversion.
PPC, on the other hand, can be very effective, yet very expensive.
Here are several activities you should also be implemented into your marketing strategy:
To increase your website’s domain authority and build good backlinks, you have to invest time creating high-quality content. It is a good way to build credibility and drive traffic to your site.
Go collaborate with industry people to create good quality content pieces, be in an expert roundup or create an evergreen content for a credible publication. These are sure ways to provide lots of value for your backlink profile.
Email marketing is an effective way to reach out to your target audience. You can create a series of campaigns with different call-to-action and develop a conversion funnel based on what response you get from your prospects. Email marketing is cost-effective and it’s a great way to build long-lasting relationships with customers.
For you to maximize the opportunities that email marketing brings, you must overcome the challenge of building a strong database and filtering your prospects based on their activities in your site, their spending patterns and their preferences.
Video marketing is often disregarded because of the amount of work required to launch and execute a successful campaign. But, having an up to date and highly engaging YouTube channel can help you create a wider audience, drive more traffic, build better engagement and generate more sales. As a matter of fact, video is the fastest growing marketing channel being used industry wide.
Another great way to spread the word is by incentivising existing customers to acquire referrals for new customers. This is typically done by your loyal followers who are willing to spread awareness about your products or services. You will have to carefully develop an incentive program that will motivate your customers to continually leverage your products and services.
Aside from these marketing strategies, you also need to regularly make simple adjustments in your website. You have to take time to improve your website’s UI and UX, produce original content and optimize your website for mobile devices.
While there are many other factors that can influence your buyers’ decision and your customers’ loyalty, paying attention to product research, developing a strong brand story, using social media and implementing various marketing strategies correctly can definitely help boost your online business.
Angeline Licerio is a Content and Outreach Manager for Pakfactory, one of the leading e-commerce custom box packaging companies that provide end-to-end solutions for small to large companies.