We live in a world where the competitive e-commerce climate drives prices lower and lower. In this world, businesses fiercely compete for every single customer, and business managers have nightmares of their profits being gobbled up by Amazon.
Hyper-competition or near-perfect competition is the reality in which today’s e-commerce business operates. Can a retailer survive in this climate? Is it enough to barely survive?
We took a look at some great e-commerce websites that have managed to succeed in this hostile climate. They seem to be taking a set of very different maxims to heart, and that is what helps them succeed in this hyper-competitive boom-or-bust world of e-Commerce.
Take a look at the 5 strategies that these companies are using to keep thriving in a competitive e-commerce climate.
The Customer Commands More Respect Than the CEO
A highly competitive market is the customer’s heaven. They can call the shots. Treat the customer like a king (or a queen!). The customer can make or break the fortunes of a business.
A successful e-commerce website realizes this. Success means a focus on building communities of their customers and amplify the community through social media networks. This doubles up as smart marketing as well. Small loyal customer bases help businesses succeed more than large fleeting customer bases.
It is essential to give the customers the royal treatment.
Sell the Same Product, Differentiate Yourself by Service
In today’s world of fast moving product parity, there are no more differentiators among products. Customers are not paying for just the product anymore. The service sells the product far more effectively.
Any successful e-commerce site has caught on to that.
Zappos is one such service legend that has given a thumping answer to the question “What is so different about putting selling shoes online?” Hint: they don’t do anything different with their shoes!
Don’t Make it About the Lowest Price
Aggressive price cutting stifles e-commerce business, yet that is the everyday reality. However, one must remember that customers are not turning to a company merely for low prices.
Customers are interested in the story the brand is telling and the service they are offering. If the service levels and the brand identity win the hearts of customers, price tags become less of a concern.
Carve Your Own Niche
The success of Amazon has struck fear in the hearts of e-commerce business owners. They secretly wonder if they will go bust if they don’t make their businesses massive in size and scale. On the contrary, successful e-commerce businesses have realized that niches have staying power.
MeUndies, a newer entrant in the world of e-commerce with the proposition of retailing underwear has shown the power of niches exists even today.
Owning your niche is important. While there are big businesses to cater to the needs of all adults, baby goods websites focus only on the little people. Specializing makes them a reliable one-stop shop for all baby needs and keeps customers returning to make their purchases.
Stay Ahead of the Trends
The website, the selling platform, the payment gateways and the choice of marketing campaigns need to be current. Lagging behind the customer in the matters of technology adoption, fashion knowledge, or industry trends could prove costly for an e-commerce business today.
Cannot transact with a single click? The customer will impatiently take his business elsewhere.
Not following the latest fashion guru on Twitter? No problem, the customer will be happy to find another business that does.
Not staying current and updated is not a risk any e-commerce site can afford to take.
Connect with the Customer
Allow the customer to connect with you. They want your advice and look to you as the expert. Invite them to join on social channels and offer a subscription form so they can opt-in to your newsletters to keep up on the latest trends. Or send them a worksheet once they sign up.
Also remember that shareable and helpful content that is relevant to customers will let your customers become your best salespeople.
The Bottom Line
E-commerce is undoubtedly an aggressively competitive space. The roadmap to success lies not in slashing prices but carving a strategy based on these maxims.
Are you ready to embrace these changes?