One of the biggest challenges that e-commerce companies face is intense competition. There are about 24 million e-commerce sites globally according to one 2019 report – but this massive number may already be significantly off by now, because of the new shops added daily and other micro-platform retailers that may be unaccounted for. With the market being so saturated, it has become increasingly difficult to stand out.
Everyone wants a piece of the e-commerce pie, but it’s only cut for a select few.
Now, the question stands: if you’re a budding online entrepreneur, ardent passion for the business and smart product development aside, what are the ways you can stand out in your respective niche? What factors can you work on to set your brand apart?
- In-depth understanding of buyer
Beyond just identifying the basic profile of your prospective customers, it is important to have a detailed and comprehensive buyer persona. A buyer persona is a research-backed description of who your ideal customer is, basing on more in-depth parameters including demographic, psychographic, and behavioral information. Unlike the traditional norm of identifying one’s ‘target market’, a buyer persona is more exhaustive and specific – answering questions like: What publications do you read? Do you prefer to shop online or in person? What associations are you affiliated with? It’s not just who the customer is or what he wants, it’s knowing how he thinks.
The goal of this is to craft a more tailored approach in terms of building brand awareness, connecting with customers, and, eventually, driving more sales. The more thorough the profile is, the more strategic and unique the approach will be making a business truly stand out.
- Clear and consistent branding
Gone are the days when branding was just about having a logo, slogan, and consistent colors. Because of the digital age, where just about anyone can set up their own shops with the help of website builders like Wix or Shopify, branding is now more complex and should be more encompassing of all aspects of the business.
The most successful brands have a well-defined and clearly-developed voice that reflects the company’s goals, processes, and promise – generally, what the company is all about. This ‘voice’ is the brand’s overall personality that should be evident from communicating to customers to marketing products or services. This is especially vital in wanting to stand out from the crowd, because strong branding means that you are recognizable, dependable, and trustworthy.
- Stellar customer experience
86% of buyers are willing to pay significantly more for better customer experience. That alone should say a lot about how important total customer experience is. But more than just increased revenue, the greater value of having stellar CX is the loyal consumers that come with it. In the highly competitive e-commerce landscape, the most valuable asset you can have are customers-turned-advocates. These are the loyal patrons who use your service or buy your products over and over, even bringing in more customers through referrals.
When transactions are done through a computer or a phone, it is even more important to consistently convey authenticity. Customers are smarter than ever and, given thousands of options, they can easily identify and compare which brands are genuinely interested in them and in solving their challenges. Even with the rise of automation and machine learning, many successful brands still opt for live customer service – mainly because, when done correctly, the human aspect of interactions makes things feel less transactional and more personal. Great customer experience, after all, is founded on great connections.
While the internet has made it a lot easier for entrepreneurs to get started, it has also made it a lot harder for companies to stand out. Products go viral overnight, one wrong tweet can cause brands to come crashing down, and new digital trends are introduced by the minute. The key is to find a way to blend brand, product, and marketplace seamlessly. No matter how advanced online retailing becomes, it’s always good to go back to the basics: providing value and serving customers well.
FGC+ can help set your e-commerce brand apart from the competition with our highly-trained customer service professionals who are eager to take customer experience to a whole new level. Contact us today!