It is one thing to launch a new e-commerce business, which is fast gaining traction in Nigeria. But it is another to compete with the hundreds of rivals that are seeking the proverbial pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.
While some businesses will make it; others will not. Research says that about 70 per cent of start-ups fail within the first year of existence. Unfortunately, the same statistics also apply to e-commerce industry. And just as many build high hopes of attracting foreign investors, doing the leg work is a magnet to the right spotlight you want on your e-commerce business.
So, how do you stand out from the crowd? How do you make customers choose you over a dozen other competitors? More important, should you be competing or differentiating?
Competing means going head-to-head with existing brands – more like a time-consuming battle in my opinion. Differentiating is a more rewarding route. It entails carving a unique position for your business where others are yet to tread.
There are many ways to improve upon already-existing functions of e-commerce in order to attract more customers.
Below, we will look at some unique ways by which your e-commerce business can differentiate itself in a fast-paced industry, according to Prospress.com:
The beauty of e-commerce business lies in its ability to offer convenience to shoppers. So, rather than wandering all over town looking for a special product, anyone can easily go online, search for a product, pay for it and have it delivered to his or her doorstep.
Far beyond the typical ‘convenience’ offered by most e-commerce stores, how can your business break the norm and offer even more incentives to customers?
Providing opportunities to book appointments online is a great way to differentiate your business. Syncing such appointments to a calendar app can make things more convenient for a customer.
Subscriptions are also great ways of offering timely information to your customers. Rather than checking a website several times, they can subscribe and have information around their areas of interest delivered when they want it.
The idea is to build your key message and offering around delivering convenience to customers. When they realise that you are practically doing the work for them, they will appreciate your business for making things easier.
According to Wikipedia, content curation is the process of collecting, organising and displaying information relevant to a particular topic or area of interest. The idea is to take the hassle from mundane details, such as choice and guide a customer into making a decision more quickly.
Many e-commerce stores get this right. For example, certain e-commerce stores collect information on your shopping preference. So, if you are a male who loves fashion, you will have content on style and offers of discounts delivered to your inbox.
The beauty of curation lies in the feature of engagement. It is targeted and purposeful, yet engaging and persuasive. Curation is a great way to differentiate your brand from the rest if used creatively.
What is a business without experience? Think about it. Everything we do in business is tied to experience – you may enjoy the experience of doing business with a certain brand, hate it or you are indifferent to it.
What emotion does your e-commerce business convey? Happiness, passion, community are a few emotions that you can integrate into your service delivery.
To build emotion into your e-commerce business, you may have to review your entire process from order to delivery and recommendation.
At what point would you want to deliver on an exceptional experience? For example, imagine a customer opening a delivery package and finding a personalised ‘thank you’ note in the package filled with the customer’s name! If a video of such experience is captured and shared online, it can be a great way for your brand to go viral.
There are endless ways to differentiate your e-commerce brand by evoking powerful and passionate emotions and experiences. Just be sure there is never a reason to associate your brand with negative things.
Building a stellar team or creating an efficient automated process to handle customer service may just be the catch to differentiate your brand from others. From following up on reviews, ensuring that payment is seamless and hassle-free, to following up on delivery and returns, customer service can be creative enough to carve a unique positioning in the ecommerce space.
In conclusion, it will be interesting to know other creative ways an e-commerce business can stand out from the crowd. With the use of other technologies in combination with a personalised touch, an e-commerce business can become a leader in a smaller niche market or dominate the market without fighting too hard with others.
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