9 Easy Ways to Outperform Competition in Ecommerce

Written by
Isabel Edwards

With over 2 billion digital buyers in the world in 2020, the opportunity for building a thriving online ecommerce store has never been greater. Although on the flip side, competition continues to grow, with around 12 to 24 million ecommerce sites in the world.

‘How am I going to stand out?’ ‘Why would shoppers buy from my store over a direct competitor?’ may be the concerns when setting up your online store, and they’re perfectly justified concerns. In this article we’re going to dive into the simplest ways your brand can outperform competitors and provide an unforgettable experience for your customers.

Offer a wider product choice

The smaller your product offering, the more likely shoppers are to go elsewhere to find everything they need in one store. Customers want the convenience of having all their product needs fulfilled in one place so they can save on shipping costs, easily compare products and benefit from an omnichannel experience. This is the very reason why online marketplaces have dominated the ecommerce industry in recent years.

A simple way to expand your product offering is by using a third party marketplace platform that allows you to import products to your store from third party suppliers. When selling through Mercarto, once a third party product has been sold on your store our handpicked suppliers take care of shipping and handling, so all you need to focus on is growing your business.

Provide better shipping options 

Here are 3 important stats that should determine your shipping options:

  1. 54% of shoppers abandon their carts because of extra shipping costs.
  2. 53% of shoppers won’t make a purchase if they don’t know when it will be delivered.
  3. 24% of shoppers would spend more to access free shipping.

How many times have you looked elsewhere for a product because you weren’t happy with the shipping options? Don’t lose out to competition by falling at the last hurdle:

Create a brand that your customers love

Do any companies spring to mind that you just love shopping with because it’s such a great experience and their branding strongly resonates with you?

When your competition is offering similar products, services and pricing, your brand is what will make you stand out. Ultimately, it’s about telling your story. It’s about sharing your values and mission, so like-minded people feel invested in your brand.

The first step to building a memorable brand is defining who your audience is, what they have in common and what they care about. However, you decide to position your brand, ensure it’s present in every piece of marketing you send out to customers, including social media posts, email marketing, website content and any other type of media.

This will keep your followers excited about your business and it’s much harder to compete with a strong brand that has a loyal following.

Give your website the right balance of design and functionality 

The late, great Steve Jobs once said “Good design is about how something works, not about how it looks or feels”. Providing an excellent user experience is about finding the right balance between an aesthetically pleasing and high functioning website.

When it comes to ecommerce, your top priority is conversions, so you need to focus on creating a frictionless user experience. To do this, take into account the top cart abandonment reasons:

  1. The site wanted me to create an account (34%)
  2. Too long/ complicated checkout process (26%)
  3. I couldn’t see/ calculate the total order cost up front (21%)
  4. The website had errors/ crashed (17%)
  5. There weren’t enough payment methods (6%)

If you’re curious as to whether you’re providing a satisfactory experience, go through your website yourself as if you were a customer. Test different scenarios to find pitfalls and room for improvement. 

Give customers a reason to come back 

Even if you provide a good customer experience, are you giving customers a compelling reason to return to your store rather than a competitor?

Fantastic customer service is a great place to start, as 84% of consumers said that customer service was one of the key factors helping them decide whether to buy or not from a company.

This means providing multiple channels for customers to contact you through and providing a fast response time, as well as friendly and helpful solutions to shoppers.

Other ways you could entice repeat purchases include:

Make your USP clear

Whether your unique selling point is your product offering, outstanding customer service or company values, make sure this is clear to every visitor on your website.

Your USP is how you can differentiate your business from competition, so don’t be afraid to shout about it. Take these simple steps to finding your USP:

Encourage customers to talk about your brand online

Having customer advocates for your brand is the most powerful way to outperform your competition. 92% of shoppers trust word-of-mouth recommendations and 76% say they’re more likely to trust content shared by ‘normal’ people than content shared by brands.

Encouraging the everyday consumer to talk about your products online is a proven way to drive sales and become the go-to choice over your competition.

Easy ways to can encourage conversation about your brand online could be:

Make every touchpoint memorable 

Every time your customer interacts with your brand, make it a special experience. You can easily do this through your copy and micro-interactions. An example of a brand that does this really well is Hollister. Throughout their checkout and in their email marketing they add little touches which make the user feel special, like adding ‘Go ahead. Try it on. Turn heads.’ in the subject of their order delivery email.

Adding a little personality and humour goes a long way to how consumers feel about your brand. One of the most important quotes I’ve heard about customer experience is ‘They may forget what you said, but they will never forget how you made them feel’.

Got your own competition-defying strategies?

If you’ve got some tips you’d like to share give us a shout on Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook. Or if you want to put yourself in the writer’s chair take a look at our Guest Posting page.

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