How to Differentiate Your Products in a Competitive E-commerce Environment
A major challenge for e-commerce business owners is differentiating your products from the competition. Creating an online store is fairly straightforward, with less complex products able to be sourced from the many marketplaces around the world. If you create a successful product, it won’t be long before your competitors start selling similar versions. Also, many e-commerce sites sell items that are not exclusive to their stores, with white label products being popular. With these challenges, it is important to find ways to differentiate yourself from the alternatives.
Price is an obvious area for differentiation, but you need to be careful in a number of areas around cost. If you are reducing the price to attract customers, you need to ensure your profit margin is sustainable. Also, it is easy to find yourself in a price war with the competition, but this usually has a negative impact on all businesses. A good alternative can be to raise prices, but this must be done in conjunction with adding value to the product.
Product guarantees can offer significant improvements to your conversion rate, so it is worth considering how to offer more than the average. Consumers still have concerns about buying items online, but an effective guarantee can allay these worries. Rather than offering a standard guarantee, use data to figure out the maximum you can afford to offer when considering refunds and returns. An eye-catching offer, such as a long-term or lifetime guarantee, can be enough to convince prospects.
Packaging can be used to stand out from the crowd, giving you an edge when little separates the various product offers. Creating a more luxurious impression can be an indicator of quality, while quirkier designs can look more interesting when stacked up to competing offers. Using the standard packaging designs can work in some markets, but they can often prevent differentiation.
Customer service is typically seen as a post-sale addition for those who require it. Good customer service, though, can be more than just providing basic assistance. You could provide help in setting up a product, getting the most out of it, or simply following up to see if the customer is satisfied. Adding a live chat facility can be enough to show you are invested in your customers, enabling you to stand out from those only doing the minimum.
In a competitive marketplace, having a strong brand can be enough to make the sale. If people regard your brand in a positive light, they are far more likely to buy from you than from an unknown quantity. Branding does take time and money, with investments on advertising and content marketing being particularly effective. If you have the budget, though, branding is an effective long-term strategy.
Combining multiple products into a package offers the chance to differentiate. You may have a cheaper product that adds additional value to the main product. Alternatively, you might prefer to add your main products together at a discounted rate. The aim is to provide more than the competition is offering, making your offers seem far more attractive and persuasive.
It is possible to create a thriving e-commerce business, but still sell similar products to your competitors. Using the right techniques, customers can come to regard your brand and products distinctly from other stores who don’t earn the same attention. Online business requires constant innovation, but product differentiation can be the key to maintaining a consistent level of sales.