These days more and more customers are turning to online stores in order to find what they need, and it’s not surprising why. With just a few clicks of a mouse, anyone can locate that incredibly hard to find item, and they can even check prices to find their best deal, so why wouldn’t consumers turn to the internet for their shopping needs?
In this past year regular brick-and-mortar stores have noticed a decline in sales, and most experts are pointing to the popularity of online shopping as the main culprit. Knowing that, it’s no wonder a plethora of e-commerce businesses have sprung up, but the best ones aren’t just offering better prices, they’re drawing customers in by standing out from the competition.
In a sea of other online business owners, it can be difficult to find your unique selling point, or USP. Most will find their own niche, thinking they will be completely different, but then other businesses spring up with the same products, triggering a price war, and one ultimately comes out on top.
What can you do to help your business be a unique destination for shoppers?
For one, it isn’t just about price or excellent customer service, though those are both big players in retaining your customers, it’s about finding your customers in the first place. It can be as simple as advertising your store as being family-run, or only carrying items made in America. If you can’t think of anything right off the bat, that’s okay, it’s not an easy process, but we’ve compiled a few tips on how to help your online business stand out.
Be Consistent with Your Image
Once you’ve got your USP, it’s going to be difficult to completely change your image and how customers see your store. Your graphics shouldn’t change often, and neither should the color scheme of your website. If you’ve cultivated a fun and colorful environment, you shouldn’t have some pages with just plain black text on a white background. If you advertise yourself as a father who coaches his kids soccer teams, you shouldn’t carry skimpy bikinis in your store, since that imagery doesn’t go together well for shoppers.
Sometimes change is inevitable, and many bloggers have this issue when they begin to explore new things, and readers feel as if they are being left behind, but they can overcome this hurdle by attributing these changes to a new life event, and being honest with readers.
Show Customers Who You Are
Everyone likes to find a shop that speaks to who they are, and what they are looking for. E-commerce businesses make it so much easier to find precisely what you’re looking for, as if a shop was customized just for you. To add to that, making yourself, your partners, or even your family a big part of the store can make a big difference.
When I needed to buy a gift for my dad for his 60th birthday I scoured the internet trying to find that perfect gift and constantly came across generic shops, but finally I found a store run by a guy who reminded me of my dad, so I knew he would enjoy anything that I purchased. Now, whenever I need a gift for dad, I know where to turn, and I recommend the shop to my friends and other family members as well. The difference between the other stores and the store for my dad’s gift, was I knew who I was buying from, and that instilled confidence that my dad would love anything from the store.
When you put yourself out there, and let your customers know who you are and why they should purchase from you, they’re more likely to remember you and that is what will set you apart.
Sometimes people will think of themselves as being a run-of-the-mill shopkeeper online, but even advertising yourself as the “common man” will bring in customers who want just that, a regular person that they can easily talk to when they have questions. Don’t sell yourself short, and don’t be afraid to make yourself the face of your shop.
Advertise Your Credibility
When you go shopping for a new computer, you want to speak to someone who knows about computers, and can steer you in the right direction without causing you to spend more money than you really need to.
Your e-commerce business should have that same sense of authority, no matter what you are selling. If you’re unsure of how to be a credible source if you are selling an item such as clothing or household goods, you can still assure your customers that you are a credible business that is looking out for their needs, and that you know everything about the products you are selling.
Personalize Your Shipping Materials
Everyone likes coming home and finding a nice package waiting for them from their most recent online shopping trip, or receiving a package from someone as a gift, and wondering what’s inside.
One way to make this purchase more memorable, is by personalizing your shipping.
Whether it’s custom shipping materials such as mailers or envelopes, your own branded wrapping, or even a note of thanks, customers take notice. If packaging is poorly done, it can lead to a complaint and mistrust of the company in general, leaving a feeling that their purchase didn’t matter to anyone. You don’t need to go overboard, and finding a company that you can partner with in order to create personalized shipping can relieve the burden of creating your own packaging.
There are many ways to set yourself apart from the competition, but being authentic and showing your customers who you are, and that you can offer them excellent customer assistance no matter what questions they may have will keep your business thriving.
In a constantly evolving e-commerce landscape, you want to be the one customers think of when they they need what you are selling, and understanding these simple concepts can help you reach your goals.