A survey reported that the average growth of e-commerce is around 25% per year, in bad times. Harris Interactive, the one conducted the survey, also revealed that 81% small businesses which have online presence reached more customers, increasing sales and profitability.
It is obvious how essential every small business should invest seriously on online presence. However, the ease of internet access has made the internet more saturated with businesses competing each other.
The question remains “How does your business stands out?” Here is a list of ways to overcome the problem.
Products that Provide Solution
This is a no-brainer. Before you even start your business, make sure your product works and it provides as a solution to consumers.
List down all the product advantages and make comparison with other competitors. Get your product to at least beat other competitors.
If nothing separates you from competition, play around with pricing your product. Try to compete by becoming cost leadership, or cheaper than the rest. Be more price sensitive.
Creating brand is difficult if set out wrongly since day one. Take for example of a greatly written book, but with terrible intro/prologue. Nobody is going to end up buying it. Similarly, treat your brand like you’re telling a story. Get it right on day one and you’ll see difference in recognition later on. You need to give people strong reasons to buy your book. Apply the importance of ‘first impression’ here.
Even if you do not have strong product advantages over your competitors, you can always overcome it with strong brand representation.
Study your product and highlight all the areas which you want to made known. Yet, if you feel the brand is weak, be different when you market them. Be creative when you create online content. Be a storyteller rather than selling on your sales channels. You can become experts too. Do something which people will remember your brand.
For example, my own startup Mirsky Mode’s advantages were mainly its cost leadership, we sell designer handbags at affordable prices. Yet, we still feel it is not strong enough to make a strong brand, so we created online content by infusing the bags with vintage photography. Whenever people see our ads, people immediately recognise it belongs to the company. It is our brand’s recognition.
In short, add special elements to your brand so that people can easily recognise you when they see it.
Consumers are inclined to patron your products when such credibility exists. There are various ways to gain strong credibility.
Reason to this, online consumers do not like the idea of taking the risk of spending money on your website without much social approval from others who have purchased your product.
Your customers are living proof that your products work. Make use of it. Get them to submit photos or videos of them using your service(s) in exchange for discount codes etc. Add the images on your website and social media pages to show your brand’s credibility. In short, focus on building your brand’s testimony and showcase it.
Another way to improve credibility is through celebrity endorsement. Consumers are easily convinced into buying whenever products are endorsed by famous people. Celebrities have star power whereby their approval carries a lot of weight that greatly affects people. If celebrities enjoy your product, get images or videos of them using your product too.
Having more Likes or Testimonials on products are likely to sway consumers into buying since they trust customers who have tried and approved the products rather than trusting with companies they have just known.
People always like the idea of companies that are socially responsible. Customers who see your company donate a portion of revenue to the needy will create a special emotional bond. They like the idea of selfless acts and would not mind to patron at your business knowing a portion of money spent will be sent to the needy.
This is also a great way to improve your PR and marketing performance since great worth of content can be created for websites and social media. For example, Toms created an amazing online content from their charitable causes which speaks directly to the consumers. Their constant One for One tagline is a powerful reminder to customers that for each pair of sneakers purchased, another pair will be given to the children in need. How could consumers not participate from such memorable tagline?
Partnership with other charitable organisations is also another great way for your business to stand out. Apart from extending your reach to the partners, there will be much more possibilities into creating online content from the events, endorsements etc which is able to create strong emotional connection with your consumers.
Final Two Cent
Understanding your consumers is the first important step. Provide them product or a service that fixes their problems. Build your online content based on this and branch out in ways which emotionally connects with the consumers. Let them see the ‘other’ part of your company. Allow the audience to see the people running the business to help build trust and confidence in you. Give them more reasons to support your company.