Did you know that 2.56 billion people shopped online in 2022? Furthermore, the number of digital buyers is projected to increase by 3.1% yearly. So if you are considering starting a new business in the digital age, an online store is where you will want to begin.
Creating an online store is a fun and cost-effective way to start a retail business without needing a physical shop or storefront. It allows you to sell your products to an entire world of potential consumers and shoppers.
However, the biggest challenge is getting your online store noticed by your target audience. The internet has many different online stores, including some by e-commerce giants like Amazon, eBay, and Alibaba. So how will you motivate your audience to bypass the bigger e-commerce stores and shop at yours?
Fortunately, there are several effective ways for a new online store to compete with the bigger e-commerce giants. It will take some creative thinking and strategising to promote your online store effectively and help it stand out in marketplaces worldwide.
Below are the top 10 ways to make your online store more competitive with prominent e-commerce companies.
1) Develop an Effective Pricing Strategy
The number one mistake of new online store owners is to price everything lower than the big competition. After all, who wouldn’t want to shop at the cheapest online stores to get the lowest prices on goods and services?
However, there is a problem with this logic. Consumers don’t only look for the lowest prices because the product quality and company reputation also mean a lot to them. Besides, they may think low standard prices mean low-quality products.
The trick is to make consumers think they are getting a good deal on high-quality products. For example, you could offer “limited time only” discounts and deals on your items to motivate potential buyers to purchase them on your website. If the buyers believe they are taking advantage of a special offer, it will make them feel like they’re saving money on buying something good.
“Nobody wants a cheap deal. People want value for money” Jay Berricks - CEO Growthwisely.
Amazon does this kind of thing all the time. Visit the Amazon homepage to see various item discounts offered across multiple categories.
2) Sell Items in One Category
One of the significant disadvantages of shopping at bigger e-commerce stores is they have too many product categories. Companies like Amazon and Alibaba don’t specialise in selling any specific types of items. Instead, they sell all kinds of things across multiple industries.
As a result, consumers have trouble finding the specific items they want because the search results pages show several similar items but not the exact things they want. Therefore, consumers spend more time searching these bigger e-commerce stores to find what they want.
Your online business could stand out by selling specific items in one category rather than dozens of categories. For instance, your online business could sell shoes, clothing, or books. So, once you decide on a product category, you can devote all your time to promoting all the items that fit into that category online.
“Entrepreneurship demands focus and specialization. Cut out the distractions.” Hellen Margaret - Founder Stormlikes.
The objective is to make your online store the go-to place for buying items in your particular shopping category or industry. Then people will immediately think to visit your website to buy these items rather than Amazon or eBay.
3) Receive Positive Reviews
The success of any online store revolves around its reputation. If you can achieve a successful track record of customer satisfaction by receiving hundreds or thousands of positive reviews, new customers will want to do business with your company.
Of course, positive reviews revolve around satisfying customers by delivering high-quality products and exemplary customer support. Make it easy for consumers to have a pleasant shopping experience when browsing and purchasing items through your online store. Most importantly, you must respond to their questions and comments promptly and professionally.
Positive reviews will create more word-of-mouth advertising for your online business, including on social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram. Satisfied consumers will share information about your online store with their friends and family, driving even more traffic.
Yelp and Google Reviews are the two primary online platforms where most people search for business reviews. If you can list your store on these review platforms, invite your customers to leave reviews for your company on them.
4) Find Reliable Suppliers
Where are your products coming from? Unless your company manufactures its products, you must form relationships with reliable suppliers who can quickly restock your inventory. Otherwise, you risk running out of products to sell and keeping customers waiting until you get more products again.
Some e-commerce gurus and educators may tell you to dropship items from the suppliers to your customers, or even suggest the innovative approach of using your own car to deliver packages. That way, you will not have to maintain a physical inventory of items to sell to your online customers. However, relying on dropshipping is not recommended because you are at the mercy of your suppliers to fulfil your orders. And if they fail to deliver to your customers, your store’s reputation suffers.
For this reason, stock your inventory with physical items so you have complete control over handling your customers’ packages and orders. Then you won’t have to worry about any other entity fulfilling your company’s orders for you.
5) Pick a Functional Shopping Cart System
Every online store needs a fully functional shopping cart and payment system to process orders securely and effectively. Since many storefront management platforms and service options are available for running a store, you’ll need to choose the one with the best reputation and reliability.
OpenCart is the perfect storefront management software for new e-commerce stores. It is an open-source shopping platform with built-in SEO technology and order management options. Open-source means it is 100% free to use the software to operate your online business. You can even modify the web script to customise the platform features if you have the skill to do so.
In addition, the OpenCart website and platform offers access to a database of extensions and themes for your store. The extensions include things like PayPal Checkout Integration, Google Shopping, Form Builder Pro, SEO Modules, Social Login Pro, and many theme options to create a unique design and look for your store.
6) Create Original Branded Products
An online store with original branded items can easily stand out if they offer something different from the competition. Major e-commerce stores like Amazon and eBay have many high-end branded items, such as Nike, Calvin Klein, IBM, Dell, etc. While these may be popular brands, many vendors across the internet sell items from these brands. So, why should you?
Creating an original branded product gives you complete control over its rights and distribution. So rather than reselling another company’s products, you can sell exclusive products from your company. Then nobody else will have the right to sell those products besides your online store.
No one is asking you to invent the next smartphone or television. Instead, research the consumer demand in your company’s niche to see what consumers want to buy the most. Then create an original brand, colour scheme, and product style to satisfy the demand.
7) Offer Multiple Ways to Contact Customer Support
Consumers get easily annoyed when they need help reaching customer support representatives of a company. Even more prominent companies like Amazon will make it difficult for its consumers to communicate with a human customer support person.
As a result, consumers are forced to browse various FAQ pages to find answers to their questions, even though they are specific to their accounts and orders. It can take a lot of searching and investigating on the website before a customer service phone number or live chat button gets revealed.
Don’t make the same mistakes these e-commerce giants make regarding customer support. Create multiple ways for consumers to contact your customer support team, such as email, live chat, mobile phone, office phone, etc.
After that, ensure your customer support team is ready to respond to customer questions and requests quickly. Adopting a' customer support flowchart can achieve swift support responses.’
A customer service flowchart is a visual tool that shows the various steps in the support process and the order in which they must be followed. In this case, it helps your support team visualise the platform with which a customer is reaching out and the necessary steps to answer such a customer speedily.
You can use a flow chart maker for a tailor-made customer support flowchart.