E-commerce is quickly becoming the most important sales platform of our time, and customers are increasingly turning to the internet (be it via computers or mobiles) if they want to buy anything. The industry has become increasingly developed, and more and more businesses are making sales of almost any product imaginable. This is great for the consumer, but it also means that for businesses competition is fierce. If you’re running an e-commerce site, keeping ahead of the competition should take up a considerable amount of time. Here are some areas you should consider if you want to get ahead in e-commerce.
Your IT infrastructure
There is nothing that turns off customers more than an outdated website. This contradicts human psychology – we want things to stay the same, which is especially important when it comes to management tools and IT infrastructure. However, not keeping at the cutting edge of technological developments can cost you in the long run. Take checkout as an example. If your checkout portal is clumsier than that which your customer is used to, they might just forget about the purchase. However, if your checkout is faster and easier than most portals the customer has encountered before, you are much more likely to close the sale.
Your products are what differentiates you from your competitors in the user’s eye, but unless you’re manufacturing every aspect of the product yourself (and have patented its design), these are unlikely to be completely original. A website can have fantastic product selection, but in the world of the internet it is incredibly easy for a customer to take note of products they like and then scan the internet to see if there is a cheaper option anywhere else.
You need to drive profits with strategic offerings. These can be abstract (you’re probably thinking of your brand), but can also be very concrete. Take product bundles as an example. A product bundle is a combination of products (can be goods as well as services) that are offered together in a single package, to make life a bit easier for the user. You can be clever with your offering here – if you combine a goods product with a service that users can subscribe to that compliments the product, you can drive profitability, create additional original value for the consumer and get an edge over your competition.
There is a reason loyalty schemes are so popular. Retaining customers is incredibly valuable, and if you create a brand and business that they understand, can easily engage with and are rewarded for spending time with, your competition is unlikely to be able to undercut you profitably. Take advantage of CRM tools and chatbots that can improve the customer journey and help to replace the physical assistants seen in high-street retail.
Many argue that the best thing about capitalism is that it creates competition, which creates value for customers. This is hard to argue against, and getting an edge over your competition is not only a way to drive your profitability and sales, but it is also a way for you to develop a symbiotic relationship with your customers. By creating value, customers can be happy to increase your revenue and have incentive to help you grow as a company.