Ecommerce often feels like a David vs. Goliath situation, with underdog small- to medium-sized businesses (like yours) taking on the more established behemoths of the corporate world. But don’t be intimidated. After all, everyone starts somewhere.
Think of your online store as small but mighty. Holding your own against ecommerce giants is often simply a matter of emphasizing what you can do better. In fact, running a modest online shop actually has advantages. You just have to identify them and convey the message to your clientele.
Deliver Stellar Customer Service
Customer service matters big time when it comes to selling products online. As Business Insider reports, 66 percent of U.S. consumers are willing to spend more with a company providing great customer service. Further, 60 percent of consumers have said they’ve bailed on an intended purchase because customer service was poor.
At the very least, you need to match the customer service capabilities of the “big guys.” But what can you do if you can’t afford to staff a full-time customer service department? Start by implementing live chat to guide customers through the buying process. In addition to being an efficient way to handle customer service in real time (because one agent can handle multiple simultaneous chats), the personal attention makes customers return to your site and shop again. Patrons appreciate interacting with a real, live human being, and your sales figures will climb when you let them do so.
Exude an Exclusive, Boutique Feel
Ecommerce giants may have great deals, ubiquitous brand awareness and free shipping, but they’re pretty much the opposite of a boutique shopping experience. And that’s exactly what some shoppers are seeking, especially when they’re on the hunt for luxury goods, or one-of-a-kind items.
You can’t beat larger operations at their own game by undercutting their prices. But, as Entrepreneur writes, “Offering customers something of high perceived value allows you to make your brand promise the primary selling point, rather than price.”
Pro tip: You don’t have to spend a lot of money to exude exclusivity; using an aesthetically pleasing ecommerce template allows you to find and customize a theme capable of boosting your brand image. Aim for a simple, classy and refined design that evokes the feeling of walking into a plush, cozy and upscale boutique.
Provide a Premium Unboxing Experience
Are you excited about unboxing? You should be. This is one area in which you can offer something ecommerce giants can’t—a premium unboxing experience from start to finish. Forget plain brown boxes printed with industrial fonts. This is your time to shine. Putting extra effort (and let’s be real, a bit of budget) into unboxing can pay off in spades down the line.
According to Packaging Digest, 60 percent of survey respondents would be more likely to share a purchase on social media if it came in a gift-like box, as opposed to a normal brown one. Speaking of social media, it’s time to create a hashtag and start sharing your customers’ unboxing videos if you have yet to do so. This will drive more traffic to your site, resulting in more conversions. Unboxing is the perfect opportunity to make your customer feel special and really drive your brand image home. Colorful handwritten cards and bonus freebies make the experience pop even more.
Rather than cowering in humility, revel in holding your own against ecommerce giants. You have the power to offer your customers a humanized shopping experience, a one-of-a-kind unboxing opportunity and the pride of buying from an exclusive brand. Forget trying to imitate the things the ecommerce heavy hitters do.
Leverage your strengths and forge your own path.