Online shopping has made it easy for buyers to close a tab and move onto the next shop. The big eCommerce sites with massive online ad budgets generally win at the media awareness game. But, there are ways for a smaller online shop to compete. Here are 5 simple ways to give your online site an edge when competing with the big guys.
Know Your Customers
A big advantage to having a small business is that you have a more focused customer base. Get to know them! Figure out who your customers are and what they’re buying. Talk to them, ask them why they buy from you, and ask them what else they want to see you sell. Knowing your customers intimately is a huge competitive advantage. By knowing your customers and involving them in your business process, you get a better understanding of what they really need.
Create Your Own Unique Content
Use as much unique content on your site as possible. Instead of using the standard manufacturer’s product descriptions, put your 2-cents in and craft something on your own. The big guys with huge inventory will have difficulty with this. One thing to keep in mind when creating your own content are META tags. Filling in the META title and description on your website pages help increase your organic search rankings meaning more people will find you.
Content isn’t just the text on your website. Online shoppers will buy with their eyes so use pictures. Use lots of pictures from many different perspectives. Create videos if you have the budget and the time. Visual content is always a plus for shoppers and they will most likely remember you for it and hopefully follow your business as a repeat shopper, or online through social media.
Get the Word Out and Engage
Beyond keeping up with the social media times, don’t forget to reach out to your customers in other forms. Connect with your audience by sending them emails about new products, promotions and events you have in store. Remember to always keep your social networks updated with the latest information and ask your followers to share your business with their friends. Be everywhere.
And don’t think this is just a one-time thing. Create a plan to engage your customers on a regular basis through a newsletter or seasonal promotions and start building a relationship with them.
Create a Loyalty Program
Everyone loves a good promotion. Many eCommerce platforms are already pre-integrated to work with loyalty and reward programs which makes setting one up even easier.
Offer a discount or free shipping to a new customer, or to one who spends more than a certain value. The sky is the limit on ways you can reward your most loyal customer. Experimenting with new and creative loyalty programs is something that the big guys have difficulty deploying with their large customer bases.
Keep Optimizing Your Website
Your website is always a work in progress. There is always room from improvement. The main goal of your website is to generate sales and the best way to do that is to ensure your customers get the information they need in the quickest way possible. In the case of a checkout, use a flow that is quick and easy. The last thing any online shopper wants to do after finally choosing what to buy is to go through 5 steps to pay for it and get it shipped. Doing this will drastically drop shopping cart abandonment.
Another optimization is making it easy for customers to reach you. Make a simple to find “Contact Us” section. Give customers and prospects the personal experience they cannot get from the big guys.