I always wondered whether it’s possible to outperform big online stores? To be better than Big brands with heavy advertisement budgets and dedicated marketing units? Well, I can tell you it was never more possible than now. With the ever-increasing number of social media users, customers have much more freedom to select their favorite product or store. Giant billboards no longer play the most important role in customer attraction and retention. It’s a word of mouth that is the driving force. No matter how successful an online store like Amazon or eBay is, you can always be the best in your chosen niche.
Here are 13 well-tested tips for competing with and winning big online stores like amazon. As I’m a WordPress and WooCommerce fan, I also introduce my favorite plugins for implementing each tip along the way. Feel free to skip them if you are not a WordPress user.
Strategies For Boosting Sales With Big e-commerce Sites
1) Focus on Niche Markets
Finding your niche is the most critical step for running a successful business in a space where well-established giants exist.
A niche market is a small, specialized market for a particular product or service. By finding your niche market, you can focus on things that matter the most for the customers in that niche.
Your niche should be specific and well defined with a defined customer target. It also shouldn’t be too small such that you can make good money out of it, or too large that isn’t considered a niche anymore.
Let’s look at an example. There are different beauty products on amazon. Furthermore, some of them claim to be 100% natural. Anyone who cares about natural beauty products has experienced difficulty finding real genuine natural products from thousands that only claim to be.
By creating a website dedicated to natural beauty products and offering specialized reviews, you can be the preferred choice for those who care about beauty and health at the same time and don’t trust every brand easily.
2) Leverage Content marketing
Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience. big established brands usually don’t care much about content marketing, probably because they don’t need to. But if you want to compete, you have to care.
You definitely should care about creating quality content related to your business regularly. Taking the aforementioned natural beauty products niche, you can run a blog periodically and publish health-related articles. You can offer educational videos, podcasts, free eBooks, infographics, and more. You can provide any kind of content in any medium as long as it resonates with your target customer.
Content marketing brings many benefits to your business.
It makes your brand seem professional and genuine, and your customer will trust you more as an expert in the field. The other significant benefit is driving new visitors via organic search results, which is one reason for the existence of content marketing in the first place.
We will talk about organic traffic later in the article, but we simply mean traffic brought to your website by unpaid search results from search engines like google.
3) Launch Loyalty Programs
An intelligent loyalty program can make your customers stay forever. It can be what differentiates you from big brands. We mean any program for rewarding your best customers by a loyalty program.
Back to the natural beauty example-yes, I keep returning to the same example throughout the article! – you can offer gifts such as free products, gift cards, and discounts to your loyal (and, of course, best-spending) customers.
Of course, all the processes should be automatic and based on a point system. You can reward your customers with points based on actions like purchasing, reviewing, telling a friend, and so on.
When implementing loyalty programs on WordPress, SUMO Reward Points is my first choice. It is a premium WordPress plugin that allows you to reward your customers for their purchases and Signup, Writing Reviews, Referrals, Coupon Codes, Blog Post, Social network shares, and more. This plugin has tons of customization options and is almost straightforward to set up.
4) Use distinctive visuals
Many studies have shown the importance of shapes, pictures, and colors over words over the past three decades. It’s no surprise why many industries use virtual realities and 3D animations.
When we talked about visuals ten years ago, it was only about beautiful images and consistent colors and typography. Although they are still substantial and sometimes game-changing, new mediums have also emerged.
With the advent of 3D browser rendering and Virtual reality, the gap between online and brick-and-mortar shopping has become much narrower. It makes sense because 49% of shoppers hate that they can’t touch, feel, or try a product .
Back to the natural beauty example, offering only mere images of product packages is what everybody else is doing. You probably should offer video reviews and instruction guides for each product.
You should also provide the best set of Professionally taken images for every product in your store. You should not let any question hang in your customer’s mind, from the product dimension to health factors.
For example, Bumbleride, a small baby Stroller manufacturer, uses 3D rendering and virtual reality for their product. Guess what? Based on their report, after implementing 3D models in their store, their conversion rate and time on the page have increased by 33% and 21%, respectively .
5) Reach your customers directly
What is the most effortless advantage you can gain over big brands? That’s easier customer contact and communication. Big eCommerce websites like Amazon and eBay sell tons of products through tons of different resellers.
No matter how much they try, their communication with customers would be complex and expensive. On a small website, you can reach your customers directly via phone calls or, better than that, live chat. Good communication with the customers increases sales and boosts customers’ loyalty and word of mouth.
According to Intercom, website visitors are 82% more likely to convert to customers if they’ve chatted with you first. That’s a hanging fruit! So, no matter what you are selling, a small chatbox can help your customers ask their product-specific questions.
Back to the Natural beauty shop, a quick chat about choosing among different natural lipsticks can make your visit a loyal customer and maybe brand advocate.
There are many chatbox services for WordPress, each with pros and cons. Tawk.To is an excellent chatbox service, coming with a decent WordPress plugin.
I love this service, it’s entirely free with no advertisement, and you only need to subscribe to its premium service when it becomes large enough. Registering and setting up is also a matter of a few clicks.
6) Invest in SEO
What should you do when Big reputable websites usually list up on the first or second page of the search result and push any other website to higher rarely visited pages?
That’s a huge problem.
The same mindset as niche marketing exists here too. So, the probable solution is to find your niche search keywords, the ones with high potential but still untapped. The SEO term here is Long-Tail Keywords.
It’s called Long-Tail Keywords, as a niche keyword usually has many related words rather than one. Back to the natural beauty example, it’s tough to reach the keywords “beauty product” or even “natural beauty products” these days. But “beauty products made from natural ingredients” can be your winning horse.
As you might know, SEO can be divided into two broad sections: content SEO and technical SEO. Strategic content marketing is exactly what you need for the content part. The more you publish quality content, the better.
Technical SEO is, of course, more technical! It consists of many technical factors, including website speed, valid HTML, structured data, and more. If you are unfamiliar with these concepts, I recommend hiring an expert as there are many of them available today. It’s worth mentioning that with the help of many tools available today, less technical knowledge is needed to have a website with a solid SEO. Some fantastic plugins and services can aid you in building a website with a good SEO without writing a single line of code.
Another very important SEO topic is the concept of backlinks. Backlinks are links from one website to a page on another website. Search engines consider backlinks as votes of quality of a page. So if a lot of reputable websites are pointing to your website, then it must also be reputable.
Sounds reasonable, right?
So you want to make sure you are getting backlinks from famous websites. It’s not an easy job, but with good content marketing, it’s possible. People like to mention helpful articles around the web.
Yoast SEO is a popular SEO plugin for WordPress. It lets you achieve a highly SEO-optimized website without writing a line of code. It’s also an excellent tool for editing your articles as it analyses all your posts and offers suggestions to improve SEO and readability.
7) Provide Better or Cheaper Shipping Options
When we talk about tangible products, shipping price always matters. Who likes to pay $2.99 only to get a $5 pen home? Of course, website owners don’t like shipping fees either, but they have to add them.
You should try to reduce your shipping options as much as you can. You should always be concerned about your chosen shipping service to find the best one available. You can also reduce your shipping rates significantly by partnering with fulfillment centers or working with more prominent companies.
8) Create a Community
Building a community around your website always starts with your chosen niche and target customers. You should precisely know the need of your customers, what makes them happy, and how they like to communicate.
Only building the needed infrastructure for your customers to communicate with each other is not enough. The key for a community to thrive is providing added value through content. You want to make sure people can find things that are not easily found else or preferably not at all.
Your community can be a blog, a social media page, or a dedicated forum for your customers to discuss their needs and consult with your company experts. You can also have all of these communities parallel.
If you have a page on social media, then metrics like likes and, more importantly, shares can show how healthy your community is. Similarly, if you own a blog, you want to look at the number of shares, likes (if you have), and page views.
You can also measure shares, page views, and the number of responses for your forum if you choose to have one. You should constantly improve your communities as a community is an evergoing process.
Back to the natural beauty products, the customers would most likely be adult women. Women like sharing their thoughts, and a friendly Instagram page can help a lot. It is crucial as your customers will interact with outsiders and probably bring in new customers.
9) Use Email Marketing In A New Way
Do you receive a bunch of promotional emails every day?
As companies send promotional emails every day, more and more emails stay unread in the mailbox, so what’s the solution?
To stand out, you should focus on personal and highly focused emails. With the abundance of marketing tools available, it’s effortless to send automated personal emails tailored to the target customers.
What appeals to an adult woman isn’t necessarily attractive to a teenage boy. So you should first identify your target customers and their common personalities and then segment. By measuring the open rate and click-through rates, you can find what your target customer likes most.
After identifying what your customers like in general, you can send a personalized version of the same content to your customers at different events. Consider the beauty example; you can send weekly health tips with offers and discounts on selected products.
MailPoet is a plugin by the same team behind WooCommerce. It’s straightforward to set up allows you to design beautiful email campaigns or newsletters and hand them to your users. It also allows you to send emails using its servers with a paid membership fee. The premium service is also entirely free for websites with 1,000 subscribers or fewer users.
10) Offer Only the Best-Quality Products
Inexpensive products are abundant on big eCommerce websites like best buy, target, amazon, and eBay. The margin is also substantially smaller on these products, so you usually stick with premium quality.
The point here is to completely ignore average and below-average products and only offer the best quality wines. You want to make sure that your customers know that anything you offer is the best. This way you have more room to make money and compete with rivals.
11) Build a brand.
Your business should look like a live person that people can know and make friends or fall in love with it and like other people, should have dedicated style and behavior.
The style represents colors, imagery, fonts, tone, and the logo, while the behavioral part defines her personality and traits.
If you think of your brand as a woman, visual branding is about what she wears on different occasions. What colors does she use, and how is she visually perceived.
On the other hand, Is she fun and friendly or serious and formal? What are her moral and personal values? How does she interact with other people?
The behavioral identity should usually come first, and the visual identity should match it. For example, you can’t communicate a serious brand using a mixture of orange and blue colors.
If you own a small business, it’s easy to create a friendly brand with fantastic and close communication with your customers. This way, you can have more loyal customers and offer dedicated services to them.
12) Focus on customer retention
It’s hard to attract new customers, but it’s even harder to keep customers. And a lot of the time, website owners are obsessed with attracting new customers and forget the importance of customer retention. Based on a study by Customer-centric companies experience 60% more profit than those that don’t focus on customers. So how can we delight our customers while still making money ?
We have talked about branding, communication, loyalty programs, which are all decisive in customer retention. But it’s not enough; you should also measure your retention rate regularly and try improving it over time.
It’s crucial to consult with unsatisfied customers and make sure what has given them a bad experience is eliminated and will not happen in the future. You can set up a program to monthly call some of your randomly chosen customers. Then you can ask them to rate your company and how satisfied they are with your brand. You can then fix problems and pain points over time. You would be surprised by how much you can improve your business a year.
According to ReadyCloud, 71% of online shoppers would recommend a brand on social media if they had a good experience with it . Focusing on customer satisfaction is worth the effort in the long run.
Many websites confuse users by sending irrelevant and aimless promotional emails, and users are quickly unsubscribed from their list. For professional retention of customers, you should send emails to people based on their interests and needs, and there are various WordPress tools in this field; MC Wishlist is one of the best, users by adding products to their Wishlist, show us What products they like. MC wishlist plugin increases sales by sending automated offers in addition to increasing the rate of return of customers.
13) Simplify the purchase process
Finally, to wrap up this article, it’s worth noting that friction matters more than you think. Friction is anything that makes proceeding along with the sale funnel complex, cumbersome, and boring for your customers.
You should eliminate all unnecessary check-out fields, and unnecessary required profile information. You should also make sure that logging in is easy and customers aren’t logged out frequently. All of this has a significant impact on being the preferred choice for your customers.