Updated 3 November 2022
Someone who is about to venture into an e-commerce business must be thinking of how they will compete with big marketplace giants like Amazon, eBay, Flipkart, Walmart, and others.
In this article, we are going to discover, what new online store owners can do to win over the competition and stay in the market.
One of the best things the new online sellers can do is create exclusivity. That is, they need to stand apart from the crowd and offer something unique which is not already provided or missed by those big marketplaces.
Their USP (Unique Selling Proposition) can be their brand identity, the new experience, distinctive products or how differently they communicate with their shoppers.
One such example can be seen with the Indian retailer, Bewakoof, which positions itself as a youthful off-beat brand that offers unique design apparel items, which cannot be seen on Amazon or Flipkart marketplace.
In every region, online marketplaces already offer thousands of products. But despite this, there will also be an empty space to fill with some new varieties of products, a distinguishing identity or a new connection with consumers.
Your newly launched e-commerce store and products may not appeal to all segments of customers. So what you need to do is concentrate on the specific set of demographics who you think will be the right buyers of your products.
Just like Decathlon, we know is offering the best sports and outdoor activities products, likewise, there are many other retailers who are aiming for niche markets or specific product categories.
For instance, Harry’s and Dollar Shave Club have both emerged to be the leading men grooming retailers in the US. Despite selling a limited variety of items and solely focusing on shaving supplies for the male population, the brands have become popular as well as successful.
What these new emerging retailers tell us is that essentially, when someone is beginning their e-commerce journey, they should initially focus on one target group of shoppers.
Or select a product category by which they can gain a competitive advantage over conventional household brands and already-established online marketplaces.
Creating a new brand and then challenging it against the existing market players will not be a cakewalk. Newer brands need to invent new ways and find creative ideas to make themselves recognise and correlate with the shoppers.
In an online marketplace, people will find an endless number of brands selling matching items. But what if your customers become loyal towards your brand and your products are not available on the popular marketplace?
Rather, your items are exclusively sold on your own e-commerce shop, promising forever business without sharing the profits with marketplace site owners.
Therefore building your brand is a necessary thing to do for new online retailers to compete against e-commerce giants. Because being recognized and remembered by the new customers makes them come back again and helps in word-of-mouth marketing.
Nowadays, all leading consumer brands and retailers have their presence on all popular social media channels.
They all have realized the importance of social media marketing and know where their consumers spend most of their time.
New e-commerce businesses should undoubtedly be available on all social media platforms. They should regularly post updates, share user stories, create trending content, and collaborate with influencers to promote their brand and products.
Additionally, retailers can also directly sell on social media through Facebook Shops, Instagram Shopping, and WhatsApp Business platforms. Sellers can tag their products in social posts, or begin livestream shopping broadcasts for inducing buyers to make real-time purchases.
One recent example was the hashtag #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt, where billions of people watched viral short videos on TikTok about product reviews and went on buying the same item.
This became the driving force to reshape e-commerce with social media. Thus giving the opportunity for new e-commerce businesses to leverage social commerce and compete with marketplace giants.
For somebody who is buying your product for the first time, what can you do to make repeated purchases? Converting new customers into advocates is a challenging task for any new brand or e-commerce store owner.
However, to motivate past customers, online merchants can give loyalty bonuses through varieties of ways. Such as offering exclusive pricing, store credit points, cashback, providing free shipping on all orders, or promising faster shipment service.
The merchants need to deliver a message, which communicates to the consumers the advantage of shopping again from your online store. You need to create value or provide some kind of incentive that can influence the buyers to return and shop again.
Since this will stimulate new as well as previous customers to purchase from your e-commerce store, rather than clinging to big marketplaces for all of their products.
Pricing can play a crucial role in the decision-making factor for online shoppers. If the same item is available on another e-commerce store at a lower price, then consumers will not think twice before proceeding to checkout.
Adding to that, having competitive pricing of products has a direct influence on price-conscious customers. These consumers are always hunting for the best deals and discounts.
Besides this, the merchants can offer subscription-based pricing, to give some more discounts for regular purchase items like groceries or daily needs.
Merchants who will be selling on their own e-commerce store will save on sharing profits with the marketplace. With no seller commission to pay, or worry about listing fees and other charges, the merchants can pass on these incentives to their consumers.
Before going head-on against the e-commerce marketplaces, the new merchants should test the water in their local markets first.
As this will allow them to concentrate on a limited number of customers, perform A/B testing for their products, analyze consumer demands, review marketing activities, and improve operations.
Through these initial runs, the merchants can access and get insights into their customer’s perceptions, find out which techniques are working and yielding favourable outcomes then gradually modify strategies before accelerating into the larger markets.
For example, merchants can restrict their serviceable area up to certain zipcodes or cities. Then, later add more shipping zones and areas, and partner with logistics providers to scale up their e-commerce business.
If your product or brand is not listed on Google search, it becomes nearly impossible that your customers will discover it. Therefore, having your e-commerce store web pages indexed on the Google search engine results page should be the utmost priority.
But how can new merchants make sure that their products will be visible on the Google SERP? Well actually, there is no guarantee, but if we follow the general SEO guidelines provided by Google, we may improve our chances.
The first thing to do is optimize your web page for on-page SEO, by this, we mean editing your meta title and description, adding relevant keywords, and checking HTML tags and images.
There are many things involved when we talk about search engine optimization, however, one essential thing to follow regularly and be aware of the recent Google algorithm updates.
No matter how attractive your e-commerce website looks, whether you are running paid ads, if it fails to generate organic traffic, you will not be able to compete with popular marketplaces.
Your e-commerce website content, product images, descriptions, and messages should be understandable and clearly conveyed to your audience.
Online sellers should hire copywriters, upload high-resolution photos of products, put themselves in the minds of consumers and analyze what they will be typing in Google search.
Having an offline presence can help to build trust among new customers. Typically we often see, new e-commerce websites operate their complete business virtually without mentioning any physical address or location.
But nowadays, new consumer brands are breaking the norm and besides launching their online stores, they are also opening up retail stores, outlets and kiosks to reach out and interact with their customers in the real world.
Setting up and managing a physical retail store can be challenging and may require resources. But if things work out well, it can act as a profitable sales channel to drive an omnichannel strategy to bring more customers and promote the brand.
Further, there are many ways through which merchants can enhance the in-store shopping experiences with technology:
Instead of viewing popular marketplaces as rivals, new e-commerce store owners can consider them as sales channels. Giving their customers more ways to discover their products and also creating more orders.
Your new e-commerce website may not rank higher or gain popularity when compared to established marketplaces in the beginning days. But nevertheless, you can still list your products on their platform and see it as an opportunity to promote your new brand and products.
No matter how you build your e-commerce store, you can integrate it with all popular marketplaces. With this, you can import and export product listings, fetch orders, and update product prices and stock on a real-time basis.
Being a new e-commerce business owner competing against big marketplaces such as Amazon, eBay, or Flipkart is not a walk in the park.
Yet there are a number of ways that new online store owners can do to make themselves stand out from the crowded products and create a unique connection with consumers.
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