Top 5 e-commerce business differentiation which will keep you ahead of your competition
India is witnessing a sea change in the buying pattern of the consumers. Suddenly we could see people moving into the habit of online shopping. With the introduction of faster internet connections and mass advertising by e-commerce companies consumers are slowly drawn towards online shopping. Almost every day we can see a new online company coming up in the market. As a result we could witness a huge increase in online shopping. But to reach this level, online companies had to come out with lot of things like full page Ads in Newspapers, TV ads, cash on delivery, one day delivery, special discounts, easy returns, order tracking, exclusive products, seller ratings, mobile app and so on. At present E-commerce sites are happy that people have come to the habit of shopping online. But now the new challenge for them is the competition.
Leading Online Retailers like Flipkart, Amazon, E bay, Snapdeal etc have their own set of market share. But there are more and more players entering this segment. If you see overall almost all of them provide the same products with more or less the same offers. So what is the differentiator between these companies? All the big players offer all the things that are offered by their competitor. Take an example of Flipkart vs Amazon. Not much you can differentiate between the two. Is it going to be the “Big day sale” that is happening once in a month or week which differentiates them? Is it going to be their Full page Ad or heavy TV promotions or online promotion? These things are important but they are not the only thing which will make them to stay on top.
If you take a physical Retail store the differentiator can be location, ambience, customer service, price, personal rapport etc. So it is much easier to retain regular retail store customer compared to an online retail customer. In case of an E-tailer the differentiation factor is very less. So it becomes part of the business model to create differentiation wherever possible. This differentiator again is not a one-time effort it has to be a continuous effort. So E-tailers should proactively work on this space in order to stay on top. This has to be something equaling to the efforts technology Products Company does on a regular basis. Take an example of Apple or a Samsung phone; they constantly invest time and money to come out with new features to stay on top. Similarly E-tailers have to come out with innovative differentiators to be on top in the long run. Let us see what kind of differentiators which can help E-tailers to stay on top.
Loyalty Programs: Loyalty programs have been part of Retail business for years. This has been one of the successful ways of retaining customers in Retail segment. When it comes to e-tailing people’s loyalty to brand goes for a toss. Even though E-tailers have come out with loyalty programs it has not been effective so far. So they need to re work on their loyalty program strategy to make it more effective. Since most of the E-tailers do not have their own products they were not able to use this effectively. But they have to cut down on their margins and give their own loyalty points for the buyers.
Chat options: Generally people tend to take opinions from their close circles before making a purchase decision. When it comes to online people are isolated when making a purchase decision. So it delays the purchase decision. In order to reduce the sales cycle E-tailers should come with app or a feature where they should be able add their opinion leaders during the buying process. Flipkart’s ping and Reach CRM have already come out with this chat feature. Of course Reach CRM is meant for Sales team for internal discussion which is used for a different purpose. In Flipkart ping user can involve his set of people in purchase decisions. Sure other E-tailers will also launch their own version of ping shortly.
Group Discount: Group discount is another option which E-tailers can think about. As of now this is not been used by E-tailers. By group discounts E-tailers can make more people buy and the volume of sales can be increased considerably. Group discounts can be in the form of Friends group, Family group, Colleagues group etc. This can be another differentiator where competitors can find it difficult to work on group discounts.
Knowledge Resources: E-tailers should help the buyer by including buying guides for all products offered in their portal. E-tailers should have a bank of knowledge resources which should help the buyer in making the buying decision faster. The knowledge resources can be in the form of buyer guide eBooks, audio and video resources. The chance of buyer buying the product will be much higher if the website has all the information that is required by the buyer.
Real time advisor: Apart from the knowledge resources, the buyer should also be given an option to take opinion of experts who should be available real time either via chat or through phone call. E-commerce companies should have experts in each category of products that they offer. This becomes a vital feature when it comes to technology products. Currently they have ratings by buyers. But real time advice will always help the buyer to decide faster.
Differentiators will be the major game changer for e-commerce companies in the long run. So, online retailers should focus more on these differentiators to be the market leader. The above mentioned differentiators are not exhaustive in nature. There will be more differentiator coming up in future. To know how to synchronize your ecommerce website to your accounting software read this