Canadian-based global ecommerce platform Shopify, powers over 150,000 ecommerce stores. WordPress according to their own estimates, powers 23% of the internet, including ecommerce, blogs and professional websites. And according to the calculations of Omer Rachamim, CEO of Dandyloop, there are between 12 and 24 million ecommerce sites across the global internet, but only 624,000 produce annual revenue greater than $1,000. Competition is huge in an exploding ecommerce marketplace. So how can your voice be heard? In order to make your business a success in such a crowded space, you need to standout.
Here are 3 simple ways on how to make your business standout:
1) Figure out your UVP (Unique Value Proposition)
The first step in getting noticed is showing the unique value your product or service offers the marketplace. Take for example the thousands of fashion ecommerce sites out there on the world wide web, how do they differentiate from one another when they are all purchasing from the same supplier in China. If your products are similar and price points all fall within the same scale you need to offer something else that proves you’re different.
Some businesses point towards excellent customer satisfaction, free or fast shipping, but a more fulfilling option is showing your customer the social value in their purchase. If your clothing is made in Cambodia for example, you could support a legitimate charity or find a way to support garment workers in that country. Perhaps you want to use local artisanal fabrics, or create a supply chain that encourages job growth in struggling economies.
Many small businesses thrive by creating a niche product and solving a social problem at the same time. Take a look at Malaquita Design.com. This Florida based company provides a number of aesthetically stunning home décor items (like this tea set above), and clothing (at right) that are handmade using ancient Mexican techniques. As stated on their website, “Each piece is unique because local communities that specialize in textile techniques have single-handedly crafted embroideries, weavings and beading work on each of the beautifully designed pieces.” This supports local artisans, educates consumers, and creates a unique product, all at the same time. A win/win/win situation.
2) Diversify your Marketing Techniques
Yes, we can all throw money at marketing and come away with some success, but there are several ways to market your product without spending a bundle. Small businesses have small budgets and free social media promotion can be your friend. There is no quick and easy way, but doing a little every day to promote your business will grow your follower base and get your brand noticed.
The thing is, using social media can rapidly eat away your time, so focus your energy by using one or two social media platforms really well. Alternatively, you can use all major platforms, but you will need a social media specialist to handle this for you. It isn’t just about gaining followers and posting links to your website every day. Social media is a tool that allows you to engage with your followers, the people who are interested in your product to begin with, and it’s free!
If your business has great visual appeal, using Instagram and Pinterest would be ideal. Pinterest has become a platform of choice for businesses targeting women, and is second only to Facebook for driving traffic. If your business is focused on services, then Twitter and LinkedIn may be useful. If you are interested in using some of your budget towards marketing then Facebook would offer you the opportunity to reach targeted customers, though this must be handled strategically and professionally to get the most value out of your marketing dollar.
Getting your posts seen is critical, and different media platforms have different capabilities so it’s important to use each one to its best advantage, but as a business owner or entrepreneur it can be difficult to do all of them very well. With many platforms moving to a paid marketing format, things in the free marketing sphere are quickly changing. More on Instagram’s promoted posts and clickable links for business, in a future blog.
3) Get the Word Out There
Use every kind of network at your disposal to get the word out. Of course you’ll start with your friends and family, and use a targeted social media strategy, but what else can you do to make your voice heard in an already cacophonous marketplace.
One thing that is often overlooked is the old press release. Back in the day, before the dawn of the internet, companies would send out a media release to advise the press about new and upcoming product launches and innovative ideas. Nowadays the same concept can be put to use.
Contact your local newspaper or send out targeted information to large online news sites. Don’t just send one or two, send twenty. If you have a great story and can intertwine it with the unique features of your product they’ll be happy to pick you up. You’ll get fantastic free exposure on sites with excellent authority, which will drive traffic and get your brand noticed.
Beardbrand, a company built around products and kits for the grooming of men’s beards has created a lifestyle brand around this developing niche market. Their unique value has been noticed by the media, providing them with a great marketing opportunity, and a platform to get their message out. It also helps that they were on every entrepreneur’s dream show, Shark Tank, giving them national exposure.
As founder Eric Bandholz says on his website, “It’s easy to write all this out, but the reality is it’s very hard to execute on these things. When a company is able to deliver on all these issues they’ll start to get noticed. It’s how Beardbrand has been featured or mentioned in NY Times, Men’s Journal, Esquire, Shark Tank, Fox & Friends, Fast Company, Inc, Sunset, Outside Magazine, Playboy, Buzzfeed, Huffington Post, Spokesman Review, Austin Business Journal, and many many more. Do cool things and you get noticed.”
Seems to me like they’ve done all the right things, and they’re definitely getting noticed. Use the same formula to your best advantage.
Follow these three tips and you’re sure to standout in a very crowded ecommerce marketplace.
Want to be featured on our site? Feel free to email us. We can help get you noticed.
Feature photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/33542052@N07/11002575065″>EPSN3106</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>(license)</a>