By Jake Sabey, Education Specialist – Doba
“If you’re competing on price alone, you may as well just fling open the front doors of your store and let people loot the place. As many failing businesses have previously shown, competing solely on price is for suckers. It hurts the retail industry overall and destroys your profit margins, quickly pushing you out of business. You begin to believe that nobody could possibly make any money selling Doba drop-ship merchandise, and we know that’s simply not true.
To earn an online retail profit and build a successful business, you have to discover other areas where you can gain a competitive edge. Identifying those areas can be quite a challenge, but this article offers some ideas to get you started.
Grab the Shopper’s Attention
Spruce up your listings and website to grab the attention of passersby and draw them in. Professionalism, design, and comfort go a long way in the eyes of potential customers. If you’re selling on eBay, spend some time crafting your auction listings. Don’t forget to include quality images in your listings and on your website, preferably multiple images for each product, including some images that show the product in action. Photos that are functional as well as decorative are best.
Take the Hassle out of Buying
Make your website and the ordering process user-friendly. A smooth, hassle-free shopping experience boosts sales and retains customers:
Streamline the ordering process.
Offer multiple payment options.
Be the Cool Place to Shop
Designer jean manufacturers are the masters of competing on something other than price. They get away with charging over $80 for a pair of jeans simply because consumers think they’re cool. Be the cool place to shop; be the online retailer that everyone talks about.
Market Your Expertise
When you know more than anyone else does about a particular product, you can use that knowledge as a powerful marketing tool. People like to buy products from experts. Market your expertise:
Create a blog devoted specifically to your area of expertise, where people can tap your brain for information… and see that you really do know what you’re talking about.
Brag a little in your listings, on your website, and on your blog, if you received any honors in your field of expertise, published articles, or received any other acclaim. This builds credibility.
Be and Appear to be Trustworthy
Shoppers buy from people they trust. If your web store or listings make shoppers wonder whether you will handle their order properly or whether their credit card number is safe with you, you will lose business.
The more trustworthy you are, and the more people believe you are trustworthy, the more product you will sell.
Offer Creative Value-add Bundles
List packages or bundles. Combining products into one listing will save the consumer time and money when figuring the price of the products and shipping together, and separately. A game console with games and controllers may be more appealing to some than the same items sold separately. A “party kit” for special events, such as the Super Bowl, Mother’s Day, or Valentine’s Day may be more appealing than simply selling separate items. Be creative.
Build Relationships and Communities
Selling is all about building relationships, especially on the Internet. Studies consistently show that more and more people are basing their purchase decisions on what they hear from their peers online and off. Referrals are pure gold.
Establish a Positive Presence in Online Communities
Create and maintain a blog, as discussed earlier in this article.
Post on other blogs that contain content related to the content on your blog. (No advertising.)
Visit discussion forums, authentically contribute to the discussions, and answer any questions you are qualified to answer.
Be genuine. If you come across like a stereotypical salesperson, people quickly pick up on it, and you’ll be toast.
Building relationships take time and effort. You may not see immediate results, but over the course of several months, you’ll start building momentum.
Pick up Additional Ideas From Other Retailers
This article offers several suggestions for areas where you can compete other than price alone, but keep your eyes peeled to pick up ideas from other retailers. Here are a few examples of high-profile companies that have chosen to compete on something other than price:
Starbucks versus coffee shops: Starbucks sells more than just coffee. They sell ambiance, community, and coolness. Their competitors could start giving away coffee for free, and it won’t hurt Starbucks’ market share.
Target versus Wal-Mart: Target has succeeded in positioning itself in the minds of its loyal customers as a more upscale store with reasonable prices. Even though Target sells far fewer items than Wal-Mart, Target enjoys a higher revenue per store, because they charge a higher average markup. Target charges more, everyone knows it, and enough customers continue to choose Target over Wal-Mart to make Target competitive.
AMD versus Intel: AMD managed to somehow compete as the underdog. America loves the underdog. Think Rocky Balboa. AMD may have gotten a little foothold by initially selling low-cost, slightly lower quality computer processors than Intel, but perhaps people were getting a little suspicious of Intel at the time. Intel and Microsoft were ruling the roost. When AMD stepped into the ring with a more affordable option that was nearly as good and perhaps even better, the crowds went wild. AMD has grown its market share and developed an incredibly loyal following that will pay any price for their latest and greatest CPU.
Remember, competing on price alone isn’t good for your business. A healthy retail industry requires that you make a reasonable profit for the time and energy you invest and the risk you take on as an entrepreneur. Give people value, increase your online retail profit, and everybody wins”.
To take the next step in establishing your website, while increasing your online retail profit, take a look at growth driven design and start building your dream web store.