No matter what kind of business you operate, no matter how unique your product or service may be, you are always going to have competition. You are always going to have other companies vying for your customer base and your corner of the market.
So what can you do to get your customers to continue choosing your business over your competitors? And how can you make your company stand apart from the competition?
Well, the basic response to that is to excel at the five pillars of meeting your customers’ needs:
The Price Is Right
Many retailers price their inventory using the keystone pricing method, which entails “marking merchandise for resale to an amount that is double the wholesale price or cost of the product.” You may, however, decide to mark the cost of your product or service higher or lower than 50%, depending on the image you want to convey.
Perhaps you want to be seen as a low-cost value provider. Or, on the flip side, you may want to give the impression of premium quality and luxury. Whatever the case may be, make sure your marketing efforts reflect your pricing decisions and effectively serve your target audience.
You Provide Extra Value
With smartphones, tablets, and personal computers, most retail consumers have easy access to the Internet at almost any given moment. Consequently, comparison shopping is highly prevalent, and it’s extremely easy for consumers to weigh your product’s features and benefits next to your competition’s.
Therefore, you need to find a way to give your company and offer that extra nudge, the tipping point to make shoppers choose your company over anyone else’s. Some of the ways you can provide added value include…
- Free shipping
- Coupons and free gifts
- Free trial periods or consultations
- Unique money-back guarantees
- Superior customer service
But whatever the extra value is that you provide, just make sure it’s something that your customers actually want.
Feed Your Customers’ Need For Convenience
Your customers don’t have an unlimited amount of time (or patience) to shop. Fostering an understanding of your customers’ pain points and biggest wants or needs is necessary in order to make their shopping experiences as convenient and enjoyable as possible.
Justin Christianson: “One way to differentiate from the competition is to continually be optimizing your offer. The more you understand your visitors, their behaviors, their problems, and their interactions on your site, the better you can deliver your product or service to them. Markets evolve constantly and things change quickly in the digital marketing landscape. It is important that you continue to evolve with it or your competition will surpass you.”
To maximize the convenience level of doing business with your company, try streamlining the checkout process, reducing the number of steps involved whenever possible; providing as much in-depth information about your products or services as you can, including customer reviews; and offering speedy customer service via email, live chat, and phone support.
Customers don’t want to presume any inherent risk when they’re shopping online, so meet them halfway and nurture a company culture that wears its trustworthiness on its sleeve.
Kim T. Gordon: “Recommendations from friends and peers–including consumer opinions posted online–are among the most trusted and can have the greatest influence on a purchase decision. So include testimonials, reviews or a message board on your website that helps customers understand why they should believe in your company and trust what you sell.”
A Little Company Conscious Goes A Long Way
More and more, customers are gravitating towards companies that are socially responsible. Whether it’s “going green” or having some kind of charitable affiliation, display your activist endeavors on your website and any promotional materials that you send out.
Demonstrating your company’s conscious helps build long-term relationships with your customers, setting you apart from your competition. When people associate a company with a cause that pulls at their heartstrings, they are more likely to choose that company over its competitors.
What makes your company unique? How does it stand apart from the competition?