If you’re looking to jump on the eCommerce store craze, you’re in luck – the industry is booming more now than ever before. But although it’s possible to achieve great success through your own eCommerce business, you should also know that the road to riches is tough from start to finish.
In fact, you might be surprised how difficult it is to ensure your eCommerce store becomes – and stays – successful over the long-term. Let’s break down what it takes to have a successful eCommerce store in 2021 in more detail.
Why is the eCommerce Sphere So Competitive?
It’s tough to create an eCommerce store that shines brighter than the competition and lasts for the long-term, in part because anyone can create an eCommerce business these days. The low barrier to entry is advantageous in some respects – it may even be how you’re able to start your own eCommerce store. But it also means your company needs to be particularly excellent relative to the competition to get enough market share to be successful.
Furthermore, the glut of active eCommerce businesses means that customers don’t know where they should spend their time and money without targeted messaging and a good brand strategy. In other words, there are almost too many eCommerce businesses to go around. But don’t give up just yet. Though the eCommerce industry is particularly fierce and is only going to grow further, there’s still hope for new business owners who stick to solid strategies.
How to Make Your eCommerce Store Competitive in 2021
Making your eCommerce competitive and successful is about more than just providing a ton of products. More than anything, it’s about focus.
Identify and Focus on Your USP
The first thing you should do is identify your USP or unique selling proposition. In a nutshell, your USP is the single defining factor that separates your brand from other direct competitors. For instance, imagine Apple compared to one of its direct competitors, like Microsoft. Both are computer companies that provide physical computers and software. But what is Apple’s USP compared to the much larger, much more business-friendly Microsoft?
It’s actually twofold: gadgets and interconnectivity. Apple draws in customers and ensures long-term brand loyalty by making all of its gadgets, software, and computers work together rather than being able to work with Microsoft technology (with a few exceptions). Apple doesn’t just make operating systems: it makes computers, operating systems, music players, music makers, and more. All of these different technologies work together through Macs.
Don’t know how to identify your USP? There are a few questions you can ask yourself that might make this easier:
- What does your eCommerce store offer in particular?
- Why would you shop at your eCommerce store instead of another?
- What problems does your eCommerce store solve for your customers?
- What makes your eCommerce store different from all the others?
If you can answer even a few of these questions, you’ll likely have at least some idea of your brand’s USP.
Once you’ve established your unique selling proposition, emphasize it as much as possible. Lean into what makes you different, not what makes you like your direct competitors. You won’t be able to capture the entire eCommerce market no matter how successful you are. It’s a much better strategy to capitalize on a single chunk of the market you can reliably retain over the long-term.
Practice Good SEO for Your Site and Marketing
SEO or search engine optimization is also crucial if you want your eCommerce store to be successful. SEO means optimizing your:
- Website copy
- Marketing copy
- Website name
- Product names
- Blog posts
All of this optimization is geared toward one thing: ranking your website higher with Google’s search engine algorithms. The better your website is search-engine optimized, the easier it will be for people to find your site when searching for targeted keywords. Since there are so many competing eCommerce stores up and running, you can’t afford to be fifth on the list for your target keywords. You have to be number one.
Fortunately, you can utilize software and services tailored to eCommerce SEO to improve rankings across the board. Use these tools to improve your website’s copy everywhere and you’ll almost immediately see better traffic from your target audience.
Market, Market, Market
Speaking of marketing, you should spend lots of time and attention on your marketing campaigns and overall brand messaging. It’s not enough to pay for a few cheap advertisements and hope that people stumble upon your website, no matter how good your SEO is. You’ll also need to advertise by:
- Sending out email newsletters
- Joining eCommerce store groups
- Cross-promoting content with other eCommerce business owners
Your marketing campaigns are the best way to draw in new customers and get individuals to try your store before the rest of your website design kicks in to keep them there. To this end, make sure to take note of eCommerce trends and take advantage of them in regard to both your marketing and offered product. It helps to stay relevant, particularly in an as fast-moving industry as eCommerce.
Build a Killer Website
Naturally, your eCommerce website has to be the best possible version of itself. Think of your eCommerce website as your digital storefront; when customers “walk in”, they should be wowed. Furthermore, they should be able to intuitively navigate through your eCommerce website without any lag or confusing buttons.
You should look into building an excellent website using website builders or through hiring web developers and designers to do the job for you. If you have the technical chops to get the job done, you might consider putting your own eCommerce website together using a popular platform like WordPress.
Fortunately, WordPress and similar platforms are relatively easy to grasp. Even better, WordPress sites are easy to integrate with Google Analytics and other SEO tracking and analysis tools. With these tools constantly gathering data on your WordPress site, you’ll learn:
- How much traffic you get
- The type of traffic you get
- Where your traffic comes from
- Your average revenue by demographic group
Learning and understanding all of these metrics can help you tailor more effective marketing campaigns in the future, tweak your SEO efforts even further, and more. Don’t forget to spend a lot of time on your eCommerce website’s overall design and aesthetic. It needs to be a joy to navigate through so people can locate your eCommerce store products quickly and easily. Your checkout experience should be similarly smooth and seamless.
Maintain Excellent Customer Support
One of the best ways to separate your eCommerce business from the competition is to maintain fantastic customer support indefinitely. There are tons of startups that promise 24/7 customer support initially, only for that support to taper off over the following weeks and months after the company draws in its initial crop of customers. People hate this – it feels like they were misled.
Furthermore, nothing can drive people away faster from your eCommerce store than feeling like their concerns aren’t heard. To alleviate this, invest in simple technologies, like chatbots, and strive to maintain constant customer support channels so you can help people with their technical problems. Not only does this help you get more orders finalized, but it also connects people to your eCommerce store on a personal level, earning you valuable customer loyalty.
All in all, it’ll take a lot for your eCommerce store to be successful. But you can do it provided you practice the above strategies and strive to make your eCommerce website unique, helpful, and as high-quality as possible. Good luck!