The Secret to Beating your Online Competitors
Most likely, the next 10 years will bring of rush of internet entrepreneurs into your online market. With everyone jumping on the internet bandwagon, how will you handle these new found competitors? The following article will suggest some strategical ways to avoid the typical competitive marketplace.
Don’t Compete on:
- Price: Why? Because it’s too easy for someone else to sneak up behind you and undercut your pricing. Sure, you can take the Walmart approach, but that might be risky. The only thing keeping Walmart customers coming back is price. What happens when you can no longer afford to lower your prices, but your competitor can? Zappos found this out the hard way
- Selection: Your brand image is determined by more than just your corporate logos and motto’s. Your unique product mix greatly influences your customer’s perception of who you are. Offering too broad of a product selection may blur the clarity of your brand.
- Technology: Technology without purpose and benefit is a waste of both your money and your customer’s time.
Don’t get me wrong, price, selection, and technology are 3 important factors in the success of your business. Yet, I would argue that these factors alone will not determine your success.
Do Compete on:
- Personality: Whether you write a blog, or run a online web store, no competitor can match your unique corporate personality. The style in which you blog, or the unique perspective in which you describe your products or services cannot be duplicated. Site’s like Threadless and MooseJaw are oozing with a aura that greatly sets them apart in mind of their customers.
- Service: I would strongly agree with Zappos.com’s CEO Tony Hsieh that Customer service is an investment, not an expense. We’ve all heard it said that keeping your existing customers is far cheaper than acquiring new ones.
- Community: Do your customers feel as if they are part of something bigger than just themselves? If your marketing messages consistently communicate nothing but “sell, sell, sell”, your customers may feel as if they are nothing but a $ sign on the P & L.
- Product Mix: Your unique product mix differentiates you. You don’t necessarily need the best selection, but rather the right selection.
In summary, you should never have a competitor. Of course you’ll compete with other businesses for the dollars of your marketplace, but no one should be able to come close to matching your unique selling proposition.