Growing up, I used to absolutely love doing a ‘Where’s Wally?’. Okay, I still love doing a ‘Where’s Wally?’. For those that don’t know, the point of a ‘Where’s Wally?’ picture is to find Wally, the hero of the piece, stood somewhere in his red and white striped jumper.
For Sellerdeck, our ethos is to work with ambitious online retailers to build unique online businesses and that means to stand out from the crowd. A ‘Where’s Wally?’ picture is a lot like the modern web, it’s crowded and there’s a lot of people who look just like you – is it even possible to stand out anymore?
Whilst it’s not easy, we still think it’s possible and here are some of my top tips for doing so.
Concentrate on your niche
Have you ever seen your sales slipping and think that the way to combat that is to sell more stuff, to increase your product base? If yes, you wouldn’t be alone. I’ve come across a lot of stores, with sometimes thousands of products and for me, it doesn’t work. My favourite metaphor for this is a menu. If I sit down in a restaurant and the menu is massive, I’m worried that the chef can’t possibly specialise in all of those dishes, let alone have them fresh.
However, if a menu has a small amount of specialist items then I’m happy and I know I’m more likely to get a good meal – more to the point, that restaurant will probably become known for their specialist menu.
You get where I’m going here, right?
Too many products cannibalise each other. They make sites messy, clunky to use and often quite slow. Niche is the way forward – for more on this, here’s an older blog of mine.
Build features for a seamless experience
Do you know what the best e-commerce website is? Simple… it’s the one that lets you buy the product you want to buy, with ease and no fuss. Often, you won’t know what makes a site special, and that’s because it’s just been so easy to use. For us here at Sellerdeck, one site that we’re very proud to be a part of is the Club House Golf website. Club House Golf, in partnership with Sellerdeck, have worked tirelessly to make sure their website suits the needs and requirements of their users. Everything is where it needs to be, the filtering is second to none and it can handle hundred and hundreds of transactions simultaneously.
Features aren’t just about fancy elements that make people go ‘oh, that’s cool’. Sometimes they’re simply making sure the site does what it’s supposed to do.
Getting your site right takes investigation, analysis, understanding of your data and investment; investment that is worth it to take that important next step.
There’s two good places to start with this: Customer Reviews and Heatmapping.
Customer Reviews will tell you what those that buy like or don’t like about your site or your products/services. Heatmapping will show you exactly where your users click or don’t click. Analysing this data is vital for improving.
Pay attention to the competition
You need to try and be different from your competitors, that goes without saying, even though I just said it. Without some incredible luck it would be pretty impossible to be different from your competitors without first knowing exactly what they’re up to. Here, you’re looking out for a couple of things. Firstly, you need eyes on what they’re doing; it might be something that you also need to be doing.
But hang on, I hear you cry! Aren’t we trying to be different… well, yes, but to be different, you also need to be just as good.
If your competitors do things like reach out to their customers, manage their social media well and have a modern functioning site, make sure you’re doing at least that and more.
Delivery is a pretty damn important part of e-commerce, not just because without it, well, there is no commerce, but it can make or break repeat custom. It can also make or break your PR. My other half gets ‘Glossy Box’ every month, a subscription box filled with a mix of various make-up samples. Whilst the samples are great, half the experience for her is the unwrapping, unboxing and then sharing photos of her new box online. Why? Because it always looks lovely.
The other side of the coin, go search Twitter for #AmazonPackaging to see people moaning about their orders. Granted, this doesn’t stop people buying from Amazon, and you could argue it garners them lots of free social shares, but smaller businesses don’t want people complaining about their packaging on twitter.
Be Meaningfully Different
You know that one burnt out matchstick that’s always in the matchbox (who is it that keeps putting dead matches back!?), it’s different from all the rest, but it doesn’t make it better. In fact, it’s frazzled out and useless.
You don’t want your business to be burned out and useless, you want it to stand out from the crowd and be selected for purpose.
Being meaningfully different can be achieved by doing all of the things in the above few paragraphs. You could concentrate on a niche, have great tech-lead features, and a seamless shopping experience, great delivery etc or all of the above (and more). But there’s also a lot more you can do, like challenge on price, or great offers or guarantees. Remember, this doesn’t have to be with every customer. What if for every 1000th order you phoned up the customer and gave them a prize, or their order for free? I could almost guarantee that they would shout that from the metaphorically social hills, and others might just use your shop over a competitor on the small chance they’ll get lucky.
It comes down to this… a bit of thought, and I can tell you now it’s not always easy, but is always possible. E-commerce markets are increasingly flooded. If you have, or had a business that was once thriving and profitable, no doubt someone will notice that and try and replicate it. When someone does that, they have fresh ideas and newer technologies. Make sure you stay relevant, re-invent your business when you can and don’t get left behind.
Evolution isn’t easy, but it’s essential for standing out from the crowd and surviving the ever-flooding markets. Being meaningfully different takes a lot of work but Sellerdeck can help you achieve that.
Don’t be a wally…