The internet makes it possible for anyone to run a profitable eCommerce store, if they have the willingness to learn and the drive to make it happen. This opens up unlimited doors to success for you, but it also means you’ll have more competitors than you could ever imagine.
As the world of eCommerce grows and evolves, you’ll need to take certain steps now in order to make sure your store will stay competitive along the way. We’ve put together 5 ways you can keep your Shopify store competitive, no matter what the future of eCommerce holds.
#1: Have a Strong and Stable Web Presence
If you have a Shopify store, you already have some kind of web presence. However, the extent of your web presence will determine how well your store will compete with others. Your web presence is determined by the following:
- Page loading times
- Website stability
- Photo choice and quality
- Ease of checkout
A quickly-loading, well-designed store with easy navigation and beautiful product photos is going to compete far better for business than a slow, poorly designed store with unprofessional photos.
If you want your store to compete with the best, it should behave and look very professional – otherwise it has a higher chance of falling by the wayside.
#2: Use Social Media Effectively
Part of your web presence comes from social media. Everyone has their own opinion of social media, but there’s no debate it’s an extremely useful marketing tool which is expected to stay relevant for many years to come.
Understanding social media is an important part of making your store competitive. You don’t have to be present on every social media platform, but you should be present on those which your target audience uses most often.
In addition, you should tailor your social media marketing strategy to each platform you use – each platform is different, and thus varying strategies are in order to maximize your presence. However, your main strategy on each platform should be to make the conversation about your customer – many businesses squander their social media presence by only talking about themselves.
Post about your business every so often, but take the time to respond to customers and show interest in their lives on a regular basis – this will help you build a personal connection with them, and you’ll build trust and reach new audiences using this method.
#3: Collect Positive Reviews from Customers
When you shop online, do positive reviews from other customers make you more likely to purchase a specific product or purchase from one vendor over another? If you’re like most online shoppers, the answer is a resounding “yes,” as positive reviews are one of the best ways to build trust with shoppers before they’ve made their first purchase.
The best way to cultivate positive reviews is to offer a product and service that deserves them. Tell the truth on your product pages, and use accurate product photos and videos – don’t stretch the truth or you’ll be looking at negative reviews.
Any time you make a sale, you should prompt the customer to leave a review about their experience. Offer them entry to a raffle, a discount code, or free shipping on their next order for leaving a review. Over time, you’ll establish a database of positive reviews (given your store and products deserve them) which will help you compete with other vendors – even those with lower prices and better buying power.
#4: Use Effective Marketing
Your marketing strategy doesn’t have to be elaborate. You don’t have to invest thousands of dollars into a marketing team for your small eCommerce store just to be competitive – a simple and effective strategy should do the trick just fine.
The best marketing strategy for most Shopify stores uses the following:
- Content marketing
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- Email Marketing
Content marketing is the use of blogs, articles, photos, videos, and product descriptions to attract leads. It’s the first step of any inbound marketing strategy, and it works by attracting your target audience without the direct intent to sell them something – it’s only after they see your content that they feel encouraged to make a purchase from your store.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) works hand-in-hand with content marketing. Use basic SEO strategies when you create and post your content in order to achieve a higher position on search engine results pages (SERPs) – the higher your site ranks on these pages, the more visible it is to your target audience. If you can rank more highly than your competitors, you’ll have a higher chance of garnering clicks with your link than theirs – giving you an advantage!
Email marketing is among the oldest internet marketing tricks in the book, but it still works very effectively. The idea is to establish a database of leads by collecting contact information from visitors to your site. Once you a visitor’s email, you can send them updates about your store and deals – they’ll see these emails regularly and will thus remember your store when they see them, reminding them to pay your shop another visit.
These strategies are very simple, but they make up the basics of modern marketing. Use them to your advantage, and you’ll be surprised at how much of an edge they give you over your competitors.
#5: Use Third-Party Apps to Improve Your Store’s Reach
Keeping up with all aspects of running a Shopify store can be quite an undertaking for a single person or a small team of people. Fortunately, there are hundreds of third-party applications available online for small business owners to use – some areas of business these applications cover include:
- Email marketing automation
- Shipping management
- Inventory management
- Point of Sale
The types of software your store needs will depend on what you are selling, how many sales you make, and how large your team is. By choosing the right software, you can operate a million-dollar online business all by yourself – if any part of your business feels like it’s absorbing your time, look for a third-party application which could help save your efforts.
What are your tips for staying competitive in today’s online market? Let us know in the comments below!