How to get ahead and stay ahead of the competition online

ecommerce website design

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many stores that couldn’t manage running costs such as employee wages, rent, electricity bills, etc moved to a more accommodating place; called the Internet. This exponential shift online translated into added competition for already existing eCommerce businesses operating on the internet. This article explains what you need to do in order to get ahead of the competition.

Know your customers

A wise man once said: “The customer is always right”, which if you think of it, he had a point. You see, a customer’s feedback is as impartial as it gets. It is usually something they believe could have made their experience better. And this roughly applies to the rest of your customers too. So by that logic if you rectify that specific thing, you would be improving the experience of many, if not all of your customers.

You may be wondering how all this is relevant to an online store, where there aren’t any customers physically interacting with the store. Well what if I tell you that they don’t really need to interact with you in person for you to know their feedback, or interact with you at all.

An advantage of running an online business is that an influx of relevant information is always available at your fingertips. That includes knowing what your customer likes and dislikes. This is made possible by something called “cookies”. They store crucial customer information and track what they purchase, or what they visit. These cookies play a major role in identifying your customer preferences. So first and foremost, figure out what your customers like by analyzing your website’s cookies.

Identify your competition

Being aware of your competition is a survival skill whether you are a brick-and-mortar store owner or an online one. This is necessary because it assists in understanding various trends and shifts in the marketplace.

You can find out about your competitors by searching your product name on any search engine platform (Google, MIcrosoft Bing, DuckDuckGo etc ) and then classify them into two categories; primary competitors and secondary competitors.

Your primary competitor will be in direct competition to you. For example, if your primary business strategy comprises of selling guitars, then your primary competitor will also be selling guitars. 

And your secondary competitor will be in indirect competition to you. An indirect competitor would sell something not exactly your product, but in the same shape or form related to it. If we take the guitar example again, an indirect competitor could sell guitar accessories. They’re your indirect competitor because of simple economics; if the price of guitar accessories remains low then more people will consider buying guitars, and vice versa.

Now that you’ve done all the hard work, it’s time to grab a pen and paper and write down your observations. These observations include, but aren’t limited to

  • Website design / layout
  • Pricing
  • Customer service

Find your USP

USP’s, or Unique Selling Propositions are key elements that help a business grow. USP’s differ from business to business. It may be a product or service, your business website/app, or something as simple as customer service. Ask yourself what you think you can offer that is not currently being offered in the market. Once you find out your X factor, implement it and work so hard in improving it that it becomes synonymous with your business. This will go a long way in ensuring you stay ahead of your competition.

Go back to the drawing board

Once you’ve garnered key information related to your business, it’s time you head back to the drawing board and reanalyze everything. Most individuals are reluctant to self-reflect, citing that they know what they’re doing is correct. And that is the most common made by people. Thing is, the businesses that do get ahead and stay ahead of competition are those run by individuals who frequently indulge in self-reflection, identify their shortcomings, and grow from those mistakes.

So no matter how big your business gets, always keep analyzing yourself and improving.

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