This is the third post in a blog series. You can view the previous week’s post about finding your ideal customer here.
More often than not, someone has already had your brilliant idea. There’s probably someone out there right now selling those flame-throwing Barbie dolls that you invented in the shower last night.
But that doesn’t mean you should give up on your dream. Who says there can only be one flame-throwing Barbie doll anyway? In other words, the notion that you have to be entirely unique in your market is false.
You don’t need to be the only person doing what you’re doing. You just need to be the only one doing it like you.
Here are some core brand differentiators to help set you apart from the competition:
- Price & Value
We’re all price-cutters and bargain hunters. It’s practically modern America’s pastime. Knowing this, you need to convince your customer that, by purchasing your product, they are getting their money’s worth and then some.
That doesn’t mean you have to be the absolute cheapest price out there (and with margins so low on Amazon that’s almost never possible). But it does mean that you have to give customers a good reason to buy your product at whatever price you set.
- Customer Service
This is a tricky one for eCommerce businesses because they are, by definition, low touch. But it is worth spending some time considering how to improve your customer service—better return policy, 24/7 chat, etc.—to drive conversions.
Here again we have the problem of Amazon. Unless your product is super niche, Amazon is probably going to have a better selection than you have. Giving customers more options to choose from could, however, differentiate you from the next small-scale supplier and earn you some loyal customers.
- Knowledge & Expertise
Positioning yourself as an expert on your product and a source for valuable information is an effective way to set yourself apart from giants like Amazon. People are hungry for credible information. Be the company who knows their stuff.
5. Local Business Angle
Who doesn’t love a good underdog story? Some customers—not all, but some—take genuine pride in supporting small businesses. You can play the David vs. Goliath card, and people may just fight for you.
- Luxury, Status, Prestige
This motivator speaks to the part of us that enjoys feeling “special.” People may want to associate with your brand because they view it as elite or because it elevates their image among their peer group.
Many eCommerce companies have found great success by focusing their brand on solving one or more specific problems. For example, becoming the go-to supplement brand for sleep problems. Specialization is a great way to distinguish your business from others in a similar space.
Note from the Author
Starting an eCommerce business is like building a rocket in your garage and expecting it to take you to the moon—it might not work, and even if it does, there’s a good chance you’ll get hurt along the way.
The good news is you’re not the first person crazy enough to try this. There are many others (myself included) who have tried, failed, and tried again. By learning from our many (many) mistakes, you can launch an eCommerce business that makes it safely to orbit and beyond.
In this blog series, you’ll get a step-by-step guide to creating and launching your eCommerce business years 1–3. We go over how to create a functional brand, set up your website, and develop an advertising strategy that scales with you. We’ll go through the various pros and cons, so that you can feel empowered to make the best decisions for your business.
My name is Chris Franks, and I’m the founder and CEO of CleverFunnel, a digital marketing agency that focuses on using straightforward, data-driven strategies to drive real results for our clients.
I’m also an avid lover of indie music, fly fishing, baseball, and sunscreen (although that’s more of a genetic necessity). I wrote this series with the hope that my story could help other young entrepreneurs achieve their goals, without losing their savings (or their sanity) in the process. If any bit of this helps you, it’ll have been worth it.