Our high streets may be suffering, but the eCommerce sector is thriving. With more competition than ever, it's time to step your strategy up a gear. Learn how to create a USP and beat your eCommerce competitors with our 8 easy-to-implement strategies.

How do you compete in eCommerce?

Have you ever considered what differentiates you from your competitors?

The best way to get into the mind of your customer is to put yourself in their shoes.

Consider the last time you bought something online. Why did you choose to purchase on the eCommerce store you did?

While price may have come into it, it was likely more than that.

Successful eCommerce sites make a conscious effort to stand out. They understand the importance of creative marketing, have a flawless UX to reduce friction and build a connection with the buyer enough to secure repeat business.

The result is a USP their competitors can't rival, more customers, and more repeat customers too.

Sound good?

Here's how you can do it.

1. Are you invisible? Make yourself seen

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It's time to put a spotlight on your business.

Some of your larger competitors may always be able to trump you on price.

But if you can get your business into the limelight, you'll stand out regardless.

A thorough, creative marketing strategy is essential for any eCommerce store.

With so many opportunities to be seen, you'll want specialists working on PR, social media marketing, and Google ads.

When it comes to modern marketing, the options really are endless. A YouTube channel could pit you as an expert in your field and collaborations with influencers will make your brand the talk of the town.

In order to show customers you're the best, you need to be everywhere.

So don't be shy - make yourself seen.

2. Free delivery, returns & buy now pay later

Pleasing online customers is no walk in the park.

But their main bugbear?

Extra costs.

In fact, additional charges (including shipping, tax and fees) are the number one reason for cart abandonment.

With 75% of consumers now expecting free shipping, it's simple:

If your competitor is offering free delivery and you're not, you're likely to fall behind.

But it's not just offering free shipping that eCommerce businesses need to consider in 2019.

Klarna, now one of Europe's largest banks, allows customers more choice with how - and when - they pay.

With 'buy now pay later' and instalment options, they've helped brands increase basket size and returning customers.

And it's no wonder. Such schemes greatly reduce the risk for customers, allowing them to shop 'guilt-free'.

If a consumer can shop the same products with your competitor but not have to pay upfront, they're likely to be won over.

3. Display customer reviews to get ahead of the competition

There's no denying that customer reviews are valuable to your business.

Almost 67% of consumers place importance on online reviews.

If you have them, and your competitors don't, you're likely to look more trustworthy, reliable and transparent.

Stars are stamps of quality.

And if you have them, you're going to present a more enticing value proposition to customers.

Because stars can be shown in Google and social platforms as well as on-site, this will help you to stand out amongst competitors across the board.

Use reviews to lure paid and organic traffic away from competitors at every possible customer touchpoint.

4. Reward customers & build loyalty

Think about it: it's easier to convince previous happy customers to shop with you again than new customers.

Targeting customers just after they've had a great experience with you is an easy win to encourage customer loyalty.

And what does customer loyalty mean?

More repeat business for you, and a harder job for your eCommerce competitors.

But how do you target them?

With rewards.

Consumers love a deal, and they love gamification.

Offering incentives to customers through discounts, points and freebies is an incredibly simple way to build customer loyalty.

But it works.

And once they're hooked, loyal customers are unlikely to give your competitor's eCommerce sites a look in.

5. Create a desirable brand

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What makes one pair of white trainers more desirable than another?

It's all in the branding.

For eCommerce sites that don't have shop fronts and charismatic shop assistants to help build brand identity, the brand they build online is huge.

Consumers rarely buy into a product alone - especially when it's a fashion or lifestyle product.

It's often the 'story' of the brand that they buy into.

The aesthetics, values and lifestyle a brand portrays are what draw consumers in.

And are what eventually make one pair of trainers more desirable than another.

So if you can really define your brand and then bring it to life in a way customers understand - and do this consistently - they'll form such a bond and connection with your brand, that swapping to a competitor won't even cross their minds.

6. Build a fast, mobile-responsive site

In case you haven't heard, consumers are busier than ever.

And a slow eCommerce site just isn't going to cut it.

Consumers haven't got the time or the patience to sit around and wait for the graphics on your page to load. They want to be able to browse and purchase quickly and easily, often on the go using their mobile device.

In fact, 49% of consumers use mobile phones for shopping alone.

And slow loading speeds have a huge impact on their behaviour.

Bounce rates can triple for sites that take 3-5 seconds to load as opposed to 1-3.

Basically, your customers won't wait around.

And if your eCommerce store is slow, the statistics show they're likely to bounce and go elsewhere.

They're likely to go into the arms of your competitors.

What does this mean for you?

You're likely to lose customers at the first hurdle.

That's why a fast, mobile-optimised site is key to not only standing out from your competitors, but keeping customers away from them too.

7. Provide more information

You may know your products are great but do your potential customers?

Without the ability to touch, see and feel products in the flesh, consumers can be more cautious to commit online.

The key is to create more informed consumers.

Featuring elements such as reviews and customer photos and videos of products being used/worn will help customers get a really clear idea of what they're buying, enough to give them the confidence to follow through with the sale.

That's why those sites that provide a true-to-life experience online will stand out from the crowd.

If there is a limited amount of information on show, consumers are likely to go elsewhere.

8. Be charitable

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Along with wanting more visuals, a faster site, free delivery, more information, and desirability, consumers are also becoming more ethically-inclined.

And it's definitely not just a fad.

88% of consumers show more loyalty to those businesses that support social or environmental issues.

So integrating some strong values and ethics into your company will not just benefit the cause, they'll benefit your competitiveness too.

If consumers have the choice between buying a product that benefits their cause and one that doesn't, they're more than likely to go for the former.

Make sure the former is you.

**Reviews are a must for eCommerce businesses.Want to start standing out? Reach out to a member of our team and we'll get you setup with a free trial of Reviews.io so you can start trumping your competition today.