Global eCommerce sales are expected to reach 22% of the total retail sales in 2023. By the same year, the global eCommerce market size is forecast to hit $6.5Bn.
In this rapidly growing and highly competitive industry, online retailers need to pursue smart competitive tactics to rank out their rivals.
To successfully implement these tactics, you have to learn about your audience. The first thing you need to know is that they want it all. They want the best shopping experience, buying the best value at the best price. Do you believe that the shopping experience in your store fulfills their expectations?
If you have the slightest doubt, hear out our comprehensive eCommerce tactics to learn how to gain competitive strength with the right pricing strategy, how to improve your website and the shopping experience you offer.
Smart Tactics for eCommerce Businesses
Offer competitive prices
Competitive pricing is a strategy marketers pursue to make pricing decisions based on competitor prices. There is a simple logic behind this strategy.
If two different stores sell the same product, their prices will make the difference. That doesn’t mean every retailer must work on being the cheapest destination for all products. Each business has unique objectives, and you need to develop a pricing strategy that best fits yours.
To learn from the best, let’s look at Amazon’s pricing strategy.
Unlike the common belief, the retail giant doesn’t always offer the best price.
According to a former Business Leader of Amazon, the company offers the best price only for popular products.
So, you can find a best-seller cheapest on Amazon, but another laptop that is less popular can be found cheaper elsewhere.
What does that mean for SMBs?
Since big retailers like Walmart manage to get the best deals from suppliers it’s highly likely that you won’t be able to beat their prices on popular products. What about the ones that they don’t compete on price? How can you determine them?
There is only one way to do it.
Track competitor prices. Once you identify who competes at which prices, determine the products that you can offer the cheapest deal without making a loss. You’ll be able to attract many new shoppers into your store. After that point, you’re going to work on turning them into loyal customers.
While you are tracking competitor prices, you will face the fact that giants like Amazon are not your only concern. You have many competitors, mostly SMBs, that are also competing on price. Let’s imagine a realistic scenario where you manually track competitor prices for all of your products.
Say that you have 100 products in your assortment and 15 competitors who sell the same products. In this scenario, you’d have to spend more than 16 hours to collect all the price information.
Do you know what is worse than spending all this time collecting the data? Online retailers change prices so frequently that a big portion of these prices will change before you manage to acquire them all.
Then, how big companies that have hundreds of competitors track all the competitor prices on time?
Use pricing software
Turning back to Amazon’s pricing strategy, the company has a dynamic pricing engine that collects competitor prices, current demand info, historical sales data, and many other factors to price a product, and frequently changes prices due to the dynamic nature of these determinants.
So, if Amazon’s decision-makers decide to offer the best price for a popular product, the engine makes it happen. Sounds magical, right? Well, it comes at a cost. The company invests millions in their in-house pricing engine. But the results are outstanding, obviously.
Some of you might think, how is it possible for an SMB to compete with an engine like that? Now, even if SMBs don’t have millions to invest in such an engine, price tracking and dynamic pricing SaaS come to their help.
The software collects competitor prices, adjusts prices against competitors, and makes sure you cover your costs.
Furthermore, it allows you to test different price points to find the one that yields the highest demand. What does that mean?
As you can see, the store above offers the best price for this camera. At first glance, it might seem like they pursued the right strategy, considering the fact that they come up first in a price search. However, it’s not the case.
The closest competitor sells the same product for £930 more. Meaning, even if this store sold it for £1650, they would’ve still come up first on a comparison shopping engine and attract so many customers. The company would have profited more on a different price point, and they would have known it if they’ve had them tested.
To gain competitive strength without seriously cutting profits, what you need to do is clear.
Track competitor prices, adjust prices against competitors in-time and test different price points to find out the optimal one. Use price tracking software to automate all of these processes.
Collect real-time data
Use real-time data to reveal information that is crucial to your business’s growth.
First of all, identify the technical errors on your website. For example, a high bounce rate can be a sign of slow loading speed.
Of course, the first solution that comes to your mind may not resolve the issue. But once you define the problem, you can test different solutions.
Real-time data also reveals the source of your website’s traffic, the time visitors spend on a landing page, visitors’ demographics, whether they actually purchase something, etc.
Make use of real-time data to measure the effectiveness of your sales campaign.
For example, measure whether the campaign actually reached the target audience it was planned to. Compare the visitor numbers before and after you have released the campaign, look at their country/city of origin, whether they are new or return customers, etc. to analyze the effectiveness of your campaign.
Furthermore, real-time data allows you to recognize patterns in customer behavior. When do they shop, how do they navigate on your website from one product category to another, product recommendations that attract the largest number of customers and other information that illustrate patterns in shopper behavior will be revealed.
You should also do A/B testing to analyze how customers react to different page designs, call to action buttons, images, and promotional campaigns. Use that information to create a more appealing website design.
Integrate AI solutions
Make use of AI assistants and chatbots to improve communication with your customers. Shoppers want to be able to contact you 24/7.
Even if you already use a chatbot, don’t forget that there is still room for improvement. Voice and image searches are becoming increasingly popular among online stores. Gartner predicts that by 2020, 30% of web browsing will be via voice search. Be an early adopter of this technology to attract increasingly tech-savvy shoppers.
Moreover, AI systems also help businesses make personalized and highly accurate product recommendations. Online retail giant Alibaba benefits largely from AI-based product recommendation technology.
AI solutions can also be used to sending promotion alerts and personalized offers based on historical purchase information. Rather than sending standardized emails to all of your customers, implement these solutions to have well-targeted marketing campaigns.
Another AI-powered solution you can benefit from is visual listening. Visual listening allows brands to identify reviews, shared experiences, images and other forms of content that include a brand’s name or logo. Using this technology enables you to understand the popular view of your brand and see the negative and positive features uttered by the majority of customers.
The last AI-backed tool we’ll recommend is the assortment intelligence. The relatively new technology lets its users know the product assortment of their competitors and match it with their own. Use this tool to identify the extent to which you and your competitors’ product mix matches. Easily detect the changes in their assortment and modify yours when necessary.
The first thing you need to know is that user-generated content is rapidly taking over brand-generated content. 79% of respondents in a survey stated that user-generated content highly impacts their purchasing decision. While 13% said brand-generated content is impactful, and only 8% stated that influencer-generated content impacts their purchasing decision.
Interestingly, 49% of marketers surveyed in the same study said they plan to increase investment in influencer marketing. That means there is a wide gap between how shoppers perceive content and the way marketers analyze it.
Brands like Vans who keep their fingers on the pulse of the young people succeed in publishing great examples of user-generated content.
As your audience grows on social media, you’ll encounter posts that are interesting, funny and truly authentic like the one below.
Don’t forget that customers value the experience of others. Make room for user-generated content on your website too.
Today’s customers are interested in instructional content. Start a blog if you haven’t yet, inform your customers on your products, publish DIY videos, transfer your expertise through creative and fun-to-read content.
High-quality instructional content will be shared a lot more than old school ad campaigns, increase customer engagement, and add value to your brand.
Beautycounter’s blog post is an outstanding example of modern content touching on extremely important and often neglected issues like human health and environmental pollution.
Modify website design
Interactive website design is one of the sexiest trends in eCommerce. Some eCommerce businesses started using augmented reality (AR) to give shoppers a better understanding of their products. For example, Magnolia Market integrated an AR backed solution to their mobile apps, allowing customers to visualize how the product will fit in with their homes.
Of course, that can be a little too costly. Microinteractions, another website design trend that is much more affordable than an AR technology, make users feel like they are getting instant reactions from a website.
If a call to action button grows in size when you move your cursor on top of it, you are experiencing a micro-interaction. Insert micro-interaction into your store so that customers feel like your website communicates with them.
A keystone element of trendy website design is simplicity, often accompanied by bold colors. This trend emerged back in 2017, but it still reigns. Don’t overcomplicate your website design with unnecessary elements. That can make customers feel overwhelmed with stimuli.
You must note that your website’s accessibility, meaning, its ease of use for disabled shoppers must be improved, regardless of whether it’s trendy or not. Accessibility is a major concern of every company that seeks to be inclusive.
Improve product visuals
Shoppers expect to see high-quality multi-angle product visuals to have a good idea of how the product looks in real life. Many businesses, mostly fashion brands, now provide product videos so that customers better visualize the product.
Of course, not everyone has runway models’ body figures, and seeing garments on a model doesn’t always give you an idea of how it’ll look like on your body. That’s why we love that ASOS offers videos on nearly all of their product pages and that they work with models with various body types.
Especially if your products are rather complicated, meaning, if people need instructions for their use, product videos are incredibly useful.
The eCommerce industry is rapidly growing all around the globe. Local businesses not only compete with each other, but they are also contested by big retailers. To outshine the competition, marketers develop new tactics each day in parallel with the advancements in technology.
As an online retailer, you have to be aware of the trends and the latest tactics developed by brainy marketers. That’s the only way to survive in this harshly competitive environment.
In this post, we tried to give you an idea of what’s going on in the eCommerce world lately. Implement our smart competitive tactics to improve your competitive strength and outrank your rivals.