Standing out in a saturated market can be draining on small businesses, as some are just not up to the competition. But there's good news - there are lots and lots of ways new businesses can make their mark in the eCommerce market and stand out from competitors.
Although brands may be terrified at the thought of a 'saturated market', this can be just the right environment for businesses to continually grow and innovate. With higher levels of competition, your business is constantly encouraged to improve products or services and continually learn how to make your business stand out.
If you're thinking of entering a competitive market or have noticed competition increasing around you, we can share a few lessons in how to make your online store stand out in the crowd.
Tell your story
In markets where products, packaging, and branding are all very similar, the best way to stand out from your competitors is to foreground your story. Most brands tell their story through their marketing output, promoting their products, and standing out via the unique narrative of how they came to be.
We're all familiar with the John Lewis Christmas adverts, melting the hearts of the nation on an annual basis - that is storytelling marketing. More recently, many brands have started using storytelling marketing to stand out in business as well as stick in their customer's memory.
Warburton's is a fantastic example of using storytelling to make your business stand out. This ad tells the story of the Bolton-based bread company competing with Robert De Niro's character to control the monopoly on bagels, a classically American staple. As a homage to Goodfellas, Warburtons use a globally recognised narrative to humbly reflect their homegrown business, and collect a few laughs along the way.
Every business has a story, so tell yours!
Sell niche products
If you're heading into an already saturated market and learning how to make your business stand out, seeking out niche sub-groups within your chosen market is a fantastic idea.
Niche products usually evolve from a larger market and solve a more specific problem the customer may have. This could be specialty nappies for babies with extra sensitive skin or organic dog food for the gluten intolerant, celiac, vegetarian dogs out there. These would be considered niche products.
Lush did exactly this when they started offering their customers a free face mask in exchange for their little black pots. By doing this they offered their customers a special role in 'a sustainable recycling scheme that enables [their packaging] to come back to life more times than an Eastenders cast member'. Doing this set them apart and solidified them as a favourite in the cosmetics market.
By offering customers a unique twist on your products, you can effectively start learning how to stand out in a saturated market and build a loyal customer base! But sometimes brands already have a set product and have no way to make this a more niche offering, so, often they create a niche packaging element by creating a unique unboxing experience.
Making up for their minimal product packaging, Glossier encases their orders in a pink bubble-wrap zip-lock pouch and includes a lithographic with their recognisable brand logo inside. Customers will then find multiple stickers printed with their Instagram hashtag (great marketing there), and all of this is encased within a magnetic-seal cardboard box! Functional, reusable and above all very cute! An excellently unique packaging experience that helps them stand out!
Create bundles or subscription boxes
Bundles and subscription boxes have long been an effective method of standing out in business. Subscription boxes are a great way for customers to try new products or have their favourite ones delivered regularly without the hassle of reordering. Creating bundles of products that save your customers time searching in the shops can solve problems for them and improve business for you.
For customers that buy products on a regular basis, signing up for subscription box services or bundles can provide an easy means of accessing them without paying for multiple shipping fees.
If you're interested in starting a service like this when learning how to make your business stand out, these are some of the best eCommerce platforms for subscription box services:
- Squarespace: with their Advanced plan users can set up recurring billing cycles, edit subscription products, and manage all customer payments with you in one, easy to use area.
- WooCommerce: with their Subscriptions Plugin sellers can fully customise their subscription plan(s), manage recurring payments, and even set up product-of-the-month boxes
- BigCommerce: with their convenient subscription component, users can manage subscribers, billing, and fulfillment, and even set up a finance model (buy now, pay later)
Stand out on social media
Often these days brands set their roots in social media platforms, building a solid customer base there and drawing these to an external website. A business social media account can project your brand into the homes of millions, allowing you to connect with your followers, run competitions and build a tangible brand persona!
To stand out on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter try to:
- Post consistently: content is the currency of social media for business, so posting consistently is essential
- Share your account: ask friends and family to share your account to spread the word about your businesses social media
- Keep an eye on trends: you don't have to go viral to be popular, but it helps! Stay up to date with memes, viral content and such to stay in the know
- Link up with similar businesses: lots of small businesses on social media are more than willing to collab, so go ahead and ask similar brands to link up!
Eventually you'll be able to convert these followers to customers and draw in revenue from social media. 'Conversions' are when brands have successfully converted (or turned) a casual follower into a paying customer. Meaning your social media account has directed people to your website and they have made a purchase from you.
To stand out in a saturated market, having a great social media presence is something all brands should be building towards. Some businesses simply keep plugging away, posting regularly and others invest in paid social media ads, either way, paying any amount of attention to your social presence is good enough!
Review your prices
Pricing has always and will always be important. Pricing shows the value of your products, draws customers in, and keeps them coming back for more. When figuring out how to make your online store stand out, think of your pricing like a beacon on a foggy night, drawing customers in.
When settling on how to price a product it's important to take into account factors like season, economic climate, and competition. Take some time to figure out:
- Who your customers are
- How much are others charging for similar products
- How much your products take to produce overall
- What your delivery strategy will cost
Once you've done the rough calculations, you can start to build a general price plan for your products. But keep them flexible, customers will be drawn to your brand if they notice your pricing is always in flux, constantly shifting to accommodate customer demand.
Pricing is an excellent way to stand out in business so get them right!
Leverage consumer psychology
Wouldn't running a business be so much easier if you could read the mind of your customers and offer them exactly what they're looking for? Well, we can't read minds but we can try to understand consumer psychology. When studying how to stand out in a saturated market, being aware of consumer behaviour can be a guide to do this well.
Our brains are primed to respond well to certain images, colours, and language, so by using this information to shape your eCommerce store you can have psychology on your side. Try:
- Using faces in product pictures - humans seek out faces and they capture their attention
- Using urgent language to imply a limited supply and a greater demand
- Using specific colours to evoke a particular emotion e.g. orange = call to action
Principles of consumer psychology have also stressed how well consumers respond to rewards as incentives to buy. This could be a 10% discount for new customers or free shipping on their next order. 66% of consumers stated that just by being offered these rewards their spending behaviour changed (in that business' favour!)
Offer great customer service
It's an unfortunate tale when a business offers excellent products and stylish branding but doesn't respond to emails, or phone calls and their shipping services leave much to be desired. No one likes being left on 'read', and to really stand out in business you'll need to give your customers the attention they deserve!
Making customer service a priority encompasses a few things. From start to finish your service should be seamless, from browsing to checkout to packaging to shipping, and if it's not, customers should be able to ask questions and have them answered ASAP!
- For browsing to checkout consider trying eCommerce website builders that can help you set up this flawless customer experience, like Shopify!
- For packaging, it's always best to be unique. Try PackHelp for personalised boxes, creating that extra special unboxing experience your customers will love
- For customer communication, always try to have one channel available for shoppers to contact your business. Why not try a live chat feature? They enable you and your customers to converse effciently and answer customer questions quickly!
Use a great parcel delivery solution
Another fantastic way to stand out from the eCommerce crowd is by offering a cheap, fast and reliable shipping services! For shipping, small businesses always stick with us! At Interparcel we want brands of all sizes to have the tools to succeed, so we listened to what our customer's needed and created our Shipping Manager to make business delivery easy.
Countless businesses have used our services to offer the cheapest shipping rates to their customers. As we all know and love affordable shipping to access our favourite products online, having low-cost delivery on your side is a sure way to stand out from the eCommerce crowd.
Our services integrate with all of the biggest eCommerce players, be it BigCommerce or WooCommerce plus plenty more! When you integrate with our Shipping Manager you benefit from order collation from multiple platforms, in-built address collection/correction, branded tracking services, and speedy dispatch.
Plus, our customer services are our pride and joy! So if you ever have a question or query about how we can help your business stand out, give us a call, live chat message or email - we're open 8 am - 8 pm Monday to Friday.