In the book Microstyle by Christopher Johnson, a how-to guide for modern messaging, he makes a case for us now living in an “attention economy”. Businesses still compete for their market’s dollars, of course, but now in our world of quick bite-sized information – just breaking through the noise and holding someone’s attention (even for simply seconds) has a calculable worth all its own.
The internet has allowed consumers to be inundated with options and alternative pathways at the mere mention of a keyword. If you want to attract and consistently maintain customers and expand your market share – you will need to do more than offer them the better deals – you will need to breed loyalty and shareability. How you do this is up to you. I will provide you knowledge of how brands have grown and maintained market share in the online store world, as well as offer you advice on some tools that can help you stay competitive.
Gaining the Attention
One of the buzz-phrases thrown around a lot nowadays is “Online Presence Management”, which refers to the quality control and improvement of your digital presence. If you’re not sure how it’s done, a good source would be this eTraffic guide 10 Powerful Strategies to Increase Your Web Presence.
Having a blog is one of the main ways companies are building communities around their brand and pitching their products. Most businesses understand the power of online shareability and “going viral” when it comes to attracting business – but less know how to capitalize off of it when it happens.
Very few businesses understand a fluke viral piece of content is often less compelling than consistent content that speaks directly to your market. This consistent content will also lay the landing ground for the customers who may be attracted by a fluke viral event. Social media and email marketing (you can purchase relevant email lists) are also effective ways to start your target market down your sales funnel. However you initially attract the business, you must fight for their attention, and their money, if you want to stay competitive.
So quick recap:
- You must offer a brand that gives consumers something to remember/need
- You can gain initial attention through targeted content, emails, social media and many other ways (try and be creative from time to time and see how it pays off.)
- Once you get the attention- they must have a reason to stay and buy.
Staying Price Competitive
If you are running an online shop, you will most likely be competing with the big name brands that also have online content, as well as hundreds (if not thousands) of other similar merchants. You can attract all the attention you want, but if your prices aren’t competitive, the consumers will go elsewhere. There is a sort of secret many big name brands use to make sure their prices are high when demand is, and low when demand is low. It’s called “Dynamic Pricing”. If you need a crash-course, turn to this article by UpstreamCommerce How Retailers Are Using Price Optimization Software to Make Profitable Pricing Decisions.
Price optimization software is used by most (if not all) of the big name businesses. This software automatically calculates the demand for your product throughout the online world and offers you suggested pricing. This makes sure your prices are always competitive while ensuring you are not missing out on profit for high demand products.
Most businesses see a 10-45% gross profit increase from intelligent dynamic pricing. It’s safe to say you or more or less shooting yourself in the foot if you fail to take advantage of advanced pricing strategies. Keeping prices within the realm of demand will also make sure consumer loyalty remains steady.
To stay alive as an e-commerce store you need customers, and you need these customers to make purchases. Seems simple enough, but as you can see – there are many factors to account for. The three you must always think though are:
- You must attract the business.
- You must ensure the business wants the product at your prices.
- You must maintain the business.
Hopefully this quick overview has helped you realize how to improve your business plan, or has given you pathway on how to create an effective an e-store from scratch. There is plenty of information out there on how you can improve those three factors. I encourage you to never stop learning, and never stop trying to grow. Good Luck!