In the competitive eCommerce market, getting ahead means getting the basics right while taking the extra mile to serve your customers. We have four simple ways to help you stay ahead of the competition.

Short and reliable lead time

Let’s face it: no one likes waiting. Two major obstacles to a great online shopping experience are long lead times and shipment delay. If your customers need to wait for 14 days after placing an order or even experience a delay, they certainly won’t be impressed and return for more. Since delivery plays such a crucial role in eCommerce, it’s crucial to have a short and accurate lead time for your deliveries. As we’ve explored in our last articles, there are many ways to ensure an adequate lead time for your customers, which we can refer to for details. But the bottom line is that the customer must be happy with the time needed to receive their product, and there should be as fewest surprises as possible.

Even so, each customer could have a different circumstance. Maybe a customer was ordering for a marriage proposal a few days ago and needed a shorter lead time, or maybe another customer needs to receive the product on an exact date for his friend’s surprise birthday. For these cases, your business needs to demonstrate a certain amount of flexibility, so that you can add that extra wow factor by addressing your customers’ needs.

Social media and content

Have you ever imagined why some eCommerce sites have more traction than others? There could be many reasons for it, but they surely know how to promote themselves. Having a strong social media presence and the ability to create meaningful content will give you a significant popularity boost. The trick is letting your potential customers know of your existence, be relevant to their needs and make them feel good about interacting with your brand.

Before you launch into any social media initiatives, take a step back and consider your brand’s positioning and identity. If your product or service is more professional, perhaps consider using platforms like LinkedIn and project yourself as a thought leader on social media or content. Conversely, if you’re focusing on the mass market, you would have more freedom to use viral marketing, videos, memes or humour. Whichever way you choose, remember to be consistent with your production. A right way is to create a content calendar and define your themes and target audience by months.

Customer service and ease of navigation

Similar to social media, excellent customer service and an easy-to-use webpage will make your business more accessible and your transactions more lucrative. Same as brick and mortar stores, there will be different customer demands and sudden situations. To stay ahead of your retail game, you need to be flexible and accommodating to your customers - to an extent. If there are any sudden changes or specific customer plans, such as earlier delivery or customisation, you can impress your customers by going the extra mile.

You may have the best customer service and market presence, but a cumbersome website experience or a complicated purchase funnel can be a huge turnoff. When a customer logs on to your website, they should be able to quickly navigate through the sales funnel and make a purchase with the least amount of effort. It is vital to consider the user experience side of things. Things like clear layout, concise copywriting, appealing visuals, minimal loading time and simple instructions can boost the overall customer experience. If you can address these details, your customers are more likely to feel good and come back.

Holiday promos

There’s nothing more purchase-inducing than holidays. Everyone would want a piece of the festive season by treating themselves better or buying a gift for their friends. For eCommerce business owners, holidays are an excellent sales opportunity, but how should you leverage it?

First of all, consider setting promotions related to festivity. If you’re planning on your sales campaign for Easter, you can set up promo codes in March, then get your customers excited through your promotion channels. Remember to make your promotions stimulating and visually appealing so that you can capture your customers’ attention. If done well, you can expect a spike in sales and increased customer loyalty.

Another way to make good use of holidays is by giving discounts specifically for people receiving their deliveries before the specific festivity. Encouraging customers to purchase and receive deliveries ahead of the holiday season can take the stress off your supply chain capacity. Imagine a sudden surge of customers ordering in the same period: chances are your system can’t handle the pressure. So giving your customers incentives to order earlier can reduce the stress to a manageable level. Also, they would be happy to receive extra discounts and can be more inclined to come back.