You have an amazing idea. But so do 20 other people, of which 10 are already established and taking on the market head-on. What do you do? Beat your small business competition to their own game.
Every business is different. You might have a competitor that’s selling the same thing as you and is probably even going all guerrilla, but what is it that would make the customer choose you and drop your competitor?
Game. Set. Match.
Here are a few points that could help you be better, heck, be the best at what you do.
How to beat competition as a small business
Here are some actionable tips that you can take to stand out from competitors, no matter how big they are, and actually get more sales (and even loyal customers!).
Choose a niche (and stick to it)
As a business, niche is the category of the products you sell or the services you offer. It also depends on your target audience.
Niching down is important to stand out from your competitors. Focus on what your competitors do not offer and position yourself in that niche. The more niche you are, the more you will beat the competition. For this, you need to have a strong awareness of who your target audience is. Who is your ideal buyer?
- How to find your niche – Chart
There are many examples of DTC brands that focus on a specific niche. Souled Store sells in a very saturated market: T-shirts. Their success mantra is focusing on a niche, which is merchandise clothing with quirky designs targeting mainly GenZ audience. Learn more about selling merchandise online here.
Offer great customer service and build relationships
Customers might be reluctant to buy from a new brand they haven’t heard of. Build trust by communicating with them at the right time. Get to know their queries and resolve them.
By offering good customer service and the right engagement on social platforms, there’s a higher chance that customers will keep coming back for more. Increased customer retention rates will let you beat competitors.
Here’s what Disha, owner of ThatArtGirl, says about why you should build relationships with customers:
“When it comes to small businesses, customers expects an experience which cannot be found with big brands. So, you must constantly work to connect with your customers. Use social media for this instead of just using it as a means of getting sales.”
In terms of customer service, you need to make sure that you answer their queries on time. Keeping up with messages manually can be a daunting task. So, you can use chatbots on your eCommerce website and also automate WhatsApp messages.
Offering a personalised shopping experience is a sure cut way to beat the competition. Along with amazing products, give customers an experience they remember. According to marketing psychology, people buy based on emotions and then justify with logic. So, bring out an emotional need for your products.
One method of eCommerce personalisation is recommending products that complement what they already purchased (cross-sell) or a better version (up-sell). You can do this with personalised email marketing campaigns that address the customer’s wants and needs. This will help you increase your retention rate and hence more revenue.
Ugaoo, a DTC brand that sells plants online, sends out personalised newsletters after a customer has purchased. Here’s the personalised email they send to customers right after purchase:
Build a brand and create a community
Being memorable is another way to beat competition. Your brand value and stories matter as much as your products when it comes to retaining customers.
As a small business, these are the areas of branding you should focus on:
- Brand name
- Logos and other visual elements
The whole idea of brand building is how you position your business and how you want your customers to recognise you. To get you started, here’s a complete guide on branding for small business.
A good brand is tied with a good community. Building a good community means that you have an audience who have a common interest and they are part of your target market. They engage with your brand consistently, give value and appreciate the value that you provide.
To build a community, you’ll need customers to trust you as a genuine brand. How do you build trust in the eCommerce world? We reached out to DTC merchants, online shoppers and eCommerce platforms to understand what they perceive of eCommerce. Download your free whitepaper now to know winning strategies to build trust and beat competition in the long run.
Your community is also aware about what your business offers. It’s one of the best things a small business can have to ensure that they stand out from competitors.
Here’s an example of how Pee Safe, a women’s hygiene brand spreads awareness about period-related topics, breaks stereotype and built a strong community.
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Stay one step ahead of the competition
Knowing what you do and having faith in your product is key to gaining an advantage over your competition. But the key is no good if you don’t know how to use it against the advantages of your competitors.
Keep a close watch on what your competitor does and figure out what makes you different. There is always an edge. Find it and use it.
Choose your competitive advantage carefully. It could be a service, quality or just a location advantage. Complementing price or quality with great service works the best.
Keep your business goals simple
Sure, your idea is great and you know exactly how to market your brand. However, we end up misleading or confusing the customer with our marketing tactics often. The simpler or easier your product is (or the access to it), the better your chances are at scoring/retaining a customer.
According to Userlike, “the difficulty of deciding for a product stems from the complexity of product and number of suppliers in the market.” Set yourself apart. Make it easier for your customer to choose you.
Explore New Segments
Your target group or segment may be getting you quite the organic business but have you tried marketing your product to a new segment altogether?
Try selling a comb to a bald man. He won’t probably use it but his family will. Find a way to market your product to a new segment with a fresh perspective. Check out a few quirky products on the Instamojo store.
Break the glass ceiling: To infinity and beyond!
The bottom line is, you need to keep customers at the heart of your business. That’s the one thing you need to master to beat competition. When it comes to choosing a niche, building a brand, or setting business plans, consider your customers’ needs before making assumptions.
Businesses need to evolve according to customer needs. And it’s clear that the modern consumer is leaning towards eCommerce. Is your business ready to take on the eCommerce journey? Take the first leap by signing up on Instamojo for your free online store.