12 Tips to Compete with Massive Online Retailers

05 Oct 2018

  • Strategy
  • Thought leadership
  • Customer experience

By Chris Moody, Head of Global Content Marketing, Cheetah Digital

Retailers operate in a very competitive environment. No matter what their specialty is, there is an online competitor trying to sell to their customers.

We asked several of our marketing consultants to share some advice that they share with our retail clients to help them compete against exclusively online retailers:

1. Buy online, pick up in-store

With online shopping, there is still a need for instant gratification. Not only does this allow for impulse purchases to be picked up faster than online retailers can deliver, but the majority of customers also make additional purchases while in store. Tactile experiences are important for everything from cosmetics to electronics to clothing.

2. In-Store experience

Create a memorable in-store experience. Despite advances in AR and VR, nothing really replaces the right in-store experience. Many consumers will always prefer trying on an item in the store or seeing something in person before they buy. Embrace this by making it worth the time to be in a physical store.

3. Coupon and loyalty reward

Keep buyers coming back for more. Airlines do this by rewarding credit card purchasers with free checked bags and lounge experiences, some retailers give certificates to redeem each quarter. Find a way to build a stronger relationship with your brand that offers something competitors don’t.

4. Delivery options

Consumers want free and fast shipping, and other brands need to give it to them. Although returns aren’t ideal and can be expensive, ensure that the return policy is straightforward. Understand that if it is hard to return an item, it might not get purchased at all.

5. Unique value proposition

Retailers should focus on those things which make them different and unique. Does your brand have a lot of heritage and history? Do you offer exclusive, limited batches of your products? Is there easily accessible customer service? Do you offer services like that connect the online and in-store experience? Find a way to stand out.

6. Customer reviews

Over 80% of consumers trust reviews as much as their friends. Online retailers frequently showcase reviews to help with the conversion process. Review sections are often an unexplored opportunity on a company’s website, from a content and a trust perspective.

7. Product exclusivity

There are many brands that will partner with retailers to offer specific items unique to them. This could range from a standard item in a unique color to offering a certain style or print only with that retailer. This could work on the lower end as well if retailers take the time to nurture relationships with up and coming brands, or those that resonate well with their customer base.

8. Better product pages

Online outlets need to take the time and money to invest in how they are showcasing products online. Hidden reviews and a few bullets just won’t cut it anymore in a world of information overload.

9. Price matching

While some consumers are fixated on quality, others are still driven by price. For consumers who browse showrooms, this is even more important. Imagine a world where you could save the subscriber from purchasing online simply by matching the price? Multi-channel retailers have the ability to upsell and/or cross-sell too.

10. Use compelling images

Many digital experiences are primarily visual. Standing out with great imagery also helps build stronger social following, influencer marketing, and innate mobile benefits. Many retailers have made Instagram and Pinterest huge revenue channels by using beautiful imagery.

11. Tell better stories

Develop content marketing plans that tell the story of your brand and products. How-to’s, brand points of view on how the products can apply to different styles, and even origin stories work extremely well. Give your customers more to learn and interact with.

12. Don’t forget email

Every one of the above tactics can be supported, promoted, and amplified with email and other marketing channels. It is important to remind customers about these programs and differentiators on an ongoing basis.

The post originally appeared on the Cheetah Digital blog in a slightly different form.

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