Competing for Online Sales

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The internet has made it harder than ever to compete for sales, but here are some things you can do to make sure you’re not unintentionally losing customers to your competitors.

Start with a mobile-optimized website. Mobile internet traffic is growing fast, and if you’re not giving mobile users an easy experience, you’re likely losing customers. Ideally, that means a separate version of your website for mobile users and the ability to detect what kind of device visitors are using so you can offer them an optimal experience.

You also need to watch pricing and merchandising strategy. The internet has made it easy for consumers to find the best price, so you need to keep an eye on your competitors to make sure they’re not undercutting you on price. Software that analyzes pricing and offerings would be ideal, but if it’s too expensive for your small business or startup, you can always use comparison shopping sites to watch pricing on key products. And look for patterns in your sales; if you notice customers buying certain kinds of products together, you may want to offer a bundle.

Consider your shipping options too. You may need to charge for it, but some people prefer faster delivery. Another option is same-day delivery for local customers. You’d need to charge a premium for the service, but some customers might appreciate it.

And don’t forget customer service. If you make sure all your customers have a good experience, they’ll be much more likely to buy from you the next time. It’s easier to do repeat business with a trusted company than to find a new one, so make sure you’re doing everything you can to keep the customers you have.

Adapted from 3 Ways to be Competitive in Online Retail by Vangie Beal at Small Business Computing.

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