Set Your Brand Apart From the E-Commerce Crowd With These 7 Differentiation-Delivering Tactics

Most brands’ strategists and decision-makers are well aware of the importance of product differentiation. After all, it’s both literally and figuratively what sets a brand apart from the competition, and it’s a widely recognized key to achieving sustained success in the marketplace. 

But beyond the common offering-specific traits such as performance, reliability, price, service level and location that can make brands and their products stand out from their competitors in the traditional marketplace, another substantial differentiation opportunity exists for e-commerce brands in particular — the online experience. And with the share of U.S. retail sales that take place online hitting all-time highs and inching ever-closer to a full quarter of all retail sales nationally, it’s hard to exaggerate the potential for positive business impacts that creating a standout e-commerce store experience can deliver.

7 ways to set your e-commerce experience apart

Is your e-commerce brand seeking ways to differentiate the experience its online store provides to visitors? Consider these seven key ways to enhance your e-commerce brand’s online experience and set your e-store apart from those of your rivals:

1. Spotlight your brand story

A retailer’s brand story is a cornerstone of effective branding — and a well-crafted one captures the brand’s essence and passion in a concise, compelling narrative that resonates with its target audience. By effectively communicating this story within their e-stores, online retailers can not only differentiate themselves from competitors but also forge meaningful connections with customers. Substantial portions of today’s consumers seek authenticity and purpose in the brands they choose to do business with, and a moving brand story can serve as a guiding light, helping foster loyalty and trust in prospective customers. It’s not merely about selling products, but about creating an emotional connection that transcends transactions and can eventually lead to heightened brand loyalty. Whether it’s conveying a legacy of craftsmanship, a commitment to sustainability, or a journey of innovation, highlighting a retailer’s unique brand story and personality helps humanize the brand and motivate consumers to do business with it.

2. Crank up your customer service

Today’s e-commerce consumers have endless options at their fingertips, making exceptional customer service a must for setting your brand apart, attracting online customers, and keeping them coming back. Great customer service goes beyond simply resolving issues or answering inquiries —  it’s about exceeding expectations and delighting customers at every touchpoint along their journey with your brand. And especially in an online environment where face-to-face interactions are limited, stellar customer service becomes a critical element of building trust and loyalty. Whether it’s offering personalized recommendations, providing swift resolutions to problems, or ensuring seamless transactions, your brand should treat every interaction as an opportunity to leave a lasting positive impression. One powerful way to improve the customer service in your e-store includes making your shipping and return policies crystal clear. Another is to provide numerous communication avenues and respond quickly and professionally when customers reach out, and actively seek customer feedback — then listening/acting on it when it’s provided.

3. Ensure easy site navigation

In today’s fast-paced digital landscape, consumers expect seamless and intuitive browsing experiences that allow them to quickly and easily find what they’re looking for — and if they can’t, more often than not, they’ll move along to find it somewhere else. Complex navigation structures or cluttered layouts can frustrate users, leading to high bounce rates and lost sales opportunities. By prioritizing simplicity and clarity in site navigation, e-commerce retailers can enhance the user experience, increase conversion rates and foster long-term customer loyalty. Further, a well-organized website not only facilitates efficient shopping but also reflects positively on the brand, conveying professionalism and reliability. Investing in user-friendly navigation systems, such as clear categories, intuitive search functions and prominent calls-to-action, demonstrates a commitment to customer satisfaction and helps set the stage for a memorable e-commerce journey.

4. Create compelling product pages

Creating original, optimized product pages is essential for e-commerce retailers aiming to differentiate themselves and stand out in the competitive online marketplace. Product pages serve as virtual storefronts, often providing customers with their first glimpse at a product offering and impression of its associated brand. By crafting visually appealing layouts, providing comprehensive product descriptions, and showcasing high-quality images or videos, retailers can effectively communicate the value and unique selling points of their offerings. Additionally, incorporating persuasive elements like limited-time offers, related product recommendations, and clear calls-to-action can further drive conversions and enhance the overall e-commerce experience.

5. Enhance your in-store UGC

User-generated content (UGC) such as customer reviews, ratings, photos, videos and testimonials can provide invaluable insights and validation for prospective buyers, offering real-life perspectives on products and brands. And by leveraging UGC in its online store, your e-commerce brand can foster trust, authenticity and a sense of community among your online visitors. Of course, UGC also serves as powerful social proof, helping influence potential customers’ perceptions and nudge them toward making a purchase. And beyond integrating UGC into its product pages, by incorporating such content on its social media pages and in its marketing campaigns, your brand can not only enhance consumer engagement but also make considerable strides toward cultivating brand loyalty and advocacy.

6. Offer a simple, streamlined checkout experience

The checkout process represents the final hurdle in the consumer’s online purchase journey, and any friction or complexity at this critical stage in the conversion process can result in costly abandoned carts and lost sales. Streamlining the checkout process with minimal steps, clear instructions and intuitive design can help reduce friction and also help your brand enhance user satisfaction and increase conversion rates. Further, by including multiple payment options, offering guest checkout, and providing transparent shipping costs and delivery times — all of which can help your brand instill more confidence and trust in the purchasing process — you can further optimize the checkout experience and minimize lost revenues.

7. Personalize the process

By tailoring your e-commerce brand’s shopping journey and marketing efforts to the unique preferences, behaviors, and needs of each individual customer, you can forge deeper consumer connections, in addition to driving higher levels of engagement and loyalty. Personalization opportunities can extend across various touchpoints in the customer journey, from product recommendations and targeted marketing communications to customized shopping experiences based on past interactions. By leveraging data analytics and artificial intelligence technologies, retailers can glean valuable insights into customer behaviors and preferences, enabling them to deliver relevant and timely content and recommendations. This can help your e-commerce brand make customers feel better understood and more valued, enhancing the overall shopping experience and also boosting conversion rates, and driving long-term revenue growth.

Brandon: Your trusted source for e-commerce expertise

Brandon brings a wealth of experience building transactional websites on some of the largest, most powerful e-commerce platforms available — along with a proven track record of helping e-commerce brands set their online experiences apart from the competition’s — Brandon is a perfect fit for assisting with (or altogether handling) your brand’s e-commerce strategy, development, and execution needs. We’ve worked with e-commerce clients ranging from apparel start-ups to enterprise-level stores — sometimes with hundreds of thousands of SKUs — and we can tailor high-performance solutions that are deeply integrated with your brand’s ERP and CRM systems. Further, as a fully integrated marketing firm, our team of certified brand strategists and data-driven marketing professionals can cover the full spectrum of your brand’s marketing needs. From e-commerce, influencer marketing, email marketing, and SEO to social media, digital marketing, media, creative, analytics, public relations, brand strategy, web design, and more, we can cover all your marketing needs in one place. To get started with help ranging from a simple website analysis to a comprehensive strategy tailored to boost the performance of all of your marketing campaigns, contact us today.