Competition for ecommerce customers is at an all-time high. Pandemic-fueled shifts in shopping behavior may have broadened the online customer base, but savvy shoppers also have more choices at their fingertips than ever before.
No matter which vertical you operate in, you are bound to have competitors that sell similar products at similar prices. Keep reading to learn how to deliver a buying journey to connect with customers and draw them to your store.
Ecommerce Competition is on the Rise
Online retailers face high levels of ecommerce competition. As well as established rivals, many industries have seen a rise in new online retailers. Transaction analysis shows one in three large businesses pivoted to expand their online sales in 2020, while one in four small businesses did the same. Most notably, half of the increase in SMB online sales came from businesses that had little or no online business prior to the pandemic.
For consumers, there has never been so much choice when it comes to shopping online. And despite the welcome trend toward supporting small businesses, marketplaces also remain popular. Almost half of online shoppers say they go straight to a large ecommerce marketplace when making a purchase.
Of course, in-store retail has bounced back this year. The average monthly foot traffic in physical stores across the US grew steadily in 2021, and considering ecommerce only accounts for 21% of all retail sales worldwide, brick-and-mortar remains the leading source of competition.
So, how do you stand out among the abundance of options grappling for your customers’ attention?
Four Features of a Standout Online Shopping Experience
To deliver an exceptional shopping experience, the following features must perform seamlessly on your online store. Not sure how your site stacks up? Perform a complete site audit to assess and optimize these components of the shopper experience.
Up to 30% of website visitors perform an on-site search. These users are 2-3x more likely to convert than those who browse. Shoppers who use your search bar are highly motivated to find – and purchase – a specific item. Unfortunately, if your search experience fails to deliver the expected results, they are highly likely to bounce to a competitor who can serve up the item they’re looking for with minimal effort. Optimize your site search experience with the tips in this guide to keep purchase-ready shoppers on your store.
For those shoppers who browse rather than search, your site navigation is a deal breaker. A clear menu of categories draws the customer in, while helpful filters and sorting options equip them to narrow down results to match their preferences. In one study of category navigation UX on ecommerce sites, 34% were assessed to have a mediocre performance. Just 14% were deemed “good,” while none were found to work exceptionally well. Don’t risk losing a shopper to a competitor because they simply can’t find the products they’re looking for. Carry out regular user testing of your navigation to identify where you can make it more intuitive.
Effective merchandising elevates the shopping experience and captivates customers with perfectly curated product displays. Dynamically place top sellers or most popular products where they are sure to catch shoppers’ attention. Keep out-of-stock or low availability products temporarily out of sight to avoid frustration. If your competitive strategy involves special offers and promotional communications, use merchandising banners and badges to get key messages across. When it comes to differentiating your store, these merchandising tips are essential.
4. Product Recommendations
Over 90% of consumers are more likely to shop with brands that provide relevant offers and recommendations. Nearly half of shoppers have purchased a product they did not initially intend to buy after receiving a personalized recommendation from a brand. Show customers more of the products they love to help them find exactly what they’re looking for, or try cross-selling complementary accessories to aid product discovery and boost average order value. Hyper-relevant recommendations keep shoppers coming back for more and eliminate the need for them to look elsewhere for their preferred products and styles.
Stand Out From the Competition With Exceptional Shopping Experiences
In today’s competitive ecommerce environment, your products and prices are no longer enough to ensure your store stands out. Exceptional shopper experiences are the only way to grasp customers’ attention so that they not only complete a purchase, but come back again in future.
Contact Searchspring today if you’d like to learn more about optimizing your buyer journey through site search, navigation, merchandising, and recommendations.