It has never been easier to set up your own business and begin trading. Just a few decades ago, global trade was the almost exclusive realm of large businesses due to the high costs and barriers to entry. Now, the internet has made it possible to register your company and begin selling your products and services to the whole world in just a few minutes.
This simplicity is a double-edged sword though. If it is easier for you to do business, it’s also easier for your competition. Therefore, business owners in the 21st century are tasked with getting noticed amid crowded markets in almost every sector.
If you run a business and are looking for new ways to stand out from your competition, here are some ideas you can use.
If you operate in an industry where it is difficult to differentiate yourself because the product or service you sell is uniform, then the price is one of the only areas that you can compete in.
Markets like this include the energy sector, where your electricity or gas remains the same even if the company you pay changes. Another example is food retailers, which sell staples such as raw vegetables which don’t vary much regardless of where you buy them from.
These businesses have to compete on price, trying to become the brand offering the lowest costs to their customers. A great way to do this is by offering promotions. They give you something to shout about. Loss-leaders, where certain products are sold at a loss to stimulate sales of others, can be very attractive for customers.
Another great example of an industry that uses promotions to help differentiate brands from their competitors is the online casino market. New online casinos appear regularly, fighting for users in an already crowded marketplace. While they all try to distinguish themselves through their brand and by targeting a specific niche demographic, they are all essentially offering the same games. Therefore, the promotions that they run, including welcome bonuses and free bets, are vital in attracting new customers.
Numerous pieces of research have shown that more than 90% of consumers pay attention to online reviews. Similar proportions of people actively seek reviews for products, services, and companies before they make their buying decisions.
Therefore, building up a good bank of positive reviews that potential customers can see will be helpful in encouraging them to trust you and buy your products.
To get positive reviews, you need to please your existing customers through great customer service and quality products. Then, you can request they leave reviews on sites like Google, Facebook, and Trustpilot, either by including a card in the parcel you send them, emailing them to ask, or asking in person when you deal with customers face-to-face.
If your industry has been doing things the same way for decades, it’s likely that there’s some scope for innovation somewhere. Many older businesses take the approach of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”, but that can often be naive and leave them exposed to challenges from newer rivals.
Innovation can come in any form. You may offer new ways to buy, such as the ability to order a product online. Both the mattress industry and car industry have seen this in recent years, with companies selling both these products over the internet instead of in brick and mortar stores and dealerships.
Alternatively, you may change the way you charge for your products, such as the way Netflix moved the movie rental business from a fee for each title to a monthly subscription.
The banking industry is also undergoing this innovation, with many fin-tech companies offering lower (or no) fees, peer-to-peer lending, new ways to transact, and using AI to help consumers save more.