Markets are intensely competitive. Did you know that only half of all businesses survive their first five years? And only one-third will still be in business after ten years? For tech startups, the failure rate has been estimated at 90 percent.
Stats like these can be intimidating. There are measures you can take, however, to help ensure your business’s success. One of the most importing things you can do is ensuring that your product stands out in the market.
Let’s be honest, many markets are crowded. If you’re looking to jump into ecommerce, there are already well over 100,000 ecommerce stores online. If you want to offer Software-as-a-Service or are pushing an app, there’s a very good chance other companies have already beat you to it.
I’m not writing this to discourage you. Far from it. PayKickstart wasn’t the first shopping cart solution but we’re now among the best and most popular. Our company has thousands of happy customers. What’s important is competing and offering products or services that can stand out in even crowded markets.
PayKickstart has used product differentiation to stand out in the crowded shopping cart market.
So let’s take a look at some methods you can use to differentiate yourself.
Make Sure You Offer World-Class Customer Service
Every time a customer interacts with your company, you’re afforded a chance to make an impression. Whether that impression is good or bad can go a long way towards determining if they’ll continue to use and recommend your product. By offering world class customer service, you can keep customers happy even when problems do emerge.
Take Amazon, the retailer is famous for its no-hassle refunds and prompt customer service. According to the annual Foresee Experience Index, Amazon has the highest rated customer service department out of any company of its size. Many other big brands, including Apple and Kohls, focus on providing world-class customer service.
Foresee also notes that customers are 85 percent more likely to recommend stores that offer good customer service. As far as web shopping goes, customers are also 81 percent more likely to make in-channel purchases. Ultimately, keeping customers happy will help you stand out from subpar competitors.
At PayKickstart, we leverage our customer service as a retention tool. When a customer contacts us, we go well out of our way to ensure that we both discover what the problem is and how we can rectify it. This has allowed us to establish a top-notch customer service rating.
Offer Guarantees and/or Free Trials
Few things are more reassuring than a company that will stand behind its product. At PayKickstart, we’re so confident in our shopping cart we let customers use it for free for 14 days. Most of our signups decide to stay on after the 14-day trial but if they are unhappy for any reason, they can simply cancel.
However, you can’t offer a trial for a pair of socks, can you? But you can offer a money back guarantee. At PayKickstart, we’ve found that money back guarantees can help lower shopping cart abandonment rates from 80 percent to 60 percent.
Understand What Pains Your Customers
Your product or service must either address a pain or satisfy a want. In order to ensure that your product or service does so, you need to understand the customer’s point of view and how your product or service can benefit them.
At PayKickstart, we realized that essentially every ecommerce store wants to increase its sales and average customer lifetime value. So we built in a variety of features, such as one-click upsells and a data analytics platform, that allow our customers to boost sales. In fact, our one-click upselling features has helped many of our customers double their revenues!
Every company needs to take a similar approach. What’s holding your customers back? What can you offer that will help sooth these pains? The products or services that most effectively solve pains can stand out in even crowded markets.
Use an Effective Pricing Strategy
When it comes time to make a decision, few factors have a bigger impact than price. In fact, surveys have found that customers cite price as one of the biggest influencing factors when making a decision. That’s why you need to pay close attention and develop a sound pricing strategy.
Believe it or not, however, the lowest price isn’t always the best price. In some cases, if you set the price too low, customers may view your product as inferior. In other cases, customers may be willing to pay more for your product because it adds so much value. As such, your rock bottom prices could result in missed profits.
As for PayKickstart’s shopping cart solution, we realized that many ecommerce stores and SaaS providers were shelling out too much in transaction fees. Many companies take a certain cut of the sales, say 3 percent. If you use PayKickstart, however, you simply pay one low monthly subscription fee.
We’re not a bargain bin shopping cart. As already noted, PayKickstart offers a ton of advanced features. We do have to charge enough to make sure we can provide excellent customer service and can continue to improve our software. Yet we know our customers work hard for their sales, so we aren’t going to demand a cut.
Make Sure You Offer Plenty of Flexibility
You need to offer products and services can be molded to fit each customer. Customers are going to have their own individual preferences, branding assets, and everything else. At PayKickstart, we offer a huge range of shopping cart templates and allow for white labeling and branding, for example. This way, customers can make our shopping cart their own.
If you offer Software-as-a-Service, flexibility is often vital for differentiation. Even if you operate in ecommerce or other markets, making your product fit your customer can go a long ways towards strengthening the relationship. If you operate an online bookstore, for example, you could offer customers a “recommendations list” based on their past reviews.
Conclusion: You Have to Stand Out if You Want to Get Ahead
Competition can be fierce. There are only so many dollars to go around and the best companies are ultimately the ones that will secure most of those dollars. If you want to be among the best, you have to make sure you stand out. If not, you’ll be lost in all the noise. So make sure you stand out in the crowd.