Marketing differentiation is an old concept that an enterprise must adapt to the Internet age if it wants to survive.
For brick-and-mortar companies, differentiation strategies can take months or years to implement. But for online companies, such strategies can happen simply by changing some code. This is not necessarily an advantage, because competitors can match your moves almost instantly. Therefore, you need to be proactive, stay aware of trends (reading blogs helps), and have the right technologies.
Following are some of the basic marketing differentiation strategies for Internet companies.
Marketing differentiation tactics
If you don’t have a unique product, then you will have to present your product in unique ways. Pricing, product bundles, and customization are all possibilities.
With certain technologies, bundling (e.g. automated content recommendations) and customization (see worldofalfa.com and chocomize.com for examples) can be made into a business model on their own. In addition, making use of the latest display methods will position you as technologically advanced. Meanwhile, with readily available competitor pricing and tools like personalized emails, you can easily let your customers know about promotions that beat the market price.
Both during and after the sale, an Internet company must ensure a smooth experience.
For sales experience quality, shopping cart abandonment is a major issue. The main reasons for abandonment are unexpected costs (taxes and shipping), the need to create an account, and complicated checkout procedures.
All of these issues have a solution. Companies like www.shopify.com and www.rejoiner.com provide software that is dedicated to reducing abandonment rates. Similarly, companies like crazyegg.com allow a marketer to see where customers are leaving the website, which indicates a user experience problem at that specific point.
For customer support, rapid, efficient, and friendly service is a must. Easy-to-use online forms are a starting point, but there is no substitute for a real person when the situation escalates. Online companies should also let users describe their service experience in order to eliminate problems, while real and unfiltered user comments are also a great way of building trust.
This may be the most important differentiation factor for online companies, which need to keep up with all the latest trends in user experience and technology – just to look good. The majority of users base their first impressions of a website on image, and a bad image leads to immediate departure.
With so much choice, seemingly minor issues will lead potential customers to click somewhere else. For example, if your page takes more than three seconds to load, almost 60% of visitors will go elsewhere. Therefore, investing in a fast, intuitive, and good-looking website is worthwhile. Easy downloads, clear (and even interactive) images, and straightforward content are necessary.
Additional content that is relevant to your users’ interests can establish your site as a place to visit, and reduce the impression that you are just there to make sales. Again, technology enables an image boost. For example, trendemon.com provides business insights to precisely evaluate the effectiveness of your content and understand its value towards conversions.
A Final Word
The top websites combine an excellent product with outstanding service and the latest technologies. In some cases, the disadvantage of having an undifferentiated product can be offset by better service and technology, which are both the product of research, investment, good implementation, and constant monitoring. Leading websites combine great-looking and functional websites with good service. Even though their markets are saturated, they are leaders.
Follow a good marketing differentiation strategy, and you could be next!
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