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How to start an online store: Utilise competition and consumer input

by on May 27, 2014 in Digital Marketing, Ecommerce, Lead story, Nuggets, Retail, Search Marketing, Small Business, Startups

Now that you have started your store, you need to consider what changes to make in order to keep it growing and being a success. Starting an online store does not stop with the initial setup but requires significant evolution and growth in your store.

How do you do this? Simple. You make changes based on customer input and by researching and watching your competition.

Making changes to match or beat the competition will help keep your store afloat, and by implementing the changes your customers suggest, you will create a very happy client base. We will discuss how to utilize the competition and how to implement customer input to grow your store.

Starting An Online Store: Competition Inspiration

The competition is one of the best forms of inspiration for any online company. You can see which mistakes they have made or which ideas are successful. This will keep you from making similar mistake or creating new, better methods for the store’s success. Don’t ignore the competition or think of it as something terrible for your company. Your competitors are also your helpers when running your online business. In fact, many of them will probably begin looking at your store and how successful certain marketing techniques are for you, as well as looking at the mistakes you have made. Everyone borrows from each other and gains inspiration from others in their market.

Inspiration Versus Plagiarism

Now that you know about how to start an online store you need to gain inspiration from competitors, it is always wise to make sure you are simply being inspired and are not plagiarizing. Don’t be afraid of accidental plagiarism, as this is not as problematic as many people believe. If you are writing your own content, taking your own photos, and staying unique to your store, you will be able to write and produce original content for your store. Never copy and paste product descriptions from other sites and never use images from someone else’s store, even if it is the same product you are selling. This is the easiest way to avoid plagiarism.

How To Research Your Competition

When starting an online store you know the importance of searching for your competition but you may be unsure just how to gain inspiration from them. Here a few ways to find inspiring ideas:

  • Take a look at their social media presence, as this will give you great ideas on how to involve clientele on your social sites.
  • Asking customers who they see as your competition can be very helpful. You can send out a poll or host a poll on your website. You can also allow them to submit anonymous answers, as more people may be willing to answer you in this way.

Customer Input: Add To Your Content

One of the best ways to advertise your items and build your content is by having customers give input about your services or products. This is much easier due to the digital age and Twitter or Instagram helps many companies when it comes to customer input and involvement. You can create unique hashtags for your products or services and create a unique hashtag for any sale or event coming up. This will help promote your site considerably but also plays on people’s desire to have interaction. You can use these Tweets as reviews on your site or link to the hashtag for people to peruse what everyone is saying.

Customer Input: Implementing Suggestions

When customers give you logical and legitimate suggestions, you should take this as an opportunity to make necessary changes to your store. This will help your store grow significantly and also builds a wonderful rapport with your client base. The more willing you are to work with clients, the more willing they will be to promote your store. It can be unnerving to look through customer reviews, especially if there are any that are negative, but these criticisms are beneficial to all companies. Many successful businesses are successful because of listening to their clientele.

What If Customer Input Is Illogical?

This is a major possibility when working with the general public. Everyone knows this when working with the public in a physical store setting, but people can get more demanding or mean when it comes to working online. You need to be able to decipher between real criticisms or suggestions and those that are not legitimate. Having a business partner is helpful when it comes to figuring out which criticisms are real. If a suggestion is illogical or won’t work for your store model, make sure to professionally tell the client that this is not possible. When telling a customer something will not work, always be courteous and professional. Also, refrain from client bashing on any personal social media.

Competition inspiration and customer input will help your business become incredibly successful. You should always be willing to learn as you start an online store and treat every experience as a learning opportunity. Implement what you learn and make any necessary changes to have an incredible sales year.

photo credit: the Italian voice via photopin cc

photo credit: Jason A. Howie via photopin cc

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