With dissolved geographical barriers, enhanced visibility as well as lowered inventory and marketing costs, ecommerce offers alluring prospects to attract entrepreneurs.  Be it online shopping, electronic payments, online auctions, internet banking or online ticketing, almost everybody is keen on taking a plunge into ecommerce today. But when too many people decide to jump on to the same bandwagon, there are high chances of your business getting sidelined by the cut-throat competition. Therefore, differentiation is the key not only for success, but for your very survival in ecommerce. Here are 5 awesome ways to differentiate your ecommerce business and steer miles ahead of your competitors:

1. Exceptional Customer Service: Why is Flipkart the leader of online shopping in India? A smart ad campaign is only the secondary factor; the primary reason is that they have a clear edge over their competitors as far as their customer service are concerned, in terms of being extremely prompt, responsive, efficient, and going out of their way to exceed customer expectations. This is backed by their top-notch warehousing and delivery systems, which enable super-fast delivery. Delighted customers have been recommending the site to friends and family, which in turn has given excellent word of mouth publicity to the site. Given the fact that they have a very average website interface, and thousands of retail websites to compete with, they have emerged successful by differentiating themselves in the realm of customer service.

2. Innovation: Have something unique to offer your customers; something that attracts them or makes them want to come back to you. For instance, check out this site http://www.vat19.com/

Amidst the massive number of online gift stores, this site steers way ahead of its competitors by means of its entertaining product videos. The products they offer are not very different from their competitors, but their approach to amuse their customers is what gives them the winning edge.

 3. Personalization and Customization: Nowadays, every Tom, Dick and Harry claims to offer personalized or customized services,  without even knowing what the terms actually mean. Personalization involves modifying your site to suit the customer’s preferences with the use of cookies. So, for example, if you purchase from amazon.com, you will find similar products of your interest on their homepage the next time you login. On the contrary, customization is when you are empowering the user to get a tailor-made solution based on his or her requirements. A classic example of customization is http://www.chocomize.com/make-chocolate-bars which differentiates itself by allowing customers to create their own chocolate bars, just as per their liking.

4.Establish a community: If you are able to effectively connect with your customers over social media, you can create an online community or forum and invite your fans to join. It sounds difficult, but the trick is to be interactive, responsive, keep them engaged, and most importantly, provide them with a platform to share their lives with fellow members. For instance, ModCloth’s Youtube channel http://www.youtube.com/user/ModCloth has built an effective community around it, not only by sharing interesting quotes, photos and videos, but also dedicating an exclusive photo album for their customers.

5.The Price Factor: Offering attractive prices or incentives is of course the best way to attract customers, but whether you are able chalk out a financially viable plan in the long run is totally up to you. To sell your products at lower prices as compared to your competitors, you have several options like managing to source your products at cheaper rates or being able to cut down on shipping expenses and so on. Sites like yepme.com where you come across prices like Rs 299, 349 and 499 for clothes, shoes and accessories, continue to be thronged by price-sensitive customers (despite a lot of negative reviews). So price is definitely a strong way of differentiating your ecommerce site.

Dare to be different

eCommerce is definitely a promising realm of opportunities for ambitious minds, and the only way to outdo the fierce competition is by daring to be different (however clichéd it may sound!). There are numerous other strategies to differentiate your site apart from the five ways mentioned above, and it all depends on your innovative and passionate approach. For all you know, you might follow the above suggestions and end up becoming the next internet billionaire!

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