Ecommerce continues to boom. Last year there were 1.66 billion people buying online. This is anticipated to rise to 2.14 billion by 2021. It makes sense that you want to fully capture and exploit this market as a cycle and cycle accessory retailer. This is also largely unchartered territory. There is no defined rulebook and the goalposts of ecommerce can feel like they are ever changing. However, when we take a closer look at other cycle and cycle accessory retailers and the mistakes they are making, there are usually some common sticking points. Are you making these 7 mistakes in ecommerce? And if so, what can you do to change?
#1 - Not using social media to monitor competitors
Your competition, when selling online, is astronomical. You’re not simply competing with the other stores within a few miles, but with every store, potentially globally, that sells the cycles and accessories that you do.
That means you’re competing against others, not just in terms of specific products, but also ones which might meet a need more appropriately, or come as part of an enticing package. You’re competing in price against competitors who perhaps don’t have such large overheads, especially if you have a physical cycle store as well as online presence. You’re competing against competitors who have different supplier relationships, a different USP, or perhaps exceptional customer service.
The reality is though, you don’t know what you’re competing against unless you go and really do some homework. The simplest and easiest way to do this is by harnessing the power of social media. Monitoring competitors on social media will not only give you an insight in to pricing and promotions, but essentially, it will give you insight in to their customer base. In addition, it will give you powerful insight in to what they do well, and how they do it. Go take a look and see for yourself.
#2 - Not price monitoring competitors
When it comes to ecommerce, you need to be the ultimate price spy. Your pricing strategies are the big difference between success and failure as an ecommerce store. Yes you can dress up the store how you like aimed towards your customer base, you can aim for outstanding customer service and seamless deliveries – both will help – but the single biggest defining factor causing a customer to choose you over a competitor is price, and then later, loyalty.
Unlike offline retail, in ecommerce cycle and cycle accessory stores, price is easily comparable and becomes the most prominent distinguisher between retailers. The customer isn’t experiencing your wonderful customer service until they’re already far down the process of deciding to purchase from you. What gets them to you is simple: price. Competitive pricing is absolutely paramount. The way to do this is through price monitoring your competitors.
You could use price comparison websites, or a basic price tracker. However, these don’t generally give you the drilled down insight that you need to ensure your pricing strategies truly work. Instead, you need a tool which uses wiser monitoring to be a price compare tool that really helps. Competitor Monitor does just that. You get the valuable information on competitor pricing of key cycling retail competitors on key cycling products.
#3 - Not promotions monitoring competitors
Whilst we’re on the subject of price monitoring, using a price tracker itself is missing one enormous trick: promotions monitoring. The ecommerce customer has the world of your product at their fingertips. In a few clicks they can find the same product, in the same delivery time, on sale.
Therefore, you’re quickly behind the game. Your promotions need to set the trend, as well as being reactive. This way you can always harness the power over your competitors. The only way to do this is with a price spy tool which actively identifies the important promotions from the key competitors and reports on how these will affect you. Competitor Monitor does just that, and makes sure there is automatch on your most important product lines too.
#4 - Not retargeting website visitors
Remember, your customer isn’t required to make multiple walks up and down a high street, or visits to another retail park, to do their price comparisons. They have the tool in the palm of their hand to click back and forth between different cycle retailers before making their ultimate decision.
This means that you need to take retargeting seriously. Retargeting is how you gradually lure the customer back in and towards making the purchase from you, not your competitor. It’s the pop-up which makes them think twice before closing the tab with your store on it, it’s the offer that lands in their inbox at just the right moment, or the banner ad on Facebook - all due to some handy cookies which follow where your customer heads to and what they are planning on doing.
#5 - Not monitoring competitor stock and inventory
The average price tracker may well flag up a great price on a competitor’s website leading you to believe you reactively need to lower your price to match. Conversely, it may be high making you believe you can push your price up. However, look more closely. It’s easy to play games with prices when the product isn’t in stock. You need to utilise price comparison tools which actually undertake competitor analysis, such as whether a product is in stock.
#6 - Not segmenting customer profiles
Not all customers are created equally even if they are all cycling fanatics. They are individuals behind their keyboards, but generally they will fit in to a distinct profile of characteristics. By looking at characteristics such as demographics, location, and purchasing history, you can begin to target customers more successfully. Taken in partnership with competitive pricing, this can make for incredibly powerful pricing strategies.
#7 - Not streamlining the purchase funnel
The last mistake we tend to see being made is not streamlining the purchase funnel. All customers are on a journey which takes them through awareness, opinion, familiarity, consideration, preference, purchase, and ultimately, loyalty. At each step of the way you naturally lose potential sales. However, for many ecommerce businesses, you are losing more than you need to by not streamlining the purchase funnel for them.
This is where a pricing strategy and a marketing strategy need to be working hand in hand. From your PPC adverts and Facebook adverts, through to social media branding and promotions, there needs to be consistency which easily moves your customer along the funnel towards purchase.
Ecommerce can be an immensely profitable marketplace for cycle and cycle accessory retailers, but you need to avoid the pitfalls in order to maximise on potential customers. By avoiding the above 7 common mistakes in ecommerce you can increase your chances of success. In short:
- Use social media to monitor competitors
- Use smart price monitoring by Competitor Monitor
- Ensure your price tracking includes promotions monitoring
- Retarget all website visitors
- Monitor competitor stock and inventory
- Segment customers according to their profiles
- Streamline the purchase funnel