How to differentiate yourself in the ecommerce world?

Discussion in 'Ecommerce Forum' started by Kerwin, Apr 21, 2019.

  1. Kerwin

    Kerwin UKBF Contributor Free Member

    61 7
    I'm planning on starting a tobacconist e-commerce site and as you all probably know this is not a new idea. There are already quite a few tobacconist websites available, and I've used some of them myself. The way I want to turn my site into something a bit different from the competition is the range of items I will be selling in a specific category. I also want to make YouTube videos that are used to review products with links back to my e-commerce store so that people can buy them straight after watching the review if they want. I'd also like to have a membership perk where you earn points every time you make an order. The more you spend, the more points you get and then when you have enough points you can redeem them for a discount on the e-commerce site.

    Do these ideas sound reasonable? Can anyone point out any areas that I might be forgetting or that I should consider?
    Posted: Apr 21, 2019 By: Kerwin Member since: Dec 1, 2018
  2. WebshopMechanic

    WebshopMechanic UKBF Regular Full Member

    333 146
    Hi Kerwin,

    To be honest, creating videos and a loyalty scheme is all pretty standard stuff.

    You need to think about how you can truly differentiate yourself and make people want to come back to shop with you.

    If you don't, then people will compare you with other websites on price alone.

    Here's my advice:
    • Create a 'personal brand' that people can buy into. Get your face on the site. Don't be a faceless company.
    • Be an expert and create valuable content (create buyers guides, invaluable information, info about origins of the product, etc.)
    • Talk to your customers and speak their language. Be their friend, don't try to sell to them.
    • Be patient. Don't discount. It will damage your brand.
    • Use your videos on your site to make your product pages more engaging.
    • Write detailed descriptions that demonstrate your expertise.
    • Keep your homepage clean with 2-3 offers / promotions. Don't make it look like somebody has thrown-up offers. More is not better!
    • Don't copy your competition. Use your own angle.
    • Find and talk to your audience where they hang out (forums, FB groups, instagram, etc.) but don't sell. Just be overly helpful.
    • Link up with blogs (Feature them, forge relationships and comment on their posts)
    • Collect data - Give them a good reason to join your list.
    • Deliver truly amazing customer service. Go above and beyond.
    • Send a personally signed letter and a free sample with every purchase. Make your customers feel valued. Most other companies don't do this.
    • Once you've got going, use your audience on your website (images, interviews, features, etc)

    To increase spend and loyalty you need:
    • Product bundles (BOGOF, New product bundle, etc)
    • Basket abandonment emails
    • Welcome funnel (Welcome and educate people about your brand & products with 3-4 emails when they sign-up to your email list)
    • Purchase funnel (Use 3-4 emails to help people gain the most out of your products. How they smoke them / use them, how they are made, etc. Get them loving your products)
    • Send money-off repeat purchase vouchers in all orders
    Finally, check out Beardbrand. This is a truly excellent company that knows how to build a brand (No affiliation. They just do it right.)

    Hope that helps.

    Posted: Apr 21, 2019 By: WebshopMechanic Member since: Apr 27, 2017
  3. Mr D

    Mr D UKBF Legend Free Member

    16,097 1,797
    YouTube videos are nice and all - but will people watch them?
    I like youtube, on certain stuff I'll maybe watch 0.001% of the videos available because I like the subject matter. That's not 0.001% of the youtube videos, that's 0.001% of the ones on that subject.

    Create videos but without marketing them then don't expect many people to watch them. And marketing videos for products - I switch them off as soon as I notice them. Ads I accept in order to watch what I want, marketing videos that are done as marketing videos are not worth time spent watching.
    Posted: Apr 21, 2019 By: Mr D Member since: Feb 12, 2017
  4. mattk

    mattk UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    1,744 713
    Something that is very popular at the moment and would suit your product are monthly subscription boxes. Have you considered producing a nicely packaged box of cigars and smoking accessories and selling them on a monthly subscription model?

    There are a couple of cigar companies which do this, but they don't do a very good job at promoting it, either on their own web sites or wider - so there is definitely a opportunity for you there.
    Posted: Apr 21, 2019 By: mattk Member since: Dec 5, 2005
  5. Kerwin

    Kerwin UKBF Contributor Free Member

    61 7
    Awesome. Thank you for your ideas. You've given me quite a lot to think about. I'll skip the YouTube stuff then for the moment.

    It sounds like the critical element in all of this is picking the right e-commerce software solution that supports the features you have mentioned. I've been looking at Shopify as a possibility, but I haven't quite figured out if it'll work with Sage Pay yet (that seems to be the payment processor my competitors use for Tobacco products).
    Posted: Apr 22, 2019 By: Kerwin Member since: Dec 1, 2018
  6. Kerwin

    Kerwin UKBF Contributor Free Member

    61 7
    Good point. I was going to start doing YouTube reviews before I thought about setting up the e-commerce business so I just carried it forward. I'll think of other things I can do instead.
    Posted: Apr 22, 2019 By: Kerwin Member since: Dec 1, 2018
  7. Kerwin

    Kerwin UKBF Contributor Free Member

    61 7
    Oh, that is a good idea. I'll have a think about the best way to implement this. Thank you.
    Posted: Apr 22, 2019 By: Kerwin Member since: Dec 1, 2018
  8. antropy

    antropy OpenCart Experts Full Member - Verified Business

    3,390 584
    What is your USP? Alex
    Posted: Apr 23, 2019 By: antropy Member since: Aug 2, 2010
  9. Darkterror

    Darkterror UKBF Contributor Free Member

    48 4
    The answer is already in your question, since you know your market a bit and that's why had and implemented probably a bit and idea of making one yourself - how will you differ really ? what should make me buy (at least somethig) from you re this products if I am an audience ?
    Posted: Apr 24, 2019 By: Darkterror Member since: Mar 17, 2019
  10. Kerwin

    Kerwin UKBF Contributor Free Member

    61 7
    Sorry for the late reply. I'm going to try and go for a better choice by importing tobacco products that are either very hard to get in the UK already or are not currently available. Hopefully, that will give people a reason to come to my website. Plus the idea of a mystery box mentioned above was a good one which I think I could do.
    Posted: Apr 27, 2019 By: Kerwin Member since: Dec 1, 2018
  11. fisicx

    fisicx It's Major Clanger! Staff Member

    30,725 9,012
    Is there a demand for these products?

    If there is how are you going to let people know you sell them?

    You need a marketing strategy. From this you create a marketing plan. Then you create the marketing material and finally right at the very end you build the website.

    I'd go for a standalone site as Shopify, Amazon and others won't allow you to sell on their platforms.

    You can put together a simple wordpress/woocommerce site for a low cost to test the waters. If you get some help you could have a site up and running in a couple of hours.
    Posted: Apr 27, 2019 By: fisicx Member since: Sep 12, 2006