Commerce is a race. Hopefully, a race to the top, but for some, it's a race to the bottom. Seth Godin has written about the race to the bottom multiple times. He states that "the problem with the race to the bottom is sometimes you might win." And he doesn't mean that as a good thing. "Someone," he says, "will always find a way to be cheaper or more brutal than you to win. You might make a few more bucks for now, but not for long and not with pride." Profound words from a smart marketer.
Consumption of goods via the internet is still a relatively young activity-especially compared to commerce in general. When the internet went public in 1989 (some say with the influence of political power players such as ... ahem ... Al Gore), consumption of goods, or ecommerce, was an afterthought. Those early days were ripe with the hopes and dreams of easily passing millions of pieces of information across the globe at staggering speeds.
At that time, the internet was to be an information technology system for the U.S. Armed Forces. The government's hope was to create a competitive advantage over the rest of the world. It was the wave of the future.
But as the internet grew, many others saw the potential of what the internet could mean for commerce. The early groups stumbled on a very powerful tool. It's a tool that could pass dollars, pounds, or yen over the air-a commerce machine with no bounds and no barriers. Despite the promise of this technology, not every story has been a success.
Down in the basement, the dead digital companies of yore sing sad songs of what could have been. Some, though, have risen above the rest, and they have done this through time-tested techniques.
If you develop some or all of the techniques (mentioned later) in your business and ecommerce, success will be headed your way. Don't be scared to copycat proven techniques. There have been hundreds of thousands of copy writers and marketers borrowing ideas from greats such as David Ogilvy. It's expected and required. Let's go through a few of the best techniques. They are as follows:
1. Consistency: Whether it's Walmart's "Always low prices," Apple's premium pricing, or Monoprice, Inc.'s quantity-based basement pricing, a consumer brand's consistency plays a huge role in its success. We come to expect and know that when we log on to a site and are familiar with its pricing strategy, we tend to take less time getting to the "buy" button. It feels native, even comfortable.
2. Building trust: Amazon has built its brand on trust. You trust that you are going to get a certain experience and quality, every time. And it delivers almost every single time. If you use Amazon, you know you are going to get the following benefits:
- Low prices
- Unparalleled product offerings
- The easiest, most intuitive checkout process
You trust that every time you type that little word-Amazon-into your browser bar, the experience delivered to you will be first class.
3. Value: Companies that have mastered the concept of over-delivering value to their customers have tapped into a gold mine. I'm not just talking about cost value. I am talking about tools that make you a better marketer, accountant, mechanic, and husband, etc.
For example, I am a marketer and writer. (There, I said it. The hardest part is admitting it.) Companies that provide me with unending value have my loyalty. When they (as Gary Vaynerchuk likes to say) "right hook me," I strongly consider purchasing whatever goods they are selling, regardless of whether I really need it or not.
Remember one thing (big tip coming here): Do not mistake making someone aware of something as value. Value is something that is given without expecting anything in return.
Make your ecommerce race about consistency, building trust, and adding value to your customers. Do this and the little thing called the internet-the new frontier and the future of commerce-will be yours.