Identifying Your Unique Advantage in Ecommerce

What do you do for your customers better than anyone else? Why should anyone buy from your ecommerce store rather than the thousands of others offering wares similar to yours?


Identifying your unique advantage requires giving some honest consideration to those two questions. Happily though, once you’ve answered the next three questions, the answers to those two will be evident.

1. What Are You Really Selling?

Let’s say you use Shopify to sell electronics online. Taken at face value, you’re in business to sell electronics—sure. But then, so are many other people.

What is it about the way you sell electronics that’s most beneficial to your customer? Are you selling convenience? Are you selling expertise? Are you offering the lowest price? (That’s dangerous—and not always necessary.) Are you providing a unique customer experience? Do you have products that are available nowhere else?

Once you understand what you’e really selling, you’re in a better position to articulate it in a way that will appeal to your ideal customer.

Which brings us to—

2. Who Is Your Ideal Customer?

If your knee-jerk response is “Anyone I can find!” your business is going to struggle. The ecommerce market is too vast for a small business to take that approach. After all, anyone with a device capable of accessing the internet is potentially a customer. But how can you market effectively to everyone?

You’re better off choosing a specific archetype so you can focus your efforts in a way that will capture their attention. In other words, you need to find someone for whom your offering fits so perfectly they wouldn’t dream of looking for it anywhere else.

So who are they? How much education do they have? How is their income generated? How much money do they make annually? Do they have a family? Are they caring for children or an elderly parent? You need to get inside this person’s head so you can figure out what their problems are and—

3. How Can You Solve Their Problem?

Make no mistake about it; people shop for solutions—not products. The product they eventually purchase is simply a manifestation of the solution.

Let’s go back to our electronics store example for a moment.

Just about everybody needs a personal communications device these days. This means there’s a ready market for them. Your task is to figure out why your ideal customer needs a phone and show them how getting it from you will solve the problem for which they need a phone perfectly.

If your ideal customer is a business professional, you’ll market to them on social media sites such as LinkedIn and business oriented forums. You’ll tout the ways you are the best solution for the business customer. You’ll demonstrate how people who need phones for business will be better served by the way you do business.  In other words, you’ll demonstrate how you can solve their problems.

If they’re an older person with phobias around technology, you’ll show them how you make using devices so simple, they’ll wonder why they were ever concerned. You’ll allay their fears, which in turn eases their pain they experience around getting a new phone.

Long story short, it’s all about figuring out how you can solve your ideal customer’s problem and positioning yourself around those solutions.

Bottom Line: It’s All About the Customer

Now, with all of that said; identifying your unique advantage in terms of your competitors—the way most people do—is a mistake. Business isn’t about you and it isn’t about your competition. It’s about your customer. To win, you have to figure out for whom you are the absolute best solution—and let them know why you are the solution they need.