Be brave and stand out from the great mass of online retailers

Mari Oksanen Written by Mari Oksanen - Jan 9, 2014

One of the greatest things about the web is that it offers the opportunity for even a small shop to rise up and join the ranks of the leaders. It is true that reaching these heights requires excellence in many areas, such as offering a good customer experience with high-quality technological implementation and a variety payment methods, a good product range and effective back end processes such as stock management and deliveries, but once you’ve covered the basics, what do you do to really set yourself apart from the crowd?

In my view one of the pioneers in setting themselves apart in Finland is Varusteleka. I do not in any way belong to their target group, but nevertheless I regularly visit their website just to read their product descriptions because they happen to be works of art. If I were ever to need army equipment for some reason, I wouldn’t dream of looking anywhere else. Varusteleka would be the first, and in this case only, alternative in my mind.

However, committing to a specific communication method takes courage. You need to know your target group and what appeals to them. Do they like a slightly more colourful sense of humour, or a style that emulates some sub-culture? Or perhaps they want to be wooed, and made to feel special? Set yourself apart with the content you provide, the text, pictures and videos you use can create a one-of-a-kind experience.

Customer service also plays an important role in standing out from the crowd. Often just having customer service that is reachable will accomplish this. But this is of course is only the starting point. One of my favourite examples is Netflix and how they have made customer service entertaining. In the case of Netflix, the customer gets the help they need and may even be left with a smile on their face too.

The secret to setting yourself apart is that it surprises the customer and leaves a strong positive impression. At its best, it even entertains. An online retailer, even a small one, has an excellent opportunity to elevate itself into people’s awareness and make itself legendary. All it takes is an intimate knowledge of your target group and above all the courage to stand up and get noticed.

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