Online Store: How To Differentiate Yourself From Competition (Startups)

With the rate at which online store is springing up from every nukes and crannies one would assume there is huge profit potential in the eCommerce business, but truly we cannot deny the inherent opportunities online retail has to offer but not when the industry is still at a teething stage in Nigeria.

The candid question i asked myself is why are so many businesses and individuals interested in selling online now? It’s like there is a paradigm shift in perspective from doing business offline to basically focusing online. I know like five of my ex-colleagues who’s have started an eCommerce business.

At inception it appears eCommerce was really growing at a geometric progression with the impression ingrained in the minds of entrepreneurs by the leading online retailers, but as it appears now, the growth rate has mellowed following the introduction of different eCommerce companies and individuals taking advantage of technology coupled with economic instability, So, the challenge now is how will you differentiate your brand from hundreds of online retailers in Nigeria?

There is the need to identify the common flaws associated with eCommerce business in Nigeria, it is only then you can create your own unique selling point (USP) that will single you out among other business. One common problem associated with many young entrepreneurs who are starting ecommerce business is that most of them do little or no research about the market or industry they are launching into, they believe once your website is ready you can start a business then you learn along the line.

I remembered reading a post by Celestine Omin a Konga staff titled “We all don’t know what we are doing” This article served as an inspiration to some young entrepreneurs who had conceived the idea of starting an eCommerce business, some actually believed you can always make mistakes through the journey and find your path later, but a good question is how prepared are you for the journey?

Some of the common challenges Ecommerce business is facing in Nigeria include Inadequate infrastructure (poor road network), security issues, privacy concerns, high cost of delivery charge, poor logistics (late delivery), residual distrust of paying online in an environment where cash is vital, etc. All these challenges are generally common with eCommerce in Nigeria and any other developing country, but it takes time and effort to build trust and make the most out of it. Once you have been able to identify what the major challenges are that is when you can now sit down and strategize on how to mitigate these factors from negatively affecting your business.

Having a great website or an online store is one thing – but convincing the people or your target audience to buy is something else entirely. And the trick is learning how to differentiate yourself from the competition in marketing campaigns. This implies you have to make yourself stand out, you have to differentiate yourself from everyone else that’s out there and cut through the clamour of the marketplace. Only this way will you catch people’s attention, and often the only way to do this is by differentiating your brand through marketing


1   Start With a Vision and a Goal

One thing that is really common with most young entrepreneurs I have met is that they are really eager to start the business of selling online but without a clear vision or a goal. I once asked a guy what is your goal and plan for this business in the next 5 years? I can remember he told me “Well, I just want to sell online i have a passion for eCommerce business“. However passion is a good drive but without a clear vision, it’s nothing. You need to know what you are aiming at and ask yourself am i just doing this because that is the trending business?

2   Vigorously Target a Particular Demographic

It’s obvious everybody can’t be your customer, you need to identify who your target audience are, what they do, where they are and how they behave, it is when you have this data that you have set yourself on the path to success, because you won’t be making unnecessary noise or talking to the wrong people, then you can also maximize your marketing spend. For instance, Ajebomarket is an Online Fashion Hub for men, it would be wrong to send a newsletter to all gender or target facebook Ad to all gender. You need to focus on your demographic.

3   Carve a Niche

I still so much believe Nigerians and Africans at large have not fully tapped into the benefits eCommerce has to offer, there are still so many niches people are yet to discover talk less of harnessing. Don’t try to be like Konga or Jumia that sells everything, do your research on what people need but find it a bit difficult to get it delivered to their doorsteps, create your business around such products or services, your potential customer doesn’t have to be everybody. There is an online store in Nigeria that sells only car tyre eTyrenigeria, this is really a creative one. You can also create a unique product or service.

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