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What is Your Differentiation in Doing Business Online?

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What is Your Differentiation in Doing Business Online?

In the previous premium BiR article we discussed Simon Sinek and his book Start With Why. I also linked to his TED Talk video.

Your “why” is a great differentiation in the marketplace, but not every business does, or should, wear it on their shoulder badge.

BiR would look a little strange if our logo included “here to turn kick internet business in the teeth and set the record straight”. Or maybe it would look cool…but I digress. The point I want to make is your “why” should drive every decision and every result in your business, but a business owner’s “why” is often not the only differentiation your business needs in the marketplace.

Where are they now?

I am reminded of a series I am sure you have seen in the news cycle or a magazine rack, “Where are they now”? These series often look at celebrities or other has been success stories to see what they are doing now. Most often many of them are in jail, bankrupt, or living back home with mom. This reminds me of the recent and current shift in business over the last few years.

Depending on where you are from you may or may not know these specific brands, but I know you know the same story in your local.

  • Where is Blockbuster Video?
  • Where is Compaq?
  • Where is Republic?
  • Where is Jessops?
  • Where is the guy down the street that used to own XYZ

There are one of two answers:

  1. They adapted and took their business online.
  2. Or, as is the case with these examples, they closed their doors because they failed to innovate and differentiate.

Why it pays to be a Business Insider

A cultural shift has happened across the globe. Do you get that? I don’t care if you or your customers are in 3rd world or emerging markets…the shift has happened! The shift is the embracement of the digital age.

What does your brand stand for to a digital audience?

You see, where brand loyalty was once a successful ingredient towards your business surviving, it has been replaced by an impatient digital and global audience that expects to be delighted by your business and that you create remarkable products and services! Frankly (forgive me if your name is Frank…) customers today do not care if your brand is well established or not.

So how can you your business re-position it’s proposition in a digital world? What differentiates your product or service? And are you listening to your audience?

As a BiR Premium Member you are going to get the answers to these questions right now!

Blue Ocean the $h!+ out of your online business

Blue Ocean Strategy is one tool you can use to create uncontested market space and make the competition irrelevant even online!

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In the digital landscape, Blue Ocean plays a significant part and provides brands a process to follow to re-think their proposition and re-consider their value to the end user. Now, if you are just starting your online business I want you to know that this is for you as well!

As my mentor says, “it is way better to differentiate from the start than to enter the market and determine your already skewed”.

You want to engage with your (prospective) customers and to appraise where the competition currently resides (red ocean) and where the opportunity is to create an your uncontested market place.

Who’s done this online

A company that’s done exactly this in the competitive T-shirt market is Threadless.

Threadless put their customers at the centre of their planning and it’s proven to be their USP (Unique Selling Proposition) in creating an uncontested market.

If you and I were to create a value curve for the T-shirt market, the general key factors every company competes within might look something like this:

 

  • Product Range
  • Product Size
  • Price Point
  • Delivery
  • Screen Printing
  • Digital Marketing channels

 

For the purpose of saving space on the screen, the Competitors have been put into one generic category and are listed in blue. Due to the competitive nature of the sector, price-point for many is where the competition is and is seen as highly important.
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Source: Blue Ocean

As a result, Threadless (displayed in red) saw an opportunity to create new factors in delivering their product to an uncontested market place.

Partnerships & Community

By interacting with their user-base Threadless was able to create an online community which is at the heart of the organisation while at the same time, Threadless resurrected the idea of brand loyalty that I touched upon earlier. The primary way Threadless founder Jake Nickell created this new found brand loyalty was by introducing crowdsourcing into their design process.

  • All T-shirt designs are created by the Threadless online community. Anyone can design a T-shirt and submit for approval. In order for a design to go into production, the proposed new designs are then put to a public for a vote where users indicate if they would buy the design or not.
  • If the shirt goes into production, the designer who has their work printed onto T-shirts then receives a cash reward – thereby incentivising the artist with the brand.

This is a perfect example of what Seth Godin stated, in action, ‘Don’t find customers for your products, find products for your customers’ .

Uncover your Blue Ocean

Blue Ocean Strategy provides a digital strategy for your business that will completely re-define how you position yourself to do business online. As indicated earlier, it does not matter the market. By thinking more laterally and re-appraising you differentiate your online business from that of the competition, you will be able to open and create new markets.

Being with a little cultural shift, sprinkle some willingness, add a dash of changed focus and you will soon see the gap that you need to fill.

I’m Alex Sammers…and doing business online, the right way, sounds like the best way to create uncontested market space where your online business can define the rules and own your competition.

Engage!

And that’s it.  That’s the end of the post.  What questions do you have?  I’d love to chat in the comments below.

 

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