What strategy to adopt?
If you had a choice between the daily newspaper or your personal daily newspaper, which one would you opt for, asksPuneet Mehrotra.
The Vietnam War, 47,369 deaths, $140 billion spent and the outcome nothing. Fast forward to 2003, the Gulf War, enormous resources dumped down the drain. The result, from the frying fan into the fire. Twenty-one centuries after the birth of Christ and thousands of wars later, how many problems have wars solved? Back home what military couldn't achieve in 15 years in Kashmir, a few words from our Statesman Prime Minister and Indian and Pakistan are on the talking table. Well almost.
Yet when it comes to business our business strategists forget history and propagate war. This war is of a different kind of course, a price war. But a war is a war, whether it's a price war or a soldier to soldier combat. As a humble e-commerce strategist I suggest exorcise the ghost of Bush in you and re-define your business strategy. The price war strategy is a war and as I said earlier wars don't help. Similarly a price war definitely cannot help your business in the long run.
On the Internet, a potential customer has multiple choices on the click on a button. For the online company that boils down to stiff competition. To stand out of the flock companies resort to the low price tactic. But has anyone told these companies this tactic is more a sign of desperation than sustainability in the long run. Even if a large company does successfully implement this tactic due to economies of scale, what makes the younger brother think he can replicate big brother's success?
What strategy to then adopt?
Service as the differentiating factor
Every customer likes to be delighted. Delight him, make service your USP. Deliver him service he doesn't even expect. Charge a small premium for this. In turn you get a client probably for life, your revenues soar and let's not forget the 1-4 equation most of us learnt in our b-schools, one satisfied customers tells four others.
Value Addition as the differentiating factor
Offer value to the customer. Value could also mean combining the core product with tacit service, or value addition in the supply chain or even value addition in the peripheral product or service.
Positioning as the differentiating factor
Positioning in Trout speak means 'how you differentiate in the mind of the customer'. For those who didn't follow what I am talking about I would suggest read 'The Battle for Your Mind' written by Al Ries, Jack Trout. By the way this battle isn't really a battle. You are forgiven if you do go on to fight it.
The mind of the customer is what your business should be working at. If you can position your product or service in the way you want him to perceive, then success is just a short mile away.
Strengths - your muscle to differentiate
Yamila Diaz busts off what she best has. Pamela Anderson's silicon wonders, Britney's gyrations Laetitia Casta's soft curves have lent muscle to many imaginations. What made them successful? They merely showed off what they best had and the world focussed on them.
Let the strengths of your e-business be your muscle and see how success follows.
Personalisation - for your eyes only
If you had a choice between the daily newspaper or your personal daily newspaper, which one would you opt for?
Technology today allows you to deliver personalized solutions, to be able to deliver 'for you only'. It's a win-win situation. The customer feels good being pampered. He is delighted. You as an entrepreneur are able to offer him services and products that are exclusively relevant to him. In other words it helps you know your customer better and therefore the ability to market to him.
The Bottom Line
Times are tough, business is competitive yet there is success like never before to be achieved. A price war definitely isn't the surest way to success. As an online entrepreneur what you need to do is put your thinking cap on and think of strategies that best suit your business.
(Puneet Mehrotra is a web strategist at www.websitepromotion.in and edits www.MidnightEdition.com you can email him on firstname.lastname@example.org)
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