Online Product Managers Look For Ways To Stand Out In A Crowd

The goal is to build a community of repeat customers
The goal is to build a community of repeat customers
Image Credit: Flazingo Photos

Let’s face it: it’s pretty easy to set up shop online. All you really need is a website, a way to take orders, and the ability to ship purchased goods to your customers. The ease of doing this is one of the challenges that product managers are facing these days. Since it is so easy to do, everyone seems to be doing it. This means that the world on online shops has quickly become very, very crowded. Online product managers realize this and they are currently looking for ways that they can stand out from among all of the other sellers who are online.

The Challenge Of Selling Online

So how hard can it be to sell things online? It turns out that it used to be pretty easy – you’d set up a website, people would search and find it, and then they would visit you and buy your products. However, lately that has all changed. Now when your customers use Google to go searching for the things that you sell, what will probably happen is that your site is going to appear beneath paid ads from competitors. In order to get around this problem product managers are going to have to change how their customers go shopping for online products. In some cases what this means is that the product managers are going to have to create a paper catalog that gets mailed to thousands of homes. What product managers are starting to realize is that the catalog print cost plus the postage costs should allow them to actually do as well or better at acquiring customers than it does to acquire customers online. Creating a catalog can cost about $86,000 to produce.

The tech ecosystem that powers ecommerce has made it easy for product mangers to set up shop, from web design and inventory management to email marketing and sales-tax collection. So far 1.75 million merchants did so last year, more than double the number two years earlier. However, the lower entry barriers and rising cost of online advertising are making it harder for existing and new sellers to cut through the crowd and find more customers. Product managers are saying that in addition to marketing tactics like search-optimizing web pages and targeting users on social media, brands must also take the more elaborate steps of developing community among customers or an identity that consumers deem authentic. Other product managers are testing out distinctly analog ways of reaching new customers, like printed catalogs or bricks-and-mortar shops.

Product managers realize that there are certain things that have gotten easier and that makes other things hard. Online advertisements aren’t as effective as content – like email newsletters or YouTube videos – created by the brands to entertain or inform. Product managers understand that the tools available to launch a new company are simpler than the ones available just a few years ago. Product managers can focus on cultivating a mailing list of interested customers by creating content for platforms like YouTube to drum up interest until the product launch. However, we need to understand that standing out is still a challenge.

How To Be Successful Online

What online product managers need to understand is that it’s vastly easier for an individual, without taking a bunch of investor dollars, to build a brand, create a product and sell it to customers online. However, lately the bar has become a lot higher to be unique online. New entrants to online selling need to understand that they face steep odds. From a consumer vantage point, there’s a lot of clutter online. Your buyers have to sort through who best to buy from and what to buy. Online product managers that have built up their businesses for years say they have an advantage in affinity from existing customers and proven methods for finding more.

Many online product managers will not sell on Inc. because of their lack of providing access to customer data and the fact that Amazon may sell similar-looking products at a lower price. In order to be successful online, product managers have to work constantly to continue ranking high on relevant search terms on Alphabet’s Google. They also have to monitor product listings on other platforms to ensure they aren’t using a product manager’s brand’s name.

Other product managers are evaluating how to capitalize on new spending patterns resulting from the pandemic. One thing that can be done is to branch out into other goods. In order to better connect with their customers, product managers can open stores, which may do bustling sales but can also serve as a branding tool. Costs to acquire customers have fallen recently since people have spent more during the pandemic. In some cases, acquisition costs may have actually risen, due in part to rising digital advertising costs.

What All Of This Means For You

It turns out that selling things online is actually fairly easy to do. What this means for product managers is that more and more people are doing it. This means that finding a way to get your product to stand out has become much harder to do lately. Product managers need to take a step back from their daily activities and understand what its going to take in order to make their online products be a success.

One big problem that online product managers can run into occurs when customers go searching for their product. When Google displays results from a search, before your customers see your website, they may first be presented with a list of competitors ads. So many new online sellers are showing up that online product managers now have to take steps to make their products stand out online. One way to go about doing this is to create product content on other platforms such as YouTube. If you have existing customers, then you have an advantage over other sellers. Many online product managers stay away from Amazon because they don’t share customer data and may market competing products. Online product managers can grow sales by branching out into other products. Costs of sales may either go up or down.

Being an online product manager is an easy job to start. However, in order to be successful in the long term, you need to understand that you are facing a lot of competition. This means that you need to spend your time finding ways to make your product stand out in a crowded marketplace. The good news is that this can be done. It’s not easy, but if you take the time to make your product unique, then the customers will come.

– Dr. Jim Anderson Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World Product Management Skills™

Question For You: Do you think that online product managers should sell their products on Amazon?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

So here’s a question for you. When you go home at night and want to relax, what do you do? Most people plop down and click on the television. Now this is where things start to get interesting: who provides you with your television signal. Sure, you could pull four or five channels off the air using an antenna, but if you want the really good stuff you need to subscribe to a provider. Who provides us with our television is starting to change and the Pay-TV product managers who have been providing this content are starting to come under a lot of pressure.

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