Updated: Oct 6, 2021
If you run an e-commerce store, brick-and-mortar store, or both, chances are you’ve asked yourself this question: How can I compete with retail giants like Amazon? The fact is that Amazon and other major retailers have built a massive and complex infrastructure, their sales numbers are absurd, and they have the capital to keep growing.
That brings us to this realization: You likely don’t have the time or money to compete with Amazon’s scale. They can offer some of the best prices, the most products, and the most convenient services to their customers, which is largely why they claim about half of the US e-commerce market share.
However, there’s one thing that Amazon and other major retailers cannot provide—a truly personal experience. By finding your niche, offering an unparalleled customer experience, and implementing a few other strategies, your small business can thrive among the giants. If you’re ready to use your smaller scale to your advantage, try these tips for helping your company flourish, regardless of what Amazon is doing:
The market is always changing, which means you must be willing to evolve in order to keep your small business growing. One way to do this is to peruse e-commerce resources and wikis, which offer tons of information and advice on customer service, brand equity, advertising, resource management, and many other topics. Maintaining a willingness to learn will help you to consistently draw up new strategies so that your company stands out.
Prioritize customer service
Sure, Amazon has a lot to offer customers. But you may be surprised by how much customers value a unique experience. Make a point to use real people for customer interactions, and make sure your staff is knowledgeable about your products and operations. Also, get to know your customers by name and try to provide them with a personalized experience.
Perfect your product.
When you don’t have the means to offer every product in the world, you shouldn’t try. Identify your niche market, and provide customers with the highest quality items possible. Chron points out people want quality, and if your company provides it, it will help establish your reputation in the industry. This is true whether you make watches by hand or dropship office supplies.
Make sure your website is top-notch
If your website isn’t up to par, it will significantly hurt business, even if you run a brick-and-mortar establishment. Aside from the staggering surge of online shopping trends, consumers also use the internet to find local businesses. Perhaps some of those users will simply get your address and show up, but most of them are likely to check out your website. If your site doesn’t look appealing and work as it should, chances are potential customers will be turned off. An online website builder can provide a basic starting point, but for a stunning site, hiring a web designer is your best bet. To connect with a top-quality web designer (and any other web development services you need), search for qualified candidates on freelance job platforms. The scope of the project is up to you; you can hire freelancers for extended long-term work or just one-off projects.
Simplify the checkout process
Amazon’s one-click purchase feature is a hit, as it provides customers with literally the quickest checkout experience to date. Make it easy for people to buy from your website. Creating an account with your store should be a fast and simple process, and customers should be able to quickly sign in to make purchases thereafter.
Enhance your shipping
If you can swing free shipping, do it. Maybe you can’t offer free shipping on all purchases, and that’s OK. At least try to offer it when a certain amount is reached on order, such as $30, $50, or $100. Moreover, make sure your packaging is professional and that it showcases your brand personality.
To improve your shipping process, make your warehouse operations more effective and efficient. Steps you can take include hiring an experienced warehouse manager, investing in the latest technology, and discussing possible upgrades and problems with your employees.
Many small businesses try to emulate Amazon and other retail giants, but this can hurt your business. Instead, take advantage of your smaller scale. Regularly study e-commerce wikis and other resources to stay on top of the market, focus on customer service, and give customers the highest quality of products you can. Maintain a professional website, make it easy to purchase on your site, and provide shipping incentives. If you embrace your company’s niche and do these things well, you’ll be in a great position to succeed.
Marissa Perez is a marketing guru with 10+ years of experience. She co-created Business Pop to provide insight and advice to those entering business ownership.
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