How Small Companies Can Compete With Amazon in the World of eCommerce
Amazon is the undisputed king of ecommerce. They earn upwards of $10 billion in a single year. Knowing that can be frightening and even off-putting to someone running or considering starting their own ecommerce company. How can you compete with a king? While it certainly isn’t easy to fight with giants, all ecommerce companies can be successful with hard work and creativity. Here’s how small companies can compete with Amazon:
- Develop a brand personality
- Provide more product details
- Work for a purpose
- Improve your customer service
- Offer discounted shipping
- Add bonuses
- Streamline your payment process
- Increase your marketing efforts
- Take part in local events
- Match Amazon’s sales
Develop a Brand Personality
Amazon’s greatest advantage is its size. However, because they’re so big, they lose something in the way of a unique personality. Often they’re just a generic brand for the masses, able to offer goods quickly and efficiently. One of the best ways for your small online company to outdo Amazon is to create a personality that your customers can connect with. You can create that personality through the products you sell, the content you share on social media, and the designs you use on your website. This technique makes your brand more memorable to customers and creates an emotional attachment between them and you that will bring them back time and time again.
Provide More Product Details
Because Amazon is so large, they have a plethora of resources at their disposal. Those resources include a wide user base who can answer questions and write product reviews to offer other customers almost endless information. You may not have that same user base but you can certainly provide as many details about your products as possible. Every time you upload a new item to your storefront, write out the basic information the customer will want to know at first glance. Then consider any other questions your audience might have: is the item washable? Is it eco-friendly? Does it have a warranty? Write detailed responses to every question you can think of and upload that information as well. You can also offer your customers a form to leave their own questions behind that you, or other users, can answer. Creating a review column is another method for how small companies can compete with Amazon: the more reviews your products have, the more trustworthy you become to potential clientele.
Work For a Purpose
When you start your ecommerce company, your main goal is probably going to be to make money. It’s normally the goal of every business, including Amazon. But a great way to make yourself stand out is to stand up for a cause other than money-making. The cause can be environmental, educational, social, or anything you can think of. Your contribution can be done through selling specific products, donating a portion of your profits, attending fundraising events, or even sharing relevant social media posts. When a customer buys from you, they’ll feel rewarded knowing they are also helping to support a cause.
Improve Your Customer Service
Customer service on Amazon is widely regarded as being amazing. They can be reached by phone, email, or chat. They generally respond to complaints quickly. They make it easy to get in touch with third party sellers. Perhaps you can’t exceed Amazon’s customer service but you can strive to make yours just as good. Train all of your employees in good customer service practices so everyone can help disgruntled clients at a moment’s notice. Clearly post your customer service policy to your website’s About page (or somewhere similar). Work to make yourself available on a variety of channels. Personalize every experience. If you’re successful in making a bad situation better, customers will appreciate the effort and you’ll start to build loyalty. Check our blog on providing excellent customer service here.
Offer Discounted Shipping
Thanks to Amazon’s creation of “Prime Shipping” many customers now expect to have free two-day shipping from every business. Of course, that isn’t always feasible for a small ecommerce store. To compete, you have a few different options. You can follow the Amazon model: free Prime shipping isn’t technically free. Instead, users pay a yearly membership fee which comes to about $80 a year. By offering a similar membership to your users, you cover some of the cost of shipping and they don’t have to pay extra on every single product they buy. Other techniques include offering free shipping if customers spend a certain amount of money, or periodically doing free shipping deals to entice more hesitant buyers.
How Small Companies Can Compete With Amazon: Add Bonuses
People love free stuff. Take advantage of that love to bring more customers over to your side of the ecommerce market. When possible, do small giveaways, like including a free $5 item in holiday orders, offering free gift wrapping on birthday gifts, or gifting your most loyal customers small items. This is a great way to personalize a customer experience so that they keep coming back for more!
Streamline Your Payment Process
Years ago, Amazon introduced the 1-Click payment method to their website. When you’re done shopping, you only have to click that single button and your order will be sent off to be fulfilled. No inputting your address or card information or clicking through multiple pages to actually make the purchase. This speed and convenience is huge in the world of ecommerce. Many people shop online because it’s simply easier than going to the store. If your payment process is complicated and time consuming, you’re taking away from that ease and also giving your customers the chance to change their mind. Instead, keep checkout to one page, use a progress bar so customers know how long before their purchase is complete, and offer them the chance to save their information for a faster checkout next time.
Increase Your Marketing Efforts
People know about Amazon. It’s why they shop with them. They’re familiar and seem to have ads everywhere. To compete, you need to make sure that customers know who you are too. While you likely can’t spend millions in advertising, taking advantage of sponsored ads on social media, paying an influencer or two to review your product, and even taking out ads in your local news media are all ways to make sure that people have heard about you.
Take Part in Local Events
Instead of starting your business by trying to aim for a global audience, start small. You can build a loyal local following faster than you can with a worldwide one. One of the best ways to increase your local visibility is to take part in events near your area. Become a vendor at a local fair, sponsor a small event, talk to people in person (in a way that Amazon just can’t). They may just become your customers online.
Match Amazon’s Sales
A few years ago, Amazon launched Prime Day which is an annual mid-summer sale throughout their entire website. The sale has grown so big that it now spans two full days and even competes with Black Friday. They also take part in Black Friday and Cyber Monday. When Amazon does their sales, you can also launch your own competing ones. Customers looking for a similar product to what you sell may still be inclined to purchase from you if you can keep prices competitive.
While competing with Amazon may seem like a battle for any small ecommerce company, it doesn’t have to be. You now know how small companies can compete with Amazon, which means you can set to work doing just that.
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