You’re an online store owner and you care about your site, its traffic, popularity and naturally sales.
You want it to perform at the best possible level, attract more customers and bring you more money.
But deep in your heart you know that customers might be picking other stores to buy from, particularly the giants in your industry, shops like Amazon and others.
They seem more appealing to your customers with their great offers, free shipping, large product selection, lowest prices and more.
How can you beat that?
I struggle with that thought everyday. Over the years I have tried many things that I thought would win customers over to me. Some of those seem silly now, others however, have worked quite well.
In this post, I want to tell you about the latter.
Before I do this though, let’s have an honest look at how a small store presents itself against Amazon and others. I am going to use my own store as an example.
I run a small drop shipping business. Compared to Amazon:
I am pretty sure the above is true about your store too.
So, with that in mind,
By their nature, Amazon and other giants have no other focus other than on growth. Their business model revolves around selling everything to everyone.
In many ways, this is a great approach. However, what it lacks is a laser focus on a particular niche.
You on the other hand can do so and ensure that you become an authoritative source to go to for products in your category.
You can brand yourself as an expert in your field. Through your website, support and marketing you can build an image of the most authoritative source for a particular product.
Many customers will overlook a slightly higher price in lieu of a trusted source.
Having a laser focus allows you to build a community around a product you sell or industry your store operates in tying more people to your brand and your shop.
Even though we live in a completely digital age, many customers still prefer a personal communication. Especially when it comes to more expensive items they want to be able to talk to someone before they make a purchase.
That’s another thing giants like Amazon will never be able to provide. Sure, you can talk to a customer service rep there but how well do they know the product you want to buy? Can they advise you which of the two models you are interested in is better for your needs?
Seemingly, you can also provide personal support, answer questions about the product and help your customers when they have a problem with it.
This is why features like live chat and phone support are becoming so important parts of your website.
Research shows that customers prefer brands that actually stand for something. A 1999 research from Cone/Roper showed that amongst US citizens as many as 86% of customers have a very positive image of companies that support a good cause. Moreover, nearly 2/3 of respondents stated their willingness to switch brands to a one associated with a cause.
It doesn’t take much to align yourself with a cause. A simple donation or even a badge of support can send a right signal to your customers while you can also help others through your contributions.
Amazon doesn’t sell every product there is. In fact, there are many small, local producers that might never even be able to get onto this gigantic platform.
You however can sell their products. And by doing so create an offering unavailable anywhere else, especially through the giant stores.
By default, giants websites are quite generic. Don’t get me wrong, they are amazing and I know very well how much work they put in into them.
However, because of a lack of focus, their features are not targeted at any specific customer group.
Your website though, because of its laser focus can deliver exactly the experience your audience is seeking.
What you can include:
and many more that will help your customers research the product they want to buy.
This is one idea I haven’t tried personally yet. It comes from a friend of mine who found it working quite successfully for her.
If you can, start offering local delivery in your region. Let your customers order from your store and deliver personally to them.
Naturally, this won’t work for every business, yet if you run a store in a small to medium community, it can be a great selling point over the giants.
Do you sell products customers purchase regularly? Then offer subscriptions. Instead of having them order every time they need to restock, offer to ship the goods to them regularly every month.
Not only you will make their lives easier, this will also help your cash flow as well.
Competing with giant stores may seem like a lost battle. It seems almost impossible to become more competitive.
However, just like David had found a way to beat Goliath, your store can attract more customers from Amazon and others.
One of the biggest mistakes when trying to compete with the giants (I am guilty of it too, just so that we’re clear on that) is trying to beat them on things you simply can’t.
The key to becoming more competitive over stores like Amazon however lies in identifying what needs of your customers they can’t fulfill but you can and focusing on them.
Maybe you can add a personal thank you note for the buyer.
This way your getiing more in touch with your buyer and can give a positive
effect on returning customers.