Nowadays, anyone can set up an online store for their products with only a few clicks. E-commerce is wide open to anyone who wants to enter the market; however, the shadow of the industry’s biggest giants looms wide in the minds of anyone thinking of trying. How can you possibly compete with Amazon, let alone all the other big names in online shopping?
To compete, you need to make sure your service matches their speed, reliability, and convenience while offering something they don’t. It is possible.
Have a Great Website
In order to compete with Amazon, your website needs to run well and look nice. For the former, it’s all about the hosting. InMotion, for example, is a solid choice, which offers a 90-day money back guarantee, 24/7 support, and $250 worth of advertising credits. You can find a full review of InMotion, as well as of all its major competitors, on Digital.com.
In order to make your website look great, you can combine a hosting service with a DIY web builder that prioritize aesthetics and ease of use. Alternatively, you hire a web designer to make you a custom website, but this is a big investment that is often out of reach for new businesses.
Make It Personal
Amazon is convenient, sure, but it’s also a huge international tech giant. As such, nothing about the Amazon shopping experience feels personal. This is where you, as a small business, have the advantage. There are several ways to make your business feel personal and friendly. For instance, you can inject some personality and humor into your tracking emails, use creative and interesting packaging, or simply add in a nice little extra — like a handwritten note or a free sample of another product — into the shipping. The point is to make your customer feel special.
Have a Solid Brand
You need to make it clear to your consumers what the benefits are of shopping with you. This guide to building a successful e-commerce brand has great, detailed advice on crafting and marketing a unique message, including examples of strategies that have worked for start-ups. Also, remember that by branding yourself in opposition to corporate giants like Amazon and eBay, you are inherently appealing to a certain demographic.
According to a 2017 survey by AT&T, about half of millennials are willing to spend a bit more to shop with a small business. This is especially true if you can show that your service is socially and/or environmentally sustainable. As Amazon continues to come under fire for its unethical business practices, there is more and more room for small brands and businesses based on ethical principles to flourish in the e-commerce world.
Fast, Efficient Service
So, you have a great website, an appealing brand, and a personal approach to your service. All of that means little if the service itself isn’t up to scratch. Two areas to focus on in particular are shipping and returns. First, customers want their stuff as fast as possible, so you need to use a reliable shipping service. If you manage your shipping in-house, USPS is often considered the best choice for small businesses due to its good value and range of delivery options. As your business grows, you may want to look into third-party logistics for your shipping.
When it comes to returns, remember that 30 percent of products bought online are returned, and 60 percent of consumers actually check your returns policy before buying. Therefore, make sure the policy is clear and easily available, detailing a timeframe for returns, what customers can expect to receive (store credit, full or partial refund), and how they will receive it.
Coming up against the giants of e-commerce is intimidating. Stores like Amazon and eBay have a global reach, lower prices, and almost unlimited resources. But that doesn’t mean that there isn’t room for your business in the e-commerce game. Focus on building a solid product with reliable service, perfecting your brand, and nurturing a loyal following among your customers.
This is a guest blog article by Marissa Perez with BusinessPop.net.