Are you a small ecommerce business looking to compete with the retail giant, Amazon? Well, here’s how you can do just that (and win!)
While the amazon rainforest sadly diminishes each day, the online amazon just keeps on growing. It has become a force in the market which is quite simply unstoppable. So where does this leave small ecommerce businesses?
Here’s how you can compete with this indestructible force, and even win!
Pick Your Battles
It may seem impossible to compete with Amazon, but it’s simply a question of picking your battles wisely. There are some things Amazon has which you quite simply don’t and any business which tries to compete is doomed to fail.
For example, you won’t be able to compete on price. Their strong hold on the market means that they will always be able to offer the best deals. If you can’t win, why try?
The online authority of Amazon’s site is another area you can’t touch. Amazon has millions of other websites linking to them, making it the shopping site. You can’t take its place but you can find a niche and offer expertise in an area Amazon can’t.
Also, they sell pretty much everything under the sun. As a result, their reach is huge. Amazon doesn’t really need to market their products because consumers know that it is quite likely to be there.
So, what exactly can you compete on?
Using Web Design to Create the Perfect ‘Shopping Experience’
When most people think of ‘shopping experience’ they associate it with customer service and, although this does come into it, in ecommerce it’s also about whether your site is enjoyable to use.
Ideally, you should aim to create an amazing website, which also sell products. The emphasis has to be on creating a site which people will want to spend time browsing and even share with their friends. If you actually look at Amazon’s site, it is pretty uninspiring. It’s functional and usable design looks exactly like what it is: one big online marketplace.
This is one way which you can compete with sites like Amazon – create a unique site which is fun, interesting and enjoyable to visit. With small business, it is important to find a niche, so create a site which is useful and entertaining and becomes a resource to your target market – the kind of site you would visit, whether or not you wanted to buy something.
You can do this in many ways:
- Create bespoke category pages, which are interesting and fun
- Use graphics and images throughout your website so that your content is engaging and easy to read
- Gain credibility by creating a blog and use your expert knowledge to write about your niche
- Design info-graphics which are fun and informative, and also encourage people to link to your site
- Link to other relevant sites in your field – become a resource and an authority on your niche
- Create detailed guides on your niche area, which are offered free, in return for email information for your mailing list
- Allow user-generated content, like reviews, as not only does this mean your site is constantly added to (which looks good to Google) but it gives your site credibility and the opportunity for customers to get involved.
- Always connect products to some kind of engaging content like a graphic, guide, video etc.
- Last but not least create a unique site which is a breath of fresh air. Avoid templates and create something which will take your customers by surprise
Through ecommerce development, you’ll have a website which is fun to use, as well as being a useful resource for your target market. You will create a ‘shopping experience’ better than sites like Amazon.
If you can offer something different, useful and entertaining then your site will stand out to new customers and be the kind of website that will encourage old customers to shop again.
A startling 70% of all business-to-consumer retailers have gained a new customer via Facebook. And it’s not just Facebook which is working wonders for business but Twitter, Google Plus and Pinterest too. Take a look at this info-graphic and see which platform is most effective for your business.
Social media is a great opportunity to share news, videos, digital coupons and anything that is interesting and related to your business. Start a conversation with your target market and see how they respond.
It is also an increasingly popular way for customers to get in touch with a business – consumers send queries and complaints as well as positive feedback through Facebook and Twitter. When it comes to social media, your customers are already there, so why aren’t you?
Because Amazon is such a huge organization, it lacks the personal touch. Therefore you should be using social media as a way of communicating with your customers on a personal level. Giving your business a personality and a sense of individuality is something which amazon simply can’t do because of its size. Social media can enable your business to become a friendly face in a sea of large organizations.
Stand Out in the Search Results
If a potential customer is searching for a specific product, the chances are Amazon will appear fairly high up in the search results. Before they click on the familiar address of Amazon, you have to try and grab their attention with your listing.
There are many ways to do this. Firstly, try adding ‘rich snippets’ to your search listings. This enables you to display the product’s price, availability and a review in the search listing, which is a great way of attracting a customer. In fact, it is so effective that research has shown it can boost the number of people who click on your page by 30%.
Also, try including videos or picture thumbnails in your search listing. An image always stands out in a sea of words, so this is a good way to catch the attention of your potential customers. If you have any videos on your site, demonstrating your products or explaining what you do, try to include this. For more information on how to do this, check out this video.
Hopefully this has inspired you to find your own niche online, offering the expertise and experience that Amazon can’t provide, along with the personal touch of a small business.
Take a look at your site and see how you could improve the ‘shopping experience’ and consider how you can create useful for resources for your target market. Also, try to use images to make your site stand out in the search results – catch your potential customer’s eye and tempt them to stray away from the lures of Amazon!
These are just a few ways in which you can compete with amazon, if you know of any other methods which have worked for you, share your tips and experiences below.
James Duval is a business and technology blogger, IT manager and a small business enthusiast. He loves to see small businesses thrive and he’s always on the lookout for new ways to compete with the retail giants.
Image courtesy Aurelijus Valeiša