As a small business owner, keeping up with major retailers like Amazon may seem impossible at times. Your biggest competitors have limitless resources that allow them to offer a huge variety of products at prices you just can’t beat. Fortunately, there are some areas where small businesses have the upper hand. By making the most of your small business strengths and finding ways to maximize the return on your marketing efforts, it really is possible to compete with big brands.
Learn Everything You Can About Ecommerce
The best way to keep up with your competitors is to arm yourself with knowledge about e-commerce. As Become explains, running a business online is a lot different from running a brick-and-mortar store. How to handle your products is different, your customers—much of the essentials.
Thankfully, you can look to online resources to strengthen your understanding of fundamental e-commerce elements. For example, e-commerce guides on sites like HubSpot can help you find out about everything from lead generation to branding to customer retention. Knowing everything you can about the e-commerce business model will help you make the best sales and marketing decisions for your growing brand.
One way to get your products in front of millions of customers is to utilize Valet Seller. Their managed marketplace network allows you to instantly list, ship, and sell your products on many of the world’s largest marketplaces.
Prioritize Inventory Management
Competing with large retailers means having a solid grasp of inventory management. It’s critical for stores like Amazon to keep their systems well-oiled, and this is a major component of what keeps them successful. Smaller businesses with less inventory might not always need warehouse managers, but inventory management should still be a major priority. Running out of a popular item, having too many of another, or losing inventory in your warehouse are all recipes for disaster. You can eliminate the guesswork of inventory tracking, counts, and cycling through the use of barcodes and an inventory management app.
Niche Down Your Business Idea
One of the most important things you’ll learn about running an e-commerce business is finding your niche market. This would reflect what your interests and passions are, as well as identifying where your competition is lacking. Major retailers like Amazon don’t really have a niche—they sell everything to everyone. Since you can’t do this, strive for the complete opposite by choosing a very specific segment of people to target with your products.
Inc. recommends making sure that your products solve particular pain points for your audience. To do this, think about who your ideal customer is and the kinds of problems that they struggle with. Use this knowledge when choosing your products and marketing approach.
Fine-Tune Your Marketing Efforts
Your chosen marketing strategies will determine whether or not your business will be able to stand out against your major competitors. There are many ways to market your business online, from Facebook advertising to organic social media. Decide where to advertise your brand based on the demographics in your target market and how they behave when browsing and shopping online.
Customer data is invaluable for optimizing your marketing efforts. Collect data on your customers and website visitors so you can spend your marketing budget advertising to the people who are most likely to purchase from your business.
One of the major benefits of buying from Amazon and other retail giants is exceptional shipping speeds. While you may not be able to offer your customers 24-hour shipping, you can take steps to make your shipping policy more attractive.
Free or low-cost shipping has become widely expected by today’s consumers. According to ShipBob, 86% of shoppers abandon their shopping cart due to shipping costs! Many online stores advertise free shipping by including the shipping cost in the product price. You could also set a free shipping threshold that will encourage your customers to add more items to their cart to receive a free shipping offer.
Prioritize Your Customer Service
Whether or not you decide to offer free shipping doesn’t matter as much as your overall customer service approach. As a small business, your greatest advantage over bigger brands is your ability to provide an incredible level of care and compassion in your customer service approach.
Word of mouth travels quickly online, so make sure your customers have great things to say about your business! Beyond replying to customer emails in a quick and friendly manner, find ways to engage with your consumer base whenever possible. For instance, replying to comments on social media is an essential strategy for any small business operating online today.
You may not have the resources of your major competitors, but you do have some significant advantages over retail giants. Leverage your small size to hone in on a super-specific niche in your industry, then deliver unbeatable service to your customers. With the right sales and marketing approach, any small business can stand up to retail behemoths like Amazon.
To learn more about how Valet Seller’s managed marketplace network can help you launch your brand and products on multiple sales channels, call (908) 873-6370 today!