With the holidays swiftly approaching, consumers are beginning to flock to online retailers for presents, party supplies, and everyday purchases. If you own a small business, this increase in traffic can be a goldmine for your profits, especially if you sell online. To see all of those profits for your small business, though, you need to be able to compete with larger online retailers, including e-commerce giants like Amazon. Sounds impossible? Well, as it turns out, helping your small business stay competitive with big corporations, including Amazon, can be much less complicated than you think. That’s especially true when you use these simple tricks and steps to attract new customers, retain loyal shoppers, and boost the overall success of your business.
Utilize Online Guides and E-Commerce Resources
When you want to up your e-commerce game, there’s no better way to start than by checking out small business resources online. These guides are chock full of tips to help your business succeed, but don’t stop there when researching ways to compete with Amazon. Many e-commerce sites provide dedicated wiki or information pages specifically designed to help smaller online retailers learn about key business areas that can keep their shops competitive. Using these online resources, you can beef up your knowledge of advertising/marketing, brand equity, customer service, and growth hacking, all of which can help drive more customers to your online business and set your shop apart from competitors, both large and small. These information sites can also save you time by gathering multiple topics into one concise page.
Fully Staff Warehouses to Streamline Operations
If you take some time to research companies like Amazon, you will see that the way they handle operations plays into their overall success. For example, Amazon has mastered the warehouse game and employs countless people to help keep each warehouse running efficiently around the clock. Since you own a small business and not a billion dollar corporation, you may not be able to staff your warehouse with that many permanent employees. However, what you can do to get your warehouse operations on track quickly is to hire temporary warehouse employees. Staffing agencies make it easy to find temporary help, which can be especially beneficial during busy shopping seasons or even when you need to take more time finding more permanent employees. Plus, when you hire through a staffing agency, you won’t have the added stress and expense of processing payroll, which can save you valuable time in addition to extra costs.
Lower Shipping Rates or Offer Free Shipping
If you’re like most folks, think of free shipping when you think about Amazon. That makes perfect sense since Amazon’s success has been greatly dependent on the company’s ability to reduce shipping time and rates for customers. The secret to Amazon’s shipping success, however, is a trick that small businesses can use as well. If you want to keep shipping costs low, to compete with mass retailers, you should consider using multiple carriers to ship products to your customers. When you create relationships and accounts with multiple shipping providers, you are extending your ability to control shipping costs and processing time, both of which can help your business reel in new shoppers and attract more repeat sales. If you can find profitable ways to offer free shipping, you can boost your sales even more and compete with corporations. You can do this by setting purchase limits for free shipping or including shipping costs in product prices, tactics which are commonly used by many successful small e-commerce businesses.
Create Enhanced Experiences for Online Shoppers
When consumers shop these days, they aren’t just looking for the best products and services from businesses. What they’re really looking for are the best buyer experiences. A complete and competitive buyer experience will take all aspects involved with sales into account, from the resources customers use to find and compare new businesses to the emotions that drive online shoppers to become loyal customers. Focusing on touch points is one of these essential steps for small businesses that want to compete with Amazon, and those touch points can include social media, online ads, email messages, and of course, e-commerce websites. Getting your website up to standards should be a priority when it comes to improving the experience for your existing and potential customers. You can even employ a few sales tricks, such as creating a sense of urgency and turning setbacks into strengths, to encourage even the most casual browsers to complete purchases and to prevent the dreaded effects of cart abandonment.
Offer Extensive and Secure Online Payment Options
One key aspect of your customers’ experience is the checkout screen. This portion of your e-commerce shop should be simple to use, but it should also include payment gateways that provide customers with multiple secure payment options. In addition to allowing customers to choose various payment methods, the payment processing systems you use should also offer benefits for your business. Quality customer service, low processing rates, and flexible cancellation policies are all critical when choosing payment processing methods for your e-commerce shop. If you really want to set your business apart, you can do so by offering alternative payment methods that Amazon does not. One increasingly popular payment option is Afterpay. Unlike Amazon’s installment payment options, which are based on credit, payment methods like Afterpay allow customers to pay for purchases over time, with no interest and no credit check, which can boost each sale’s dollar amount and discourage cart abandonment.
Provide Customers With Personalized Service and Support
If you have taken steps to overhaul and improve the processes mentioned above but are still unable to beat Amazon at these e-commerce elements, don’t feel discouraged. There is one other area where you have the opportunity to exceed Amazon’s efforts: customer service. For example, you can work on your customer retention efforts, which can include creating connections with the local community, utilizing customer service tools, and personalizing your customer contacts. That last part is something that Amazon and other mass retailers will never be able to accomplish quite as well as smaller businesses. That’s because one of the advantages of having a smaller pool of customers and shoppers is that you have the power to forge deeper connections. Those personal relationships and loyal connections can result in consistent profits for your small e-commerce business, and they can make resolving customer complaints easier. So focus on creating an outstanding customer service model, and you could end up stealing some profits away from Amazon and other corporate online retailers this holiday season, and all year long.
More consumers are turning to e-commerce in order to check items off their holiday shopping list and to complete everyday purchases. So make sure that your small business is ready to net more profits from these online shoppers, as well as take on competitors of all sizes. Provide top notch customer service with a personal touch, find ways to streamline your operations, and above all, highlight what sets your shop apart from Amazon and other mass retailers. Consumers will notice those strengths and be willing to spend even more with your business.
Written By: Tina Martin
Tina stays busy as a life coach and works hard to help herself and her clients achieve a healthy work-life balance.
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