Does news about ever-growing e-commerce giants frighten you? Whether you are currently working in e-commerce or just an aspiring business owner, news of the retail apocalypse is likely to freak you out. But before you succumb to all the doom and gloom, remember that your e-store can still deliver something that no one else can. That’s why it exists in the first place.
Let’s take a moment to examine some of the tips regarding how to make an e-commerce website competitive enough for today’s market.
Find Your Niche Audience
To get your e-commerce startup to run with the big dogs, you’ll have to find your pack. In other words, who is in your target audience? Some e-commerce vendors assume they don’t need one. They believe their products appeal to everyone.
However well-intentioned, this will undermine your e-store’s value. E-commerce SMBs need an edge to compete in today’s digital marketplace. If you are trying to appeal to everyone, you are likely appealing to no one. Amazon appeals to everyone due to their low prices, wide selection, and speedy delivery. If you are trying to compete with Amazon on Amazon’s turf, you’ll lose every time.
Instead, you should figure out who your target audience is and what they want so you can give it to them.
It’s as simple as that.
Let’s take a moment to focus on the brand identity of the big dogs like Amazon. This is a massive e-commerce enterprise offering everything from A to Z. It’s essentially a department store in cyberspace. This means Amazon’s marketing will necessarily be bland and inoffensive, so as not to turn off the bulk of customers.
While this may sound like a strength, it opens the ability for ambitious SMBs to compete on personality. Yes, Amazon and eBay can undercut your prices, but you can still offer something they can’t—brand identity.
Let’s say you sell vegan protein powder online. Your target audience is made up of socially-conscious and body-conscious consumers. Your brand identity should match this ethos. While Amazon may sell vegan protein powder too, your site can own the identity associated with the product. Do everything you can to establish your brand as an expert in this area, and watch your profit climb.
Focus on Customer Experience
As you can see, an SMB’s competitive edge lies in its ability to focus on a target audience. Since you are operating a small business, you’ll need to take special care of your consumer. By delivering a superb customer experience, you are bound to beat the big dogs.
Here’s an example of amazing customer service. Let’s say a customer orders the wrong product by mistake. The error is completely his fault, and your e-store would be justified in making him pay full price. Instead, you decide to accept his return without charge and deliver him the intended item right away. This stellar interaction will leave the buyer feeling happy and appreciated. And thus he will be more likely to shop with you again.
Similarly, it will benefit your brand to be hyper-responsive to customer queries via email and social media. When other shoppers see you helping a customer in need, they will begin to associate your site with compassionate service.
Do Your Best
In the end, your e-commerce SMB won’t topple Amazon and eBay, but that doesn’t mean you can’t compete with the big dogs. Focus on your customers and deliver a shopping experience all your own.