As an internet marketer, I can generally say that Amazon’s dominance over eCommerce is very impressive. However, for small business eComm stores, it’s more frightening than anything. Your Shopify or Magento eCommerce store built by Logic Web Media may be maintaining sales, but can you really compete with Amazon?
In the rapidly evolving world of eCommerce, Amazon’s dominance remains undeniable. While its sheer size and resources can be intimidating for small business eCommerce stores, it’s crucial to remember that competing directly with Amazon may not be feasible. Instead, small businesses can focus on strategies to ensure business growth and survival in the age of Amazon. In this updated blog post, we’ll provide you with the latest insights and tips to stay competitive in the ever-changing eCommerce landscape.
The Challenge: You Can’t Compete with Amazon
Here at Logic Web Media, we have created hundreds of eCommerce stores over the years. Back in 2017, we created a total of 13 eCommerce websites, managing a combined total of 7,248 products. Some of those eCommerce stores are still thriving, while some have fallen quiet in the sales department.
Large retailers like Amazon possess significant advantages over small eCommerce businesses. These include ample financial resources, a competitive seller ecosystem, dedicated marketing teams, and the ability to offer a vast array of products at competitive prices. However, the failure of many eCommerce stores in the age of Amazon can be attributed to various factors:
- Lack of Adaptability: Inability to adapt to the changing internet landscape and evolving customer preferences.
- Limited Understanding of Internet Marketing Psychology: Failing to grasp the psychology behind internet marketing and consumer behavior.
- Resistance to Change: Refusing to modify business models, even when they are clearly declining.
- Outdated Marketing Strategies: Investing in outdated marketing tactics or nearly obsolete sales channels.
- Insufficient Analytics: Neglecting to track and analyze data, resulting in a lack of awareness regarding what is or isn’t successful.
The Solution: 6 Tips to Stay Competitive
As I stated before, we have experience on what does and does not work when it comes to selling on the internet. To thrive in the age of Amazon, it’s crucial for small eCommerce businesses to adopt alternative strategies. Amazon may be mighty, but that doesn’t mean that your small eCommerce business cannot thrive. While you do not have the resources to go toe-to-toe with Amazon, here are a few alternative actions that will help you.
Recommendations for Your Business Functions
1. Find Your Niche & Embrace It
Amazon’s strength lies in offering a wide range of products, but this also creates opportunities for smaller eCommerce businesses. Identify underserved or untapped niches in your market. For instance, consider offering unique, handcrafted, or locally sourced products that cater to customers seeking authenticity and sustainability. Differentiate yourself by providing a story or mission that resonates with your target audience.
Chances are that if your eCommerce store was born from a brick-and-mortar store, then there is at least a handful of products that you make yourself or resell to a customer base that cannot be satisfied on Amazon. This is your internet goldmine.
For instance, a client we had built an eCommerce store for is a local manufacturer of tote bags. Now, anyone can go onto Amazon and find a million tote bags in every color, shape, size, and price. However, this client has found a niche and targets them directly. Hoards of people will buy cheap bags on Amazon with free delivery on Prime. The customers that want a product that is unique, hand-made in New York, has a good origin story, AND supports the ever-evolving green movement will buy from Remember Me Green. Customers will spend the money to get the product they want.
2. Perfect Your Order Fulfillment (Like Amazon)
One huge benefit to ordering on Amazon is that you know (with almost a perfect degree of certainty) that you will receive what you pay for. Additionally, if there is an issue with the product, you will be able to get your money back without much of a headache.
As with all competitive strategies, if you want to beat them, be like them!
One of Amazon’s key advantages is its reputation for reliable and fast order fulfillment. To compete effectively, prioritize your customer service and order fulfillment processes. Ensure:
- Fast order fulfillment
- Accurate order fulfillment
- Cheap (or free) shipping
- Send order/shipping status updates
- Accept returns/exchanges
Recommendations for Your Website Strategies
3. Track ALL of Your Data & Trust It
Possibly the largest advantage that Amazon has on everyone is that they are sitting on a MASSIVE amount of user data. User data is the most valuable tool that internet marketers can use to get you to buy things.
I’m sure you’ve been followed around the internet by product ads that you either have searched or looked at a competitors site for. Or maybe just thought about in passing only for it to show up in your Instagram feed. Amazon and other large retailers have that ability because they track data and use it for advertising strategies. At Logic Web Media, we can help you get tracking of all kinds set up so that we can follow your customers around on the internet in a similar fashion.
Data is a powerful tool in the digital age. Implement comprehensive tracking and analytics on your website to gather insights into user behavior. Understand where your traffic comes from, what devices visitors use, which pages they visit, their actions on your site, and more. Use this data to make informed decisions and optimize your eCommerce site for better conversion rates. If an important page is not converting, it should be redesigned immediately.
4. Show the Reasons People Should Shop with You
There’s many good reasons why people shop on Amazon. There’s likely to be reasons why people should shop with you, too. Highlighting these reasons throughout your eCommerce store is a great way to sway your customers.
Customer Reviews: Make sure you have reviews of your products clearly visible. Additionally, make sure you are collecting new reviews regularly. Sending followup emails after purchases (the way Amazon does) can help generate reviews. Having honest and genuine reviews of your products from customers is the best way to appeal to new cust omers.
Return/Shipping Policies: Having clear shipping and returns policies listed on your product pages is very important in establishing trust. Having them hidden in their own pages will do very little. Customers want some guarantee that they are going to get what they pay for as quick and cheaply as possible, and with assurance that if there is a problem you will address it. I know that some of the information will seem redundant or somewhat basic to pepper through your site, but it helps with reassuring your potential customer that quality service is important to you.
Secure Transactions: You and your web developer know that your transactions are secure. We have set up many payment gateways, and the SSL certificate on eCommerce websites protects users from having their credit card information stolen. Displaying reassuring value statements about customer credit card security and not selling data to a third party is important for sales conversion.
Recommendations for Your Marketing Investments
5. Social Media Marketing Will Save You (I Promise)
I know this is an intense statement to make, but I fully trust it and have seen the evidence. Social media is omnipresent in our society today. Whats more is that it’s absolutely free to use. So, why not use that exposure to your advantage?
Having a successful social media marketing strategy at your disposal can boost your sales exponentially. We recently built an eCommerce store for TechWearUSA. They sold primarily over the phone and in-person at events. Being that their product is unique and high-quality, it was important for them to boost their bottom line by selling online, all over the world.
As stated earlier in this post, building a website does not guarantee sales. They hired us to figure out the best way to market to their customers and increase internet sales. Our plan: Social media marketing; and it is hugely successful. Not only have sales increased, but the company is spending less on marketing than they would have doing things like print ads, ad retargeting, or Google AdWords. This means a higher ROI (return on investment).
Below is their results on both Facebook and Instagram. The charts show the increase in followers and engagement since we started. Due to the hugely successful social media campaigns, they have gotten more sales through their eCommerce store than they have ever gotten from any other marketing source.
6. Offer Discounts & Hold Contests
Having discounts and contests can help grab a quick sale on the internet. Obviously, having great social media presence will make this more effective. However, it will still play a vital role in increasing conversions, even if you don’t have the audience to directly advertise to.
Discounts should be handled intelligently. If you are trying to get the attention of potential customers, offering heavy discounts on high prices is the way to do it. Once the product matures and sells, you can reduce the price and the discount offered. It is important to not hold to a set price on products, but to allow for fluctuation based on how you want to stimulate sales. As a seller of online goods, you need to be able to bend with internet trends and customer needs.
I’m sure you have heard the phrase “you need to spend money to make money.” Giving something away on the internet is a small price to pay to gain a customer and generate interest on your products. In the world of eCommerce, getting people to your website is always the first step. So, giving away a low-ticket item gives you the chance for customers getting to your site and seeing the more profitable goods you have to offer. This is more effective when you have a social media marketing campaign, which (again) offers a huge benefit.
The Recap: Compete Intelligently, And You Will Survive
The unmatched dominance of Amazon can be daunting to eCommerce stores. It is important for your business to plan and strategize the best way to survive in the current internet landscape, because Amazon is here to stay.
We highly suggest to clients:
- Play up your strengths
- Serve your customers well
- Provide a unique and trustworthy experience
- Know your customer, and track them on your website
- Utilize social media for brand awareness and sales generation