Amazon Prime and Google Express — How Can Small Businesses Compete With Big Retailers’ Subscription Services?

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With Amazon Prime already in place and Google’s recent announcement of its same-day delivery service, Google Express, it may seem like an uphill battle for small ecommerce businesses to compete with big box retailers and their shiny new subscription services.

Google is making a clear attempt to combat Amazon Prime with free same-day or overnight delivery, and it may be just what Google needs to put the pressure on Amazon. While Google and Amazon continue to battle it out, there are many ways that small businesses can jump in and compete with big box retailers and their subscription services.

Here are three simple ways that small businesses can keep up:

  1. Free Shipping (within limits)

Free shipping on all orders is obviously not an easy or simple fix for most small businesses, and it’s often not a viable option. However, applying free shipping to specific items, or to specific locations, and/or making sure that there is a minimum threshold is a much more realistic tactic for smaller online retailers.

Also, make free shipping easier (and cheaper) on your end by shipping with the right service. If you’re shipping packages between 5 and 10 pounds, you can save a whole lot by shipping via U.S. Postal Service Priority Mail as opposed to FedEx or UPS.

  1. Member Programs

Just because your small ecommerce business isn’t as big as Amazon or Google, it doesn’t mean you can’t offer a fee-based member program too. Charging customers an annual or monthly fee in exchange for free shipping is a good option for targeting those frequent customers.

  1. Loyalty Programs

Along the same lines of a member program is a loyalty program. Think of it as frequent flyer miles or a stamp card for your business. Providing extra incentives to encourage repeat purchases (free shipping for loyal customers or free shipping on the next purchase) can be a great way to achieve long-term gains (and long-term customers).

There are countless ways for smaller online retailers to work the same magic and reap the same benefits as bigger ecommerce retailers; you just need to do your homework. The right offerings often make all the difference.

For more news and tips, check out our FedEx vs. UPS vs. USPS shipping rates comparison page.

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