The recent news that the gap between Amazon and other online businesses is narrowing was met with optimism from retailers across the globe. For some time, it looked like ecommerce giants and big box retailers would push small businesses completely off the map. But that no longer appears to be the case as small online businesses are upping their exposure by taking full advantage of the resources and strategies available to them.
The change, which comes just as Amazon is working hard to move into local delivery, shows that, despite Amazon’s many resources, there’s still plenty of room for other players, both locally and internationally. While Amazon will likely be in the e-tail business well into the future, other ecommerce businesses have the opportunity to close the gap by standing out in these three ways.
One advantage smaller businesses have always had is uniqueness. A local boutique has a charm that a large retailer could never achieve, whether it specializes in one-of-a-kind products or creating a topnotch, personalized shopping experience. Translating this experience to the online environment can be challenging for a small business, but there are things you can do to make your online shop stand out.
The first step toward creating a unique online shopping experience is to identify the very things that make your brand original. When a customer visits your website, your store’s personality should immediately be clear, both in the colors you use and in the design choices you make.
Focus on Personalization
Amazon has grown very sophisticated in its marketing efforts, creating recommendations and emailing specials that are tailored specifically to each customer’s interests. Brick-and-mortar locations may be able to duplicate this approach by getting to know each customer personally, but online retailers don’t necessarily have that advantage.
To remain competitive, it’s more important than ever that brands reach out to customers to form personal connections. Use the latest tools available to capture visitor details and remember preferences the next time that customer visits your site.
Make It Convenient
Even if your online business wants to maintain a smaller feel, it’s important to make the shopping experience as convenient as possible for customers. Make sure customers can get answers to the questions they’ll have while they’re shopping, including your return policy and average shipping times.
When the customer is ready to checkout, you should also make sure you accept every payment type available. This may include options like PayPal and Amazon Payments. Keep an eye on shopping cart abandonment instances in order to determine where your site may be falling short in closing the deal. You may realize that customers are making a hasty exit as soon as they see shipping totals during checkout, for instance. Offering free shipping might be that one secret weapon that makes all the difference.
Whether your online business is competing with retail giants or national brick-and-mortar chains, there are multiple ways you can set yourself apart from the competition. By remaining true to your own brand messaging, your business can continue to connect with customers, no matter what larger retailers are doing.