Bigger Is Not Always Better: 5 Ways for Small Stores to Be Successful Online

man making online shopping purchase

You might believe there is no point in developing an ecommerce business selling books, electronics, and other consumer merchandise. After all, Amazon, Alibaba and other ecommerce giants have a monopoly, right?

While the big players do exert considerable power in the ecommerce marketplace, a small seller can still compete.  Here are five ways your small store can be successful online. Implement these immediately to give yourself stronger footing in the online marketplace.

You Can’t Compete With Amazon, But You Can Succeed. Here’s How.

  1. Focus. Think about what you are selling. You can’t sell everything that Amazon sells—at least you shouldn’t try. You won’t be able to afford the PPC budget of Amazon, either. Instead, focus your website on marketing as well as selling. Do something that Amazon does not do—content marketing. Start by focusing on a niche area, develop a website where content is king, and watch your rankings for specialized keywords grow.
  2. Do what works. Ecommerce giants have had great success with subscription services that provide meaningful incentives to make purchases. Free shipping, guaranteed discounts, special members-only sales, automatic shipments of desired products, and other benefits can develop loyalty and repeat shoppers quickly. Once people have a subscription service with you, they are likely to use your store to purchase other items not included in the subscription because they already have a relationship with you.
  3. Be nice. Take customer service very seriously. The bigger sellers cannot compete in this area; they are just too big. Don’t put callers on hold or make them navigate a long automated phone tree. In this age of online reviews, a reputation for good service grows quickly. Another suggestion: Provide post-sales support, something most big online retailers just don’t do.
  4. Be smart. Don’t try to make money on shipping. After all, you are not in the shipping business. Do something innovative that customers will appreciate. This will strengthen customer loyalty.
  5. Be unique. Depending on your business, you may wish to consider selling products that are not available at the big ecommerce stores. This has advantages that include much better branding opportunities and the ability to sell at higher margins.

Get Help Developing Your Online Marketing Strategy

You will need to translate your business decisions to your online marketing website. Consider using a company or consultant that can help you develop a marketing strategy tailored to your business, products and philosophy. One size definitely does not fit all.