6 Ways Smaller Companies Can Keep up With Ecommerce Giants
Starting your own online business venture can seem like a daunting task when you start to consider the ecommerce giants who dominate the stage. Despite what you may think, it is completely possible to compete with the big players in the ecommerce world (and win!) by holding onto these six strategies. So how can you keep up with the big players in ecommerce and become successful on your own two feet?
Good quality content is one of the easiest ways to compete with the big players in the ecommerce industry. You need to come up with engaging and exciting content that people will want to read to set yourself apart from every other company out there. Big companies tend to be generic – you can be real and specific.
- Product Pages that Pop– Create and write compelling product pages for your customers that offer value. Try to offer as much information as you can on there to help customers make the right decision. Include lots of detailed descriptions, good quality photos, reviews, and trust signals, so that customers spend more time on your site
- Blogging & Influencers – If you haven’t already done so, consider starting a blog for your ecommerce site – it will be the number one place for you to engage with your community. Use it as a content asset to help you gain valuable PR from bloggers and local influencers. You don’t have to have a huge store to have great content
- Videos – Use fun product videos to make your content stand out from the crowd. Find out how to use SEO for video content in order to optimize your website for video search and compete with the big players. Share your videos on your company social media channel to increase engagement and brand awareness. If your videos are good, places like YouTube can become a huge source of referral traffic and PR
Exceptional Customer Service
One major thing smaller ecommerce companies have to their advantage is the ability to provide an excellent level of customer service to each and every customer.
- Questions – Make sure that you respond to queries and questions efficiently and try to be as helpful and human as possible so that customers feel valued
- Go Above and Beyond – Be willing to go the extra mile for your customers and you will bag yourself some loyal customers in the process. Make sure to assist them in any way that you can, for example pointing them to a store that sells a particular item even if you don’t stock it. Go the extra mile to show customers you care – here are 43 awesome customer appreciation ideas
- Contact – Make yourself available to speak to customers whenever you can – give them an email, contact number and all of your social media profiles so that customers can easily contact you. Use onsite chatbots to keep yourself covered 24/7. Be as personal and human in your customer contact as much as you can
There’s a reason why certain companies do so well, while others don’t, and it often boils down to user-experience. UX is so important to sales that big companies regularly invest big bucks into making their websites more user-friendly. But UX isn’t all about big fancy job titles or expensive focus groups – it’s also about having the humility to simply listen to your users.
The three key things to focus on are your customers’ goals, how you can help them, and the vital checkout process where the final sale is made.
- End Goals – The key is to help your customers reach their end goal as easily and quickly as possible. If you do this right then you’re on track to competing with the big boys of ecommerce. Recognize the different journeys that buyer personas may have when they interact with your store, and try to cater to them all through segmentation
- Help Features – Use help features on your website to assist customers while they shop. Be careful not to go overboard; if they become intrusive, they will actually put customers off. Let your personality shine through, even when helping. Being playful and humorous stops your site from becoming bland and generic
- Check Out – Have a simple check out system. Try not to make customers fill in loads of details that slow them down. Nowadays it’s all about fast and automated payments (something the big players do well). Integrate with popular payment platforms to decrease any customer friction
Branding will be a big differentiator between you and all the other ecommerce hopefuls. Make sure yours stands out with a compelling message and a clear value proposition.
- Brainstorming – Good brands come from lots of deep thinking and analysis. Brainstorm at length to truly define how and why you stand out. Focus on telling a story with your brand, both through your copy and visuals
- Audience – You have to get audience feedback on your branding – everything from your logo to packaging is open to scrutiny. Conduct anonymous surveys and small focus groups to get some ideas back from your existing audience. Listen to what they have to say – the wrong brand will stop you from growing
- Need to Get Market-Fit Fast? – Branding a small ecommerce store has been made a lot easier by the rise of ecommerce platforms who offer simple, streamlined stores that you simply go in and customize yourself. By adding in your copy, products and logo you can quickly claim the space as yours. Use an online store free trial to help you decide what designs and frames work best for you – test a few different themes out before you settle on your favorite as themes can look quite different once you start editing them
High Quality Products
One way to set yourself apart from the ecommerce giants is by selling high quality products to your customers. Many bigger ecommerce stores focus on selling cheap, low-quality items that are mass produced, whereas you can go as bespoke and artisan as you like.
- Quality – This can mean that you use unique quality materials, sell sustainable and eco-friendly products, offer bespoke items – or anything else that sets you apart from mass produced items
- Stock Niche Products – Focusing on selling mass market products puts you directly up against the competition and means you could lose sales. Instead, opt for something a bit more unique to you and your brand. Label your products as ‘exclusive’ to add value to your products and your store
Competing with some of the biggest online stores can be difficult. They already have the money, the high street visibility, and the big customer base…. So why don’t you give the impression that you are bit bigger than you actually are too?
- Advertising – Social media advertising is an affordable way to build up a large online presence fast
- Social media – By posting regularly and engaging with people you can build up a big social following in no time
- Social proof – Make your store seem busy and filled with customers by getting loads of reviews and encouraging people to share purchases on social media
Soon your company will appear much bigger than it actually is online!
Taking on the big players in ecommerce can seem like an impossible task, but with an innovative marketing strategy and some hard work, it’s far more possible than you think. The key is to uncover the things that big companies are missing, and try to bridge this gap. Make sure to experiment and gather data to see what works well, and what doesn’t. It may seem like bigger companies have an advantage, but really it’s the other way around. Smaller ecommerce companies can offer customers so much more, with good customer service, a delightful customer experience, and quality products. There is absolutely no reason why you cannot be as big and successful as them one day.
Do you have any other techniques to help you compete against bigger companies? Let me know in the comments below.