If there is one competitor that every online retailer, eCommerce owner, small business owner with a presence online fears, that is the online retail giant Amazon. From books, to toys, electronics, food, furniture, you name it, Amazon offers pretty much every type of products to customers around the world. Moreover, its services are excellent and so is the cost-effectiveness when purchasing from Amazon.
To give you a better idea of the size of this online giant, let’s just say it is larger than the next 12 biggest online e-retailers put together. Pretty striking isn’t it?
So how does one compete with Amazon, a retailer that gets consumer products at the lowest prices, offers fast and cheap shipping and grants a simple and very straight-forward purchasing experience? Well, many will say that the best way to compete with Amazon is not to compete at all and join the online sellers that use Amazon as their online store.
However, we say it is very much possible to stay competitive in a market where Amazon leads the way. You may not be able to match its low prices for products and shipping but still, a little bit of creativity and business insight goes a long way to win over customers and retaining them in the long run. Let us help you find out your true competitive edge against Amazon!
The great thing about Amazon is that it sells almost everything there is to sell. The bad thing about Amazon is that it sells almost everything there is to sell. Confused?
Amazon is amazing when it comes to website optimisation, PPC, releasing new products all the time. What they don’t do amazingly good is content marketing and content marketing is what drives traffic and consumers to websites these days.
While Amazon will always rank high up in search engines, you may well rank even higher if you concentrate your marketing efforts into creating meaningful, optimised content related to the products you sell. Remember that most users looking for a specific product will click on the first results in search engines. To make sure you rank higher, you need to create optimised product pages.
Fill these pages with carefully thought and unique product descriptions, quality multimedia related to products, and choose your product keywords wisely. The more specific the keywords are and the more likely you will rank higher than Amazon when a user searches for that product!
2. Sell something that Amazon does not sell
Go to Amazon and take a look at the products they sell in your line of business. Sure, they will probably have a wide choice of products at truly great prices, but do they also sell the products that will attract a small number of customers in a specific niche that are actually willing to pay more to get their hands to that specific, hard to find product?
Look for these kind of opportunities. You may have to invest a little bit more to introduce highly specialised, hard to find products on your online shelves but there will always be someone willing to pay more than your investment was worth to get it.
Moreover, a customer that lands on your website in search for a product that is not featured on Amazon may well take a look at the rest of your offer and buy multiple products from you. In this view, you may want to offer discounts on certain items if bought with your top of the line product. You may be surprised how many customers will buy a product just because they get another one with it at a minimal discounted price.
3. Create a unique shopping experience
If you look at Amazon’s website more closely, specifically product pages, you will see that in terms of design and branding these pages are very raw. The shopping experience enabled by Amazon is the most simple one, the page design succumbs to functionality and the whole user browsing experience is alike shelf shopping in a real store – products floating one next to the other and product pages with nothing but essential information and reviews.
Now think of all the things you can implement in your web shop to make the shopping experience more intuitive, informative and fun for your customers. At the end of the day, unique shopping experiences is what will stick in customers’ memories and a customer that remembers a brand in the long term is a customer that will likely come back to shop for some more.
Play with your design to make pages more attractive and highlight products in unique ways. Add product descriptions and information that customers would hardly find elsewhere in just one click. Enrich your website with images and videos showing the product from up close. Make sure your customers get a full online experience in terms of finding out the product’s quality, design, characteristics, and uses.
4. Personalize customer service and make it a one-to-one experience
Another thing that Amazon simply can’t do is deal with customers in a personalised, one-to-one way. Those guys are dealing with too many customers at the same time to be able to make the customer experience personal at any level. But you can do that and you will get rewarded for offering customers the best customer service they ever had.
Be nice to customers that have an issue with your website or a product/service you offer. Solve their problem in a timely manner and turn them into your brand’s fan. There is nothing that a customer appreciates more than having his or her particular issue solved as soon as possible.
Deal with requests and questions in a timely manner and personally. Address the customer by his name and reply to him or her as if they were a friend looking for support or help.
Make sure to follow up on customers that had a problem or complaint and ask for their feedback once you provided them with a solution.
5. Keep your customers up close and personal with your brand
Again, the benefit of staying small and concentrated on a particular niche gives you the opportunity to communicate with customers and social media followers on a more personal and regular basis than Amazon would ever do. Such type of communication creates a closer connection to customers and they will be more inclined to promote your brand and shop on your site if they feel pampered and appreciated in your day to day communication towards your target market.
Always reply to your followers comments on social media by addressing each comment in a personal manner. Engage your social media fans with your brand by asking them to send in reviews and images of the products purchased from your sight put at use. Award their loyalty with giveaways and weekly promo codes. Use social media to ask the community what products would they like to see discounted next, what product would they like you to include on your virtual shelves, what item would they like to win if you were to launch a competition.
Does Amazon do all of the things we mentioned when it comes to connecting with their customers? No, they are too big and too busy to be doing that and that is exactly why you should be doing it instead!