Launching an eCommerce store comes with numerous challenges. You need to use powerful marketing tactics to reach potential customers and earn their trust. Also, you have to constantly understand what they want, and keep up with their changing demands.
But the biggest challenge of running an online store is that the landscape is becoming fiercely competitive. Whether you’re selling automobile accessories or handmade jewelry, you’ll find a ton of other online retailers offering similar products.
Small businesses have a particularly difficult time trying to stay afloat amidst stiff competition from established eCommerce companies, such as Amazon.
It isn’t surprising considering that Amazon accounts for nearly 50% of the eCommerce retail market share in the US. The leading eCommerce marketplace has turned into the go-to online shopping destination for consumers across different demographics.
Is Amazon Worth Competing With?
Even if you’re a small business that focuses on a particular niche and caters to a narrow demographic, you’ll still have to compete with Amazon.
Amazon’s diverse assortment of products, seamless checkout, helpful customer support, and quick delivery timelines have contributed to its astonishing success. From home improvement and renovation to kitchen supplies and nutritional supplements, it’s possible to get just about anything delivered to your doorstep within a day.
But that doesn’t mean small business owners should abandon their hopes of making a mark with eCommerce. Starting an online store can be instrumental in helping you reach new customers and drive more sales. Also, it’ll help you attract customers from popular online channels, such as search engines and social media platforms.
If your brick-and-mortar store has been struggling with declining foot traffic and revenue, starting an eCommerce site is the logical next step.
So, how do you grow your small business eCommerce store when Amazon has already grabbed their attention and trust? The key is to learn from the online retail giant’s growth from a simple bookstore.
In the following sections, we’ll discuss a few useful tips to help small business eCommerce stores survive in a market dominated by Amazon. Let’s get started.
Focus on User Experience (UX)
Amazon’s website and mobile app may not be the finest example of web design. But what works for the platform is that it delivers a frictionless purchase experience.
Consumers can easily browse through different categories to find the product they need. Or they can simply use the search bar. The product descriptions are fairly detailed, and the checkout process is a breeze.
If you’re building an eCommerce site for your small business, work on improving the user experience. Look beyond the visual elements of the website to evaluate its usability and accessibility.
Pay attention to different aspects of UX, including site speed, security, and responsiveness. Enhance your website with advanced search functionalities powered by artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms. It’ll save your customers the hassle of scrolling through multiple category pages.
You can take things up a notch by using modern tech innovations, such as augmented reality (AR) and voice search. AR is already being used by major retailers, such as IKEA and Sephora, to help customers understand how well a product will fit their needs. Similarly, optimizing your website for voice search will make it compatible with smart speakers and virtual assistants.
Establish Industry Authority
Let’s face it – as a small business owner, you don’t have the kind of marketing budget and clout that Amazon does. It’ll take you years, if not decades, to turn into a giant online retail marketplace that could give Amazon a run for their money.
Instead, a smarter move would be to work on becoming a trusted authority figure in your industry.
Think about eCommerce stores, such as Glossier and Beardbrand. Even though there’s no dearth of skin-care products on Amazon, thousands still turn to Glossier when they need to buy a new serum or lotion.
It’s because the brand has carved a reputation for itself as a reliable destination for all things skincare. They’ve used content marketing and social media marketing to build a rapport with their audience and earn their trust.
If you’re launching your small business eCommerce store, outline a robust content strategy that addresses the pain points of your potential customers.
Retain Your Customers
Customer retention is one of the most crucial aspects of growing an eCommerce site. While attracting new visitors will always be important, it’s your existing customers who help build your brand.
An easy way of retaining customers is to offer them discounts or free gifts on repeat purchases. Or you could start a rewards program to let customers accumulate redeemable points after every purchase.
Another clever tactic is to offer a subscription service for products that demand repeat purchases.
The rise of Amazon isn’t a story of overnight success. It’s a lesson in understanding what your customers want and changing your offerings accordingly.
If you want your small business eCommerce store to succeed in today’s competitive landscape, work on creating a flawless user experience. Use suitable strategies to retain your customers and earn their loyalty.
Lastly, leverage content marketing to position your brand as an industry authority.