Competing Against Amazon? Here are 5 Things Every eCommerce Company Should Know
For today’s eCommerce sites, you need a plan to compete with Amazon.
Now, it’s true that attempting this may seem daunting to the point of hardly being worth it. After all, Amazon is an international mega-corporation that standardized two-day shipping and offers discounts that closed many independent bookstores and mom and pop shops. They are present in several dozen countries and are even perfecting optimizing delivery with drone service. That could allow them to reach remote areas.
With that said, I’ve seen plenty of businesses, both large and small, rise to the occasion. They have managed to turn a profit in spite of Amazon. In fact, you should run your eCommerce business with every intent to gain a competitive advantage over Amazon.
1. Offer Free Shipping And Reasonable Delivery Perks
Amazon has made free, fast shipping the standard. In fact, this perk is one of their main draws for Prime Membership.
They can swallow the cost of shipping due to the number of products that they sell and a standard set by Jeff Bezos that others have a hard time matching.
If possible, do what you can to swallow or incorporate the cost of shipping. For example, compare rates from different services such as USPS, UPS, and FedEx.
Another option to avoid this is to offer digital products, like instructional videos or online software. You then only have to worry about invoices, credit cards, or payment invoice systems. Several eCommerce businesses have thrived with such a venture, like Optimum7.
2. Take Advantage Of Landlocked Regions
While Amazon seems to be everywhere, not all countries or regions have reasonable versions of it. America and Canada are relatively unique in receiving the discounts and perks that come with free shipping and bulk orders.
If you own franchises in other regions, even on a city level, you can find deficiencies and beat Amazon. Or you can look for opportunities within national and international shipping to get a better deal on selling your products or services.
3. Optimize Your Customer Service
Chatbots work well for certain customer needs, but most customers still value being able to to speak to a real person.
With Amazon, it’s almost impossible to get through to a real person—and that, again, presents an opportunity for other brands to compete.
Amazon isn’t the only website that has suffered from offering poor customer service; so has Volusion, an eCommerce store platform. Their reputation suffered greatly because they refused to provide customer support to concerned store owners, answer any questions, or honor their promises. Eventually, the online stores would migrate, and Volusion’s reputation was left in tatters. They could have avoided this situation if they had just listened to their customers.
How did Volusion fix this? They revamped their platform to increase the user-friendly qualities. Newer items include multiple Contact and Customer service pages, including a live Chatbot. It’s very easy to reach their agents for help to fix any errors regarding digital storefronts. They reduced the learning curve for beginner store owners while customizing features for more experienced ones.
4. Find Your Niche
Amazon’s great strength is that it is a giant retailer of various items. They can sell plumbing parts, makeup, and even customized clothing. There’s no way to compete with their economies of scale, because they can invest in general products and outsell any small retailer.
But Amazon’s strength is also its weakness. You can get a wallet, but you can’t, say, get a high-quality vegan wallet that is cruelty-free and environmentally friendly. A store that sells specialized vegan wallets made with minimal petroleum can capitalize on its branding. Other products that are specialized can also fill various niches.
It’s possible to rank for these niche terms on Google by implementing a good content strategy and e-Commerce SEO. Ranking organically for your niche eCommerce product terms usually bring the most ROI.
5. Maintain A Clean Reputation
Let’s be blunt: One of Amazon’s major deficiencies is that its ethical reputation is problematic, at best. People still buy from Amazon because of the convenience, and in some cases, because there simply is no alternative to get the products that they want. You can gain a competitive advantage by providing not only that alternative, but also a clean reputation.
With B2B, you want to gain your client’s loyalty and never give them a reason to change vendors even if your online presence takes a reputation hit.
Beat A Retail Giant With These Important Steps
Creating a business model to rival Amazon is highly possible, especially in the B2B field. Many eCommerce companies can and have done it. We at Zen Media certainly have for our clients. With the right strategy, economies of scale, and focus, you don’t have to be dependent strictly on Amazon.