How Your Small Business Can Compete with the Big Leagues
To say the eCommerce market is saturated is an understatement. Aside from heavyweight champs like Amazon and eBay, there are a plethora of small to medium-sized businesses vying for the chance to dazzle old and new customers alike. When it comes to online sales, it’s a dog eat dog world.
So, with millions of stores to choose from, how can your eCommerce store stand out from the crowd? Well, the recipe for success is relatively straightforward. You need a solid strategy, a lot of hard work, a little bit of patience, and just a dash of luck. Luckily, we can help you with the strategy part. Ready? Read on.
Multiple Sales Channels
Ever heard of not putting all your eggs in one basket? As an eCommerce business owner, that’s one bit of advice you (literally) can’t afford not to follow.
Essentially, there are two main problems with pledging your loyalty to a single sales channel. For one, you’ll be left high and dry if there are any issues with your preferred platform – their website could be down, your account could get suspended, etc. For two, you’ll be missing out on thousands, maybe millions, of potential customers. In fact, your demographic is most likely scattered all over the internet, which is why it’s your job to hunt ‘em down! If you want to kick eCommerce butt, diversifying your sales channels should be your first step.
Effective Product Pages
Here’s the scoop: Confused buyers don’t buy. If your product page leaves prospective customers mystified, you might as well kiss that sale goodbye. Fortunately, this is an easy fix. To create fabulous product pages, you’ll need to stick to the simple and the clean. That means short and sweet titles, crisp photos, and thoughtful descriptions. If you’re feeling stumped, try looking up product pages from successful sellers. You’ll be sure to find inspiration all around!
Ever heard of social proof? The gist of it is that monkey see, monkey do. If prospective buyers see that your products are knocking socks off, they’ll feel much more inclined to make a purchase. Customer reviews not only help your customers make a (hopefully) great choice, they also help your brand build legitimacy and credibility.
Okay, so your checkout doesn’t have to be one-click, but it’s in everyone’s best interest for it to be as easy as possible. We’ve established that confused buyers don’t buy, and the same applies to frustrated buyers. Imagine jumping through hoops to buy a product — no one wants that. You can avoid a lengthy checkout by eliminating unnecessary forms, pop-ups, and questions. Stick to the basics, like billing and contact information, and you’ll be golden.
Fast & Free Shipping
Think about it like this: If customers can get the product you’re selling for cheaper and faster, why wouldn’t they go for that option? Lengthy, costly shipping might’ve been the industry standard ten years ago, but that just won’t cut it nowadays — especially with companies like Amazon popularizing 2-day and next-day shipping.
One of the best ways to score better shipping deals is by partnering with a 3PL. Fulfillment centers are able to negotiate discounted shipping rates due to their high volume, and these savings can then be passed down to their customers.
Clear, Detailed Policies
It’s true that most people aren’t big readers of the fine print, but that doesn’t mean you should skimp out on clearly outlining the nuts and bolts of your operation. This will not only put your customers at ease, it will also protect your business.
In general, here are some policies your store should be equipped with:
- Return and/or exchange policy
- Shipping policy
- Terms of service
Make sure your policies are easy to read and understand. Walls of text are hated pretty much unanimously, but headers and bullet points are always welcome. Trust us — your customers will appreciate a straightforward approach.
Excellent Customer Service
Buying your products is only half the battle. After purchasing, it’s only natural for customers to have questions, which is why this is not the time to leave them in the dust. In fact, being proactive after purchasing will help establish a relationship with your customers that will hopefully last for years to come. Show them that you genuinely care about their experience and you are guaranteed to not only make a great impression, but also stand out among the rest.
In conclusion, yes, your small business does have a chance. As you improve and expand, keep in mind that the goal is not to replace or even be a (direct) competitor to major retailers. Rather, it’s about creating your own space in the eCommerce world that will cater to the right demographic and using available resources to make the most of your experience. If we could leave you with any parting words, it would be these: You’ve got this!
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