So you wanna compete with Amazon huh?
So, the big dog of e-commerce is here. Amazon.com, the world’s largest online retailer, has made an entry into the fast-growing Indian e-commerce market with its Amazon.in. Pretty good news for customers across the country. But for a small online retailer, life has just got tough, especially when you are just starting out. Whatever you may speak, deep in your heart you know that customers might be picking from giant stores in the industry like Amazon and others. They seem more appealing to your customers with their great offers, free shipping, large product selection, lowest prices and more.
So how can small merchants compete with such a giant? There seem only two possible ways.
1. Be the expert
Amazon sell spoons, but the big advantage that we do have is that Amazon has lakhs of other products and they probably don’t spend a lot of time thinking about spoons. Your website on the other hand can be dedicated to spoons and that gives you a big opportunity to do something a little bit different. Ensure that you become an authoritative source to go to for products in your category. You can brand yourself as an expert in your field. Through your website, support and marketing you can build an image of the most authoritative source for a particular product.
2. Don’t compete!
If you can’t compete with Amazon, then don’t. You are not the size of Amazon, so don’t compete with them. If you can’t give the cheapest prices, can’t give quick and free deliveries, how can you make any money? If every small business in the country tried to compete with giants like Amazon, there would be no small business around. But, there are and they continue to thrive. I know that sounds not-so-great but, you would be amazed to know that if you write a very very good product description with photos, videos, manuals, reviews etc., then pricing has very little to do with it. (And that has been proven time and time again) One mistake, that I see people making every day on eBay or on a similar website is that they are not even bothering to write a product description. They list the product specs and throw up a picture and expect it to sell. Product description is very important. While writing the description, you should remember that you just not list features directly from the manufacturers. Features don’t sell, benefits do. Features talk about what a product has or does, but a benefit describes how that product adds value to your life or makes it easier. Your retail store could probably also add some even more niche products that Amazon doesn’t have, although the profitability of such items could turn out to be limited. The more you can differentiate from Amazon, the better off you are. Local retailers need to focus on stocking more locally produced items or uniquely distributed ones so they aren’t competing on price directly.
You should accept that Amazon and other big guys are mammoth players. By accepting and understanding the magnitude of their presence, you’ll be better equipped to leverage your own strengths on the battlefield.