Winning the battle for e-commerce
Brent Renneke, Associate Editor
August 7, 2012
Filed under Brent Renneke
For small businesses entering the online world of e-commerce, the competition is extremely stiff. Large online retailers offer both a wider and cheaper selection of products than any local business can keep up with.
However, as reported in this New York Times article, many small businesses are using unique approaches to online customer service, differentiating themselves from the anonymous faces of retailers like Amazon.
Times author Marisa Meltzer spoke with various boutiques whose massive competitors offer return policies and free shipping the small retailers simply cannot afford. Instead, they offer relationships.
For example, one boutique owner sends handwritten notes on library cards and carefully wrapped packaging with each order.
While larger retailers offer massive product selection, one boutique owner leveraged his knowledge of his customer base to offer more directional products that are unique and better appeal to his customers. And when such products arrive, social media is pivotal for smaller retailers to alert their biggest fans.
A recent search for “wakeboard” on Amazon returned more than 5,500 results. You may not be able to beat the prices of such items, but small businesses can compete through those personal touches and the fact you know your customer base better than any one else.
And according to the 2012 Public Affairs Pulse Survey, 68 percent of respondents said they would choose to do business with a smaller, local company, event if it meant slightly higher prices.
Convincing your customers to choose you over mega retailers like Amazon may not be as difficult as you think.