By Marcel Hollerbach, Chief Innovation Officer at Productsup
It goes without saying that Amazon is one of – if not the biggest – names in retail, building a net worth of $1.7 trillion at the end of last year. As an ecommerce company that started from humble beginnings, Amazon has since become a one-stop shop for pretty much everything with fast and convenient delivery that fits around the customer’s schedule, while also offering easy returns and cancellations. Amazon has grown its empire far and wide over the last 20 years, with further plans to launch its own line of department stores and sell its own brand of food products hitting the headlines in recent weeks, so just how can smaller businesses compete with such a global conglomerate?
The modern retail landscape is becoming increasingly complex, with the proliferation of social channels, marketplaces, and product data sources making it tough for smaller retailers to stay on top of everything while remaining relevant and competitive online. This is causing an exponential challenge known as ‘commerce anarchy’. However, size isn’t everything and newer technologies are creating unique opportunities for smaller retailers to compete with the likes of Amazon. Shoppers are regularly opting for retailers that go the extra mile when it comes to delivering unrivalled levels of customer service. But how can online brands go beyond optimisation and overcome the challenge of commerce anarchy to drive more sales, all while competing with the likes of Amazon?
Tips for successfully competing with the Amazons of today
- Leverage Search-Engine-Optimisation (SEO)
Without a successful SEO strategy, it can be challenging for brands to get their products in front of shoppers and build brand awareness. It has become essential to ensure that company websites are updated and optimised for search engines like Google, especially as 89% of customers begin their purchasing journey through search engines. Even when competing directly with Amazon, which will typically be the first option when searching for a product, smaller retailers must ensure their SEO is optimised to remain front and centre for consumers.
To perfect an SEO strategy for ecommerce, brands must begin with keywords or phrases for specific products, topics, or services in search engines. Tools such as Google Ads help identify the right keywords for use in campaigns, plus commonly used phrases that consumers are using to search for competitors. Making the most out of a website is key to getting in front of the right audiences and creating new customer bases.
- Offer additional perks
With Amazon Prime, customers get access to seamless delivery and added perks. Notably, a recent Epilson survey found that convenience was the second most important factor – next to price – for Amazon customers. In addition to this, Amazon is known for its exclusive offers and promotions, which ultimately help it to strengthen its customer-brand relationship. However, other than its Prime membership programme, Amazon doesn’t really offer any kind of loyalty scheme that rewards customers for shopping with the company more frequently. Therefore, to compete with these big conglomerates, smaller retailers should provide tailored offers to loyal customers to solidify loyalty and retain customers beyond their first purchase.
To drive customer loyalty and build brand reputation in the age of commerce anarchy, retailers must move with speed and agility to keep up with growing customer demand. Implementing the right solutions will ensure smaller retailers can evolve every step of the ecommerce journey: from online store management, packaging, labelling, shipping, subscription management, payment processing, merchant of record services, and more.
- Going beyond optimisation
With the number of channels and marketplaces multiplying by the day, smaller retailers often need to go the extra mile to meet the evolving needs of today’s consumers. Whilst feed management tools are effective for managing large product inventories and producing compelling content for customers, retailers need to go beyond simply optimising their feeds to overcome commerce anarchy. A report by Retail Touchpoints found that 36% of consumers wished that retailers did more to enhance the customer experience; meaning online businesses must do everything in their power to nail the product data and build on their user experience from there.
In order to transform omnichannel strategies in a digitally-native world, retailers need to think outside the box and look at new ways to enhance their internal and external operations using cutting-edge technologies to successfully win over customers and drive growth to the organisation. Taking control is the only way to stop optimising and instead make progress.
Taking control of commerce anarchy
Competing with the retail giants of the world may seem daunting, but there are several steps smaller retailers can still take to succeed in the space. While Amazon may excel in a lot of areas and capture a majority of the market share, consumers wouldn’t say Amazon necessarily has a personality or a distinguished brand image. Crucially, this is where SMEs can come in and make their mark to gain a competitive advantage.
Ultimately, commerce anarchy affects all retailers, and ways to tackle it start with the smaller details that all customers take note of. From customer service, reviews and ratings to the product data and logistics behind it all. In taking control of these aspects, retailers can create a unified omnichannel experience and capitalise on the growing shift in customer buying habits.