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If you’ve been asking yourself how to compete with stores like Amazon, then this is the post for you. In a market where personal service is ‘in,’ and with customers opting for the latter more often than not, small businesses have a natural upper hand over the big dogs.
To keep the upper hand and gain momentum in your niche over bigger eCommerce competitors here are our top 8 tips on how you can run with the big eCommerce dogs.
1. Be Available
The more available you are to current and potential customers, the quicker you can answer questions that could be standing in the way of a possible sale. It also makes you more transparent and therefore more trustworthy, which is impressive when competing with bigger, more established brands.
One of the best ways to do this is by implementing live chat onto your online store. It’s cost-effective, highly convenient for customers and makes you available. For Shopify, apps like Zendesk, or for WordPress, apps like WP Live Chat Support can get you available in no time.
2. Focus On Customer Service
As we mentioned in the intro, customer service is one place that small businesses can exceed over even the biggest brands. By providing top-notch, personal service with human interaction, you can go a long way over brands that are too big and corporate to do the same. Customer service not only amps sales, but helps build lifetime loyal customers.
3. Have That Personal Touch
From your About Page story to the way you interact with customers through your CRM tools and social media, keeping it personal will help you establish a connection with your customers and make you more relatable. Customers respond well to personal service and real-life stories. You can make sure your online store has a personal touch by:
- Showing the behind-the-scenes of how your products are made
- Sharing real stories of customers and in-house employees
- Showing off your human side and keep it fun
- Speaking from your heart when telling your story
4. Offer a Loyalty Program
Boosting customer loyalty is vital for the longevity of your online business. It is also a great way to rev up your sales and stand tall against big names like Amazon or Zappos. Loyalty programs can be everything from offering VIP discounts and deals to rewards for social likes. Here are some types you could use:
The Point System
Reward customers with points based on their purchases – points that accumulate over time and can be used towards a store credit or a free gift.
The Value-Based System
Offer to reward a charity or social responsibility cause based on sales.
The Tier System
Divide customers into groups based on the amount they spend and then offer ‘perks’ as they go up in tier.
The Paid System
Customers can pay a monthly subscription to be part of your VIP group and therefore get access to exclusive discounts and deals.
2017 Top Shopify Apps like Coupon Pop will help you collect user details to help grow your loyalty program lists.
5. Know Your Customers
Another advantage smaller businesses have is that a smaller customer base and product list means it is easier to really get to know your customers. You can see exactly what customers are engaging with and which products are selling in real time, and tailor very specific marketing and products to meet their needs quickly and efficiently.
6. Be Social
Social media allows small business the same exposure as big brands, and you don’t need a huge budget to compete. By being active and staying connected on Facebook and crushing it on Instagram you can get your name out there and push the personal advantage of your smaller business. Some tips to help you get ahead of the social game include:
- Leverage influencers
- Leverage content
- Leverage Facebook Ads
7. Establish Credibility
The biggest issue small businesses and online stores that want to run with the big dogs have, is establishing trust. Building a trustworthy eCommerce site can go a long way to establishing credibility. Here’s a checklist you can use to check your credibility:
- Am I using trust badges?
- Am I displaying all my contact details?
- Am I displaying customer reviews or UGC?
- Do I offer a money-back guarantee and good return policy?
8. Rev Up Your Content Marketing
We’ve been talking about content marketing a lot lately. This is because content marketing is an eCommerce must. It is a great place to stake your claim as the main authority in your niche and to differentiate your eCommerce business from those big brands. Plus, it has the bonus of bringing in juicy traffic. By including a blog section on your store, full of helpful, relevant guides, how-to’s and posts, you will drive traffic, give your store credibility AND make your online store the go-to within your niche.
To create the perfect content marketing campaign you should:
- Cator for each step of your customer journey
- Identify the pain points of potential customers and solve them
- Use relevant keywords
- Have a good distribution plan for driving traffic
Are you winning in your niche and running with the big eCommerce dogs? Have some questions about upping your game? We would love to hear from you in the comments below.
This article originally appeared in The StoreYa Blog.