Amazon is an e-commerce behemoth. The company is a valuable partner to many organizations, while also one of the fiercest competitors to many businesses due to its outright domination across many industries.
According to Statista, Amazon’s online retail sales amounted to $67.9 billion, more than the next 9 largest e-retailers combined. Depending on your industry, it can be overwhelming to build your business and effectively compete with Amazon.
Turning your e-commerce store visitors into customers is difficult enough, let alone competing with the assortment of products offered by Amazon at affordable pricing with a variety of delivery options.
However, there is definitely hope to tap into and build a successful business that you’re proud of and in the industry you’re passionate about. It just takes a strong, strategic approach to your company’s ongoing growth to ensure it succeeds for the future against Amazon.
Follow these steps to help differentiate your company from Amazon product assortment in your industry.
Choose or produce items that aren’t sold on Amazon.
Amazon owns 1/10 of the North American e-commerce pie and sold 426 items per second during Christmas 2013, which means the company sells thousands upon thousands of items across every category.
One of the best ways to stand out against the e-commerce giant is offering products that aren’t sold on Amazon. The biggest advantage Amazon offers its customers is the variety of products across categories at low prices often undercutting other businesses that can’t afford to offer the low prices on many different products.
To get around this Amazon advantage, sell original products that your organization either develops itself or source products that aren’t currently sold by the e-commerce giant.
When sourcing products from other organizations, simply search Amazon’s website to ensure the products aren’t already sold by the e-retailer. This way when a customer buys a product from your website, they can’t get it at a cheaper price from Amazon and that gives your company an outright advantage.
Out-design Amazon with a beautiful website and product presentation
Since Amazon is such a large organization with an extensive website, it’s limited in how quickly and extensively it can update its site to be both user-friendly and aesthetically pleasing.
An organization smaller than Amazon, which many are, has the opportunity to outperform the company when it comes to incorporating captivating design throughout their e-commerce store.
With a smaller organization, it’s easier to make changes to your website more quickly and therefore, provide a better experience for your customer base on an ongoing basis.
Whether your business is upgrading your website to responsive design or changing header images across your product categories, focus on how visuals can truly help your business stand out from competitors by providing your own unique voice to an industry catered to a specific audience.
The structure and the visuals on your website should help your business tell its story and provide a simple and valuable experience for your customers whenever they visit.
Scale your pricing to at least match or outperform
If you can’t avoid selling items that Amazon also sells, then try to out price Amazon on certain products by offering some of the items you’re selling for a more affordable price.
This is often easier said than done, but when possible help customers make the decision to shop with your company over Amazon and others.
Be careful not to price your products too low or you’ll risk devaluing them completely. At a bare minimum, match Amazon’s pricing to ensure there isn’t more value in purchasing an item from them over your business. When matching Amazon’s pricing, outperform their offerings by giving your customer’s more for the same price.
This might entail providing a free sample of another product with a purchase or providing a promo code for a percentage off on a future purchase with an item. Basically, whatever it takes to provide the same or a lower price to your customers while also delivering more value is another way to help your organization gain more exposure and increase sales.
Customer service: deals on shipping, returns and more
Another way to outmatch Amazon is by providing a more enjoyable customer service experience that goes above and beyond what a customer is expecting from your business.
Again, the disadvantage of a large organization like Amazon is its ability to provide the same quality of service as the company grows larger every year. Your organization can spend more time with each customer to provide a delightful experience every time they interact with your business.
When an experience is customized to better suit your customer, they are more likely to enjoy their interaction and shop with your company again in the future. Since repeat customers are important for your business, it’s critical that both bad and good experiences between your customers and your business end on a positive note.
If there’s an issue with a customer, which is bound to happen with any business, ensure that this experience is as painless as possible. It should be simple for a customer to report an issue with your company and a fast turnaround by your team to answer and resolve the issue.
Negative customer experiences can be successfully turned into a positive experience that strengthens the reputation of your business all at the same time.
Use your organization’s size as compared to Amazon’s as your opportunity to treat all of your customers kindly, fairly, and in a timely manner. The opportunity to create an accurate customer profile for each segment of your customer base is a powerful way of forming a stronger connection with them and growing your business for the long run.
What’s your approach to competing with Amazon’s domination of e-commerce? Do you think it’s better to partner with Amazon or compete with the organization to better your company’s goals? Sounds off in the comments below.
This post is part of our contributor series. The views expressed are the author's own and not necessarily shared by TNW.