How independent ecommerce businesses can compete with Amazon

In Forbes, Jia Wertz writs on the difficulties of competing with Amazon as a local merchant or an independent ecommerce brand, and what they can do to compete.

So how can local merchants and e-commerce businesses stay competitive in this Amazon-dominated market?

  • Offer Exclusives – “Exclusivity goes a long way. Offering certain items that are only sold on your company’s website is a great way to drive traffic and gain loyal customers, even if you sell other products on Amazon”, says Lauren Tanaka, Co-founder of The Sales Concept. Tanaka encourages companies she works with to elevate the customer experience by offering free shipping for purchases and returns, personalizing packaging and including a thank you note. These personal touches are the types of things consumers can’t get when shopping on Amazon.
  • Branding Is Key – In the Amazon economy, the lowest priced product that meets basic needs is usually purchased. So to compete, your company needs to be more than basic; it needs to be a brand. Alissa Lentz, Founder of Hero, a brand with a social mission, says “Brands are more than the products they sell. For example, at Hero, since every purchase gives back, we’re giving our customers a chance to be a hero, to join a tribe of game-changers who all stand up for equality.”
  • Offline Experiences – Set your company apart by offering in-person services or events in your local market. There is no replacement for human connection and the more your company can build a loyal customer following through in-person events, the more likely customers are to remember you and revisit your website or attend future events.
  • If You Can’t Beat Them, Join Them – Amazon has 183 million monthly users and is the world’s third largest retailer, so if your company is looking for a growth strategy, it may just be in your best interest to put your products on amazon and capitalize from their traffic. Paying the Amazon seller fees could be a very small price to pay for new customers learning about your business and an increase in sales.

This is a start and includes a handful of examples .There are many more opportunities, including offering real personalized service, product curation, and others. Also, don’t discount the last point. Amazon may be a great way to showcase some products in order to get in front of an audience, while much of the line may be restricted from Amazon.

from the post Do Local Merchants Stand A Chance In E-Commerce Wars With Amazon? at Forbes

Andrew @ EcomLoop
EcomLoop founder. I've worked in ecommerce since 2005, beginning with my own ebay store. I've run multiple independent ecommerce businesses on Magento, Joomla, and more recently, Shopify and WooCommerce. I believe marketplaces should be looked at as a sales channel and that all independent businesses should strive to build a direct connection with their audience for long-term success.

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