While you may love Amazon as a consumer, you may feel differently as an eCommerce business owner or online retail startup. That’s because this retailer behemoth seems to dominate as the online retailer of choice. Although it offers “space” for retailers to sell on their site, most companies would prefer to be in control of their online business and create a separate loyal following.
It may at first appear impossible to win against an online retailer that seems to be a one-stop shop, offering an extensive inventory, fast shipping, and personalized recommendations. However, there are strategic approaches that can help you win the retail game against Amazon whether you are offline, online, or on both channels. Here’s how:
Offer On-Demand Services
While Amazon has been able to win at the short delivery game, they still don’t offer same-day delivery. That means you can beat them at this “retail play” by providing on-demand service where your customers can order items through your website, but can pick them up in your physical store within the hour or some other designated time.
To offer this type of service, you will need to ensure your inventory system has a real-time feature to continually update what is available for pick-up in your store from your online catalogue. Also, it’s important to work with a payment provider who can help you link your front and back operations in a seamless way.
Elevate the Customer Experience
Amazon can sell a lot of products and even shares numerous reviews posted by customers, but it doesn’t necessarily elevate the customer experience through other value. It’s the place to go to get your shopping done quickly and efficiently. There is not necessarily any emotional engagement during an Amazon purchase experience.
You can stand out in this area. That means if you are an online retailer, you could add videos and useful content that can help your customers in other ways, such as how to save money or time with various hacks. Also, you can offer other features that make the checkout experience easy, such as the option to check out as a guest rather than spend time creating an account, enabling social login, and confirming your checkout page works well on mobile devices.
Or, if you have a physical location, you can train your employees to elevate the experience and give them iPads, or some type of tablet, so they can interact with customers, provide additional product information, offer substitute suggestions, and make recommendations based on that customer’s purchase history with you. They could even take payments so customers wouldn’t have to stand in a line.
Deliver a Loyalty Program
Although Amazon has its Prime membership that offers perks, it’s a paid program. Having to pay for special benefits is not how customers would typically define a loyalty program. This illustrates another area of opportunity for other retailers, and it is how some brands like Walmart made inroads into Amazon’s market share.
Last holiday season, Walmart’s campaign focused on the idea that you don’t have to be part of a paid membership to get free shipping or other special discounts. And, it worked for them. Surveys done by the likes of companies like Shippo in 2016 confirmed this by showing that consumers noted they will go wherever they can get free shipping.
Create a loyalty program that sets you apart from Amazon’s paid model, including perks like local delivery, in-store shopping services, special discounts, redeemable shopping points, and more.
Don’t sell your brand on Amazon so that you create exclusivity. Despite selling such a vast amount of items and trying to be everything to everyone, Amazon does not cover every niche segment to the depth that it would like.
Set yourself apart from others that may sell similar items to yours on Amazon. Customers will have to come to you if they want the unique product offering and service experience. As part of this exclusivity, give them all of the above plus anything else Amazon doesn’t deliver on.
Bigger Isn’t Always Better
As you can see, big enterprises don’t always make the best enterprises. You can be the David in this battle with the retail Goliath known as Amazon by identifying everything that it can’t be and then offering that to your target audience.