Competing against the titans of the e-commerce world isn't easy.
For a long time online retail giants such as Amazon have been forcing small business rivals out of their way with better pricing, better strategies and much more money. However, there are ways that small businesses can take a share of the lucrative e-commerce realm for themselves, and avoid being crushed by the likes of eBay or Amazon. On the Internet, it is possible for just about any small business to compete, as long as it is able to differentiate itself from the rest.
Small businesses can contend on the Internet, it just takes some know how. Keep reading for advice on how to make a name for your small business in the world of online retail:
1. Find a niche
Massive online retailers already have special deals with the general retail items that most people likely picture themselves selling, according to Inc. Sneakers, televisions and posters have all found a home in the distribution centers of e-commerce mainstays such as Amazon. In order to maintain relevance, explore product categories that are underrepresented in online retail. Selling products that aren't shelved in the inventories of your competitors is the best way to distance your business from them and discover a successful niche. Inc. suggested browsing Kickstarter in order to get a feel for the products innovators are pushing.
2. Develop a content marketing strategy
Content marketing is a powerful tool often discussed in the retail industry today, according to Shopify, an e-commerce solutions provider. The startup listed five facets to a good content marketing strategy. First is to consistently post high-quality blogs. This won't directly generate traffic but it will establish your business as an authority. This shouldn't just be about spewing out SEO content, this should be about informing your readers. In addition, don't be afraid to link out to other websites. This isn't damaging, though myths perpetuate the idea. It is also important to remember that you are helping the reader. Linking out may send them away, but consumers will remember the value of your business and your knowledge. If your business is a community bank, then it would be wise to post financial tips on blogs. This way, customers associate your bank with sound monetary advice.
3. Data isn't the responsibility of lone wolves
Don't try to make sense of all the data points associated with your web traffic by yourself, Inc. stated. There are easier ways to do this, specifically software or online services that will break down and organize data for you into useful nuggets of information that you can apply to business strategies. Dashboard tools such as Cyfe pull together data from all sorts of different sources in order to give you a picture of who is visiting your small business website, and why. This will help you make informed strategic decisions in the future.
4. Create engaging product pages
You have the time, and you probably have the relatively smaller inventory, as a small business owner, to create product pages infinitely more engaging than larger online retailers, Shopify explained. For example, don't use a generic manufacturer's description for products. Instead spice descriptions up, and don't be afraid to include a lot of information. In addition, allow users to write what they think about products. Small businesses must rely on their customer base as a marketing tool. Taking advantage of user reviews, or even suggesting to customers that they use your website to discuss products, is a great way to take advantage of free word-of-mouth marketing.