From the surface, things only seem to be getting increasingly difficult for online retailers that are trying to scale on the eCommerce front. They usually feel the pressure coming from successful sites such as Amazon, which leaves them with having to struggle to attract new customers in ways Amazon hasn’t. As sales quarters progress, so does the pressure on margins, and it doesn’t help to have to compete against such a giant. However, with a slight change in perspective and a few transformations in processes, it’s totally doable.
As with many other aspects of life, it’s counterproductive to feel things have reached an apocalyptic point. That is not the case at all. It’s just a matter of how you choose to direct your fears and negative energies into new ways to think outside of the box and make it all work for you. It may appear as though the power in eCommerce is mainly heavily consolidated amongst a small handful of top players, but with a shift in perspective, you will realize that that creates an opportunity for competing retailers. It simply boils down to the fact that due to their size, they just won’t be able to provide the same quality customer experience your brand can, and it is up to you to leverage that to separate yourself from the likes of the big guys.
Does your business have traditional brick-and-mortar stores? If not, that’s cool. If yes- that’s also cool! Due to a few series of layoffs and store closures, there are many news outlets that would report that traditional retail is dying, but that is simply not the case. It’s only changing. Sure, there are many cases in which businesses had to allocate their resources to eCommerce, but there are also ways to blur the line between online and offline, such as by offering users to order online and pickup in store, or even place the order in-store to ship to home. Blurring the line requires a bit of trial and error, as much of this lies on the general behaviors and shopping patterns of your customers.
How’s your website? We’re sure it’s full of great products, but does it cater to the element of instant gratification that users are used to? Is it mobile-friendly? With the advancement of smartphones in the past decade, customers became conditioned to get what they want, when they want it, with minimal effort. In most cases, they research and shop for items of interest using their smartphones. What does this mean for you? You need to make your website fast, then make it even faster.
As an online retailer, it’s your responsibility to make sure that your customers can find what they are looking for in a matter of seconds, without aimlessly searching through multiple pages. In some cases, that may require you to provide them with a digital shopping assistant in the form of a chatbot, or even install a visual search camera alongside your textual search bar. The goal is to enable your customers to quickly purchase the items they desire, so they don’t feel the need to shop from a competitor who might be able to provide speedier service. On that note, make sure that your checkout and fulfillment process is simple and fast. Be clear about the various shipping options, fees, and expected time of delivery, and try to do so earlier on in the checkout process, so your customers don’t feel surprised (in a bad way) later on.
At the end of the day, you need do your best to cater to your customers in a way that Amazon and the other big guys could never achieve. Pay attentions to the needs, wants, and desires of your specific segment, and present them with your unique products while providing them with a world-class personalized experience that is nothing short of delightful.