Beating the giants in online retail with the right strategy and infrastructure

Focus: become the go-to shop for your line of products

Yes, it is an obvious one, but one that is vital for the success of your online efforts.

You can find anything you could possibly want at the big online marketplaces, but in that business model lies a potential opportunity for you. While you can never compete with the scale of Amazon or eBay, you can become the most trusted retailer in a specific product category. For example, if your business is selling blenders, bed sheets and baby items, then tailor your marketing in such a way that you become known as the most trusted name in household goods.

Service is key

Another no-brainer. Make sure your service is impeccable both online and in the high street.

Your online store should be easy to use, with a fast purchasing system and packages that arrive on time. A well-functioning webshop can serve as a way to lure customers to your physical stores, as there is still a large chunk of consumers who want to feel or test an item before they make a purchase. Furthermore, where some people might do some research themselves on an item before buying it, many of your customers still want expert advice why they should pick item A over item B. An anecdote from a colleague comes to mind where he overheard a man telling a salesperson his son needed a cable for his phone, something beginning with the letters ‘US’.

Be sure to note that good service should not be limited to physical shops. Also online, knowledge of customers is key. A great example of this are online clothing stores which not only help their customers buy a sweater, but also suggest a complete personalised outfit including blazer, pants and shoes. Or think of the current trend in online subscription services ranging anywhere from razor blades to underwear to flowers; hassle-free for the consumer and a returning costumer for the retailer.

Omnichannel is crucial

Diving more into the realm of tech: make sure your business is omnichannel ready. Customers demand a seamless experience. They want to search for a bag online, see if it is in stock in their local store to check it out, purchase it via a mobile payment system and then return it using only the digital receipt.

Make sure all your systems are integrated, from the service department to transactions to customer information. Not only does this increase customer satisfaction, it will also provide your company with valuable user data which can be used for marketing or other purposes.

Hey Google, buy me a bucket

The rise of smart speakers is undeniable. In the United States alone already one in five adults owns one.1 Voice assistants will make the purchasing process even faster and simpler as an easy voice command lets consumers order a product within seconds.

In order to be prepared for the future, companies need to start incorporating voice assistants in their online shops. In addition, a major challenge for retailers will be to position their product in such a way that when you tell Google Home to buy a bucket, it is your bucket that is ordered.

You can beat them, but you can also join them

Last but not least, our take on this old saying is also applicable when it comes to crossing swords with the major online marketplaces. Especially when you already are a well-known brand, consumers will specifically search for your line of products on online marketplaces anyway, meaning you don’t always have to compete with all other search results.

Remember that using the marketplaces does of course not mean you shouldn’t have an online store yourself. Co-existence is good option, as selling from both your own store as well as other marketplaces could help you to increase revenue even more.


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