How to Compete Against Amazon in the Retail Market and Win
The world of retail has completely transformed. Online retailers have certainly shaken up the status quo that existed before. There is no other online retailer that has had such a humongous impact on the market as Amazon, the world’s largest online store. According to its own numbers, Amazon sells almost 400 million different products in a plethora of different product categories.
The sheer volume of Amazon’s retail sales is amazing and can certainly be a frightening prospect for competitors. With a competitor like Amazon, many retailers may wonder if it’s even worth it to try to compete at all. However, there are some strategies you can use to survive and even prosper in this market. Below are a few you should consider.
Target a Niche
Perhaps Amazon’s biggest strength is the sheer vastness of the products offered in its online store. If it’s a physical product, there’s a very good chance you will be able to find it in Amazon. As already mentioned, there’s hundreds of millions of choices. However, that strength can also be a drawback from a certain point of view. Even if Amazon sells everything, it can’t be great at selling everything.
This is where another retailer could come into the picture. You could choose a niche and devote your company around selling a certain kind of product. For example, you may want to sell books, models, toys and other merchandise relating to science fiction properties. This is actually a growing market. According to Variety, Star Wars merchandise sales are in the ballpark of $252 billion.
If you try to stake out that niche, you may get rather good at serving that particular community of consumers. Amazon, on the other hand, doesn’t have enough manpower to serve every single niche to that extent. This is where you can gain an advantage.
Build Brand Loyalty
Another way a retailer can compete against Amazon is by building brand loyalty. Building brand loyalty in the age of Amazon is very possible. You may fear that a person could simply choose to order your products from Amazon. While that is possible, if you can convince that consumer that your brand as a retailer has value on its own, you can change that dynamic. Amazon is humongous. However, it still has limited resources and cannot cater to every consumer like smaller companies can.
Try to launch different programs to help build brand loyalty. A customer loyalty program is an excellent idea. Amazon doesn’t currently offer one. Reward loyal customers who provide you with repeat business with freebies. It will be worth it to maintain that constant stream of revenue. Try to add something in-store that can help create that loyalty as well. Something as simple as free coffee and snacks can go a long way towards pleasing people.
Provide Excellent One on One Service
Make sure your customers know you appreciate them. Make the extra effort to engage with them directly. Take their feedback seriously, and always make sure a customer never leaves your store without being completely satisfied. Train your employees to espouse this kind of customer appreciation as well.
Most of Amazon’s customer service is outsourced and distant seeming. Someone in the United States that has an issue with Amazon will probably end up talking to a customer support rep from India or some other foreign nation over the phone or through a chat pop-up. This is one place you can close the gap. As a smaller retailer, you still have the ability to provide in-person customer service.
If done well, this can be a valuable part of the customer experience. They may even tell others through word of mouth online and off. Statistics suggest that one happy customer can lead to nine referrals.
Amazon absolutely dominates ecommerce. There is no way around that fact. However, just because that is the case does not mean it’s impossible for other retailers to thrive in the retail market. If you’re able to cater to a niche, build strong brand loyalty and provide more personal customer service, you can certainly find a lot of success.