Here, we’re going to talk about 5 tried-and-true strategies for small ecommerce sites to hold their own against the bigger and more established online stores.
1. Specialize in a Niche Market
This is the most sensible approach: specialize in a certain type of goods or a certain type of shopper. Rather than trying to make everyone happy, focus all your efforts on pleasing a single target group only.
For one thing, this opens up the possibility to sell items that fall through the cracks of larger ecommerce stores. But more importantly, it helps you build a community with your shoppers. As you’ll see from the other strategies in this list, developing a personal connection with your customer base is your greatest advantage.
Try to choose a niche that you yourself fall into, so you can better empathize with the needs and preferences of your customers.
2. Excellent Email Marketing
Email marketing is a great approach for any business, but it’s especially useful to smaller online stores. With the highest return-on-investment of all digital marketing avenues — for every $1 spent, there’s an average of $38 in returns — email marketing is not only one of the most effective methods for getting your name out there, it’s also one of the most cost efficient.
More than that, email is also direct communication with your reader, as opposed to blog and social media posts. Any opportunity you have to build a personal relationship with your shoppers, take it. Just don’t make any of the 5 common mistakes of email newsletters.
3. Prioritize Customer Service
The drawback of larger companies is that they can’t devote as much time on individual customers. That opens up an opportunity for smaller ecommerce stores.
Make sure your customer service is top notch so that your shoppers feel both heard and appreciated. At a base level, you want friendly staff answering the phones or written messages, but you can always take this a step further with live chat.
Customer service goes beyond communication with representatives. Having a generous returns policy or satisfaction guarantees are also sure-fire ways to build customer loyalty.
4. Tell Your Personal Story
Do you think Jeff Bezos has a page on Amazon where he talks about how and why he founded it? Amazon doesn’t even have an About page.
Again, a fault in big ecommerce companies is an advantage for smaller stores. Tell your personal story on your site’s About page, using a human angle rather than a sales one. If your team is small enough, include pictures of everyone so shoppers can add faces to names.
The more your shoppers see you and your team as people just like them, the more often they’ll choose you over bigger, faceless corporations.
5. Target More Specific Keywords
You can apply the same specialization technique above to SEO as well. Instead of going toe-to-toe with big ecommerce companies on golden keywords, you’ll have better results if you focus more on the ones they ignore or overlook. At the end of the day you’ll get more impressions even if you choose keywords with less traffic.
This works well with Google AdWords, as well as your own content marketing plan: you can target very specific keywords and phrases in individual blog posts on the topic. Even if you target a keyword phrase for an individual product, try writing a blog post on that same product, i.e., a review.Posted in: eCommerce