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How Small E-commerce Retailers Can Take On Big Competitors

 With giant online retailers like Amazon, Zappos, and even eBay constantly expanding their reach, it can seem like there’s no room for smaller e-commerce sites to grow and thrive. But, having a few really big fish in your pond doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t be profitable… or that you can’t actually outsell them.

While it’s true your business might not have the resources they do, or the established customer base, you’re probably going to enjoy one advantage that the others can’t – you can focus on one market or industry while they have hundreds (or thousands) to stay on top of. In other words, you can dominate your niche without having to worry about competing with everyone else. You don’t have to beat them at everything, just the game you choose.

Leveraging that advantage takes a bit of strategy and an adjustment to your mindset, but it can be done. In fact, there are lots of small e-commerce retailers out there who are competing, and winning, against much bigger competitors every day. Here’s what you can do to follow their example:

Don’t try to outspend another business when you can’t. Simply pushing up bid prices on pay-per-click ads, for example, isn’t likely to work over the long term. All you’ll do is create a bidding war that you’re almost bound to lose. Think about spending better, not bigger.

Consider pricing very carefully. The same goes for lowering prices. If you’re going up against a major chain and trying to underbid them, where do you think that’s going to lead in the long term? There’s a reason these companies can sell products for insane prices during a Black Friday sales push – they have the extra cash to burn if it means winning a customer. 

Find ways to add value for customers. When customers visit your big competitors’ websites, they’re probably going to find low prices mixed with generic product information. One way you can set yourself apart is by giving “value-added” services. These could include customer reviews, videos, product comparisons, and other types of content that buyers won’t find elsewhere. These can be worth more than you might think in a customer’s mind.

Practice viral marketing. For as popular as the biggest businesses might be, buyers don’t usually have much loyalty to them. They’ll take their business elsewhere if they can find a lower price or a better deal. Smaller companies, on the other hand, can use a little more personality in their marketing, developing fervent fans and followers every day. Often, these men and women will “root for” a smaller competitor and keep buying from them even if it costs a little more.

Don’t merely accept it as a given that you can’t compete with the Goliath in your market. You might be surprised at what you can do to draw customers in, and keep them coming back, to your e-commerce site if you just give them a good enough reason.

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