Taxing thoughts: Bright ideas to help your small business stand out against major online retailers
Now that companies like Amazon offer such a wide range of products and services, competition from these retail giants is an issue that more small business owners are facing. What this means is that any small business plan needs to include strategies for competing with these major companies. If you’re just starting out, or even if your business isn’t brand new, now is the time to work these tips into your business model before doing anything else.
Connect with Customers Online
One reason this is so crucial is because your website is the first introduction most potential customers will get to your business. Even local customers are probably going to look you up online before stopping by. Along with a top-notch design, make sure you include all the basics that any business website needs, including contact information, a map if you have a physical location, and photos of your storefront and/or employees.
Besides having the basics, being intentional about how you do business online is another key strategy for competing with larger retailers. You can give customers a reason to choose your business by offering a slice of what the big brands provide — except with a laser focus. For example, large online retailers sell such a wide range of products that many customers have come to expect variety. You can meet this demand and boost sales by giving customers a little more variety and add-on options within your particular market.
Fill in the Gaps
Adding a little variety while sticking to your unique niche is just one way that small businesses can position themselves as even better than big retailers. There are some things the big names just don’t do well, and small retailers are perfectly situated to fill in those gaps. One way to do this is by providing expert knowledge of your industry, both online and for local customers in person. Medium.com uses this example, which involves sporting goods knowledge. While Amazon may sell a variety of sports equipment, only an expert in that industry can make the right recommendation for each customer based on their needs.
Another strategy that small businesses can do well is to provide consistency. When it comes to consistently meeting your goals, Fast Company recommends focusing the bulk of your energy on doing what’s most important, rather than what seems most urgent. Another way of looking at this is that you’re focused on activities that fit the bigger picture of what you want to achieve.
When it comes to delivering consistency to customers, the best thing you can do is get to know your target demographic. Ask for feedback, and listen to your customer base. When you know what your customers want, how they shop, and what they deem important, you can meet their demands more consistently than a big box store could.
Forge Local Connections
Even if your business is online-only, small businesses have local resources they can tap into that aren’t available to big competitors. Resources like the Small Business Administration and your local chapter of the US Chamber of Commerce can be invaluable. And while major online retailers may not be your friend, it often helps to forge connections with other local businesses. You’re all in the same boat when it comes to setting yourselves apart from the bigger names.
The online marketplace is always changing, and these are just a few examples of how small businesses can adapt to meet their customers’ needs. In the early days of online retail, big businesses only made up a fraction of the market share. Even though they’re much more prevalent now, small businesses can stay competitive by continuing to adapt.
& Associates, PC
Certified Public Accountants
111 Henderson • Rusk • 75785
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