Almost 50 percent of all online retail sales in the United States happen on Amazon.com. Even big brands, such as Walmart, Macy’s and Costco struggle to compete with this online giant. With free two-day shipping, reviews system, and easy return policy, it makes sense that Amazon is at the helm of online retailers. That being said, a few e-commerce stores have discovered ways to offer things that allow them to compete in the noisy online market.
While the majority of e-commerce businesses cannot (and should not) try to compete with Amazon, they can still be in the game. Millions of people shop online every single day. As a business, all you have to do is stand out from the crowd.
Take a look at these strategies and examples below to learn how companies have discovered the secret sauce for staying a step ahead in the e-commerce world.
Provide Top Notch Customer Service
Most companies like to believe that they provide excellent customer service. Unfortunately, in reality, many do not. Few things are more frustrating than being placed on hold for an extended period, or being treated like an annoyance by a customer service person. That’s something that most of us can agree on.
What constitutes as excellent customer service; however, will depend upon your target demographic. A key element of providing excellent customer service is understanding what your target customers are looking for. For example, you might have a great team of call center workers when most of your customers prefer an online chat experience. While you might think that you are providing a great experience with your call center staff, the truth is, you are not offering what your users want. Do your research and spend time impacting the highest ranked customer service items that your customers desire.
If you are a smaller business and do not have customer service staff on hand, check out apps like LiveChat, Salesforce and Help Scout, all of which can give you a hand with your customer service experience.
Firmoo is an online eyeglass shop that is becoming increasingly well-known due to their excellent customer service. Just take a look at the more than 1,800 TrustPilot reviews that rave about the fantastic customer service provided by the organization. Excellent customer service drives word of mouth sales and can help to grow your business quickly.
Have a Killer Shipping Policy
More than likely, smaller e-commerce businesses cannot offer free two-day shipping a la Amazon. That’s OK. You don’t have to compete with Amazon directly, but you do need to provide something. REI, for example, offers free shipping for all orders over $50. Studies show that 48 percent of customers will actually add items to their carts in order to qualify for free shipping.
Before you decide upon your shipping costs, find a good shipping partner that can help you uncover the best rates for your business. For freight shipments, FreightCenter offers instant online freight rates from top carriers. In addition to freight shipping (oversized shipments or shipments over 70lbs), FreightCenter also offers parcel shipping for packages under 70lbs.
If you ship mixed-size items for your business, FreightCenter offers an excellent one-stop solution for all of your e-commerce shipping needs.
Create Something People can Believe in
People love getting behind something that is in alignment with their core values. Creating a business around a specific idea or cause not only helps the local community but also builds a loyal tribe of followers. When people believe in what your company stands for, they will help spread the word about who you are and what you do. As Scott Cook, co-founder of Intuit says, “A brand is no longer what we tell the consumer it is – it is what consumers tell each other it is.” Create something positive that people will want to talk about.
Detailing Knights, a mobile auto-detailing company based in Toronto, Ontario, doubles down on this concept. First, they embrace an eco-friendly waterless car washing process, which reduces water use by 99 percent compared to traditional mobile washes. Additionally, the company also has a mission to empower young people to succeed as entrepreneurs and business owners. Founder Ryan Knight created Be the Boss Bootcamp to help workers develop necessary skills for owning a business. As a result of helping the community, Knight was able to qualify for a program that allows him to offer a better starting hourly rate for his entry-level employees. Doing good for the community can be a very good business decision.
Create a Custom Experience
E-commerce websites can win by creating a custom experience. Whether it’s allowing site users to customize orders or create a wishlist, or suggesting similar items, people love a personalized experience. Another way to create a custom experience is to create content or advertisements based on your existing customer data.
One Arizona-based company, Spearmint LOVE, used Facebook data to create more targeted ads. As a result, the company has seen 991 percent year-over-year growth. Why? They gathered and interpreted data that helped them provide consumers and potential customers with precisely what they were looking for.
Utilize a Recurring Revenue Model
Developing a recurring revenue business model is convenient for both customers and businesses alike. For small business owners, it helps you to develop a steady stream of income each month. For consumers, it creates a positive and automated shopping experience. Whether you sell a service or a product, building a recurring revenue model can be a great business decision.
Plum Deluxe offers a tea of the month subscription. Users can actually rank each type of tea on the site, and look forward to trying a new flavor each month. One blogger wrote, “Now I look forward to my new tea blend each month, and brewing a cup of tea each morning has become a comforting ritual that sets me up for an amazing day ahead.”
You Can Win Online, Too
It isn’t impossible to compete in an Amazon world. Consider the points that have worked well for the businesses mentioned above, and create a unique experience for users that keep them coming back for more.
As you work to find strategic partners that help you achieve your business goals, make sure your shipping partner is offering the best rates and services that are available. If you utilize freight shipments, regardless of whether it’s once in a while or on a regular basis, Freight Center can help. Contact one of our freight shipping experts today by calling 800.716.7608 to learn more.