It is no secret that Amazon is poised to become the second largest retailer in the US. If you are an online merchant you are probably wondering how you complete against a giant! Amazon is huge and will only get bigger.
To successfully win online, consider employing one or both of the following strategies:
1.) Be the Brand. While Amazon sells “everything” customers often like to purchase from a brand. If you are not a manufacturer, your store can still be a brand. A professional website that articulates your brand identity and its promise to your customers will make them feel comfortable shopping from you. Sure, as a customer I may be able to purchase your products in many channels, but there is something that make me feel comfortable about buying the product directly from you. Sessions and Magnolia Bakery are two excellent examples of this concept.
2.) Be the curator. To reiterate, Amazon sells “everything”. This can make it difficult for a customer to find the right products since they are overwhelmed with options and there is not much guidance for them. Be the store that is an “expert” in your field. If I know that you only sell quality products and you will provide direction to the right product for my requirements, I am going to shop with you. For example, I may need some camping and outdoors gear but simply get lost at Amazon. A merchant like GSS Gear is much more likely to provide the shopping experience I am looking for. Amazon is simply too big.
You see examples of these dynamics all the time in the “physical” world. From a brand perspective, Apple famously opened their own retail stores since their products were getting “lost” in chain stores like Best Buy. From the curator perspective, think about the difference of shopping at a local hardware store when you need guidance vs going to Home Depot. Apply these principals to your online business and you too can thrive.