How can a small e-commerce website survive against a large e-commerce website that sells the same kind of products?

I have an e-commerce site for selling kitchenware products. How can I compete with e-commerce sites that offer a broader range of products, discounts and often lower prices?

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19

If you sell based on price, and beat them, then the next guy who comes along with better price will knock you out. Sell based on service, e.g., fast next day deliveries, customer service or based on unique products that not everybody has. Today Amazon has surpassed Walmart in market cap. Why? They offer the fastest delivery of anybody in that space - next day or two days (Prime customers).

But my favorite is wag.com who sells pet products and competes against the big guys like Pet Smart, Petco, PetValu and other chains. I ALWAYS get next day delivery no matter when I order. And they also tie into dubli.com, which means I get 12 1/2% cash back when I shop there. Check out those types of accounts as they also drive business to you. Dubli has retail partners globally,
http://dubli.com/1847818

11

If your eCommerce site has something unique feature which can excite users easily then it can surely able to grab user’s attention and traffic. All you need to do is to make a perfect plan from starting. It includes analyzing completely your competitors which includes all activities they are doing. After making a detailed research on this, the next step is to make a unique strategy which includes a fresh and unique idea to promote your online store. Define your target audience, work on finding relevant search terms which users are using to find the related services on search results.

http://www.fatbit.com/fab/optimize-stores-checkout-process-boost-online-sales-conversions/

I appreciate your quick response. I am also looking for few innovative ideas to attract more customers.

8

E-commerce survive because of buyers databases. The more people there, the more sales transactions occur. Points that given by others are great, assume we adopt all these points, Ceteris paribus, your concern is the databases.

Finally, another thing I would like you to takeaway is not to restrict yourself on e-commerce platform ...seek adverting for all kind of media and channels to increase the response of any promotion.

7

I'm not a marketing guru, this is just my view as a potential customer...Ultimately I need a reason to buy from you. If you can't compete on price and range, then maybe its about changing what you offer. You talk about 'selling kitchenware' but it sounds like you need to grab the consumer who is not thinking about a commodity purchase, and more about the level of service you offer, creating a personal relationship or an experience to differentiate yourselves. "Foodies" are big business...I mean there's even a whole TV channel for us!

If you stop thinking about 'selling kitchenware' and start thinking about how you add value to people e.g. 'we help you cook and eat great food' (or something like that) what would you then be offering your customers that would differentiate you? recipes? product recommendations? how to articles? links to food magazines and food experiences? Do you know more about me as a customer so you offer tailored suggestions of products and recipes I can use? Some people suggested unique products which may work if they are popular enough, or demonstrating your experience with the 'how to' videos...There are potentially ways of monetizing all those things that can generate revenue, but more importantly build your company as more than the objects you sell.

In a nutshell, if you can't compete on commodity items in price and range then don't, and work to make your business about something much more emotionally compelling. Then I have a connection to your business, and a reason to buy your business.

Just my two cents! Good luck..
Jess

Hi Jessica,

I really liked your piece of advice so so thought of sharing my thought with you if can help me out with something.

Me and my mom are into doing exhibitions at various hotels we offers various products to the clients like elite ladies clutches/handbags, designer candles, homade chocolates/hampers, home decor items like crystal lamps candle holders ad lot more in home decor.

I am planning to make an ecommerce website for the same to increase the sales and people who buy from our exhibition can make another purchase online easily. I cannot spend lot of money in advertisements and user database or to draw people to our website.

Is there anything you can help me with as to what all I can include i my website to attract people, any non paid advetisements that i can do, or anthing at all.

Hi Divya,

I am not a marketing expert, so it's definitely worth talking to someone who can help you figure out your marketing strategy.

What I would say, is get very clear, and as specific as possible on who your target audience is. What do they want, where do they shop, what is important to them. The more that you know about them, the more that you can tailor your website and any marketing you do to attract them; from look and feel, to where your website is advertised. You may have more than one type of customer, but the more that you break that down, and think about them and who they are, the better chance you have of designing a site that attracts them. And unless you are representative of your target audience, its worth getting a few people in your target audience to look at your website and give you feedback as you build it.

Hope that helps at least a little! Sounds like an exciting time for your business overall and I wish you the best of luck!

Jess

6

You're focusing on all your weak areas. Rather identify the weaker areas of the large ecommerce website and make those as your strong ones. Beat them with better awareness on social media and as Chris suggested, make demo videos.

Give some irresistible or at least curious reasons to prospects to be interested in your products.

You can easily compete. If someone is large, it doesn't mean some other can't be larger. You can win with a NICHE & more focused product range over them. Easier for people in decision making.

You're focusing on all your weak areas. Rather identify the weaker areas of the large ecommerce website and make those as your strong ones.

Good advice!

Thanks Andrew :) Be in touch

6

I would focus on marketing to customers within a 2 day shipping area from your location. This will allow you to offer discounted or free shipping on occasion with a code. And encourage them to invite friends that they have to visit your site, As your following rises you will be able to offer more ways to discount an order - 10% off for orders over $XX or more.

Also try to find a unique product category that no one else has or you have a special relationship with the manufacturer. You can use this as a way to find more customers. The bigger guys will get their piece and you will get yours. As you grow, you can add more special areas.

6

Dinesh, we are in the same boat. I had the same dilemma or challenge - as you may call it. The key lies in the perspective. My strategy is focused on doing business/trade and making money. So long as I am able to meet my revenue targets, I am not much bothered by the bigger players. Yes, if their presence affects my sales targets then I will have things to worry about. Take note that it is not always the price or discount of the goods, but how you sell and what quality assurance you offer which matters in most cases. Your returning customers are your biggest assets. Know them, treat them well and they will lead you to more customers. Feel free to reach out if you need any assistance.

6

You have two major advantages as a smaller re-seller.

1) Agility
2) Ability to focus

Agility:
Move quick, be agile! Make changes and turns that the bigger guys can't possibly keep up with. Create more content around the kitchenware products than the big guy can. Flood the internet with it. Become the go to expert for that product. An example of this is seen in gift sites such as thinkgeek.com they make a lot of content around cool things that others are much bigger resellers for, yet they make a name for themselves in the industry.

Focus:
Niche hard, niche fast, niche well. being smaller means not having to worry about politics as much, and you have much less red tape to deal with. That means you can focus fire on a specific product that serves a specific market type and go overboard on your marketing towards that audience.

Use your strengths instead of your weaknesses to bring to the fight.
And then fight dirty. Sign up for affiliate accounts with your competitors, and link to those too. If they don't buy from you direct, and want to go somewhere else - there's nothing wrong with making money from your competition if they're not headed in your direction.

Happy Selling!

Kind Regards,
Earl Flormata

P.S. Spy on your competition. There are great tools out there to let you know what their focus is, so you can either avoid it altogether, or combat it from a different angle.

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