Amazon is a force to be reckoned with. As a consumer, I love them. As an internet marketer, I hate them. Deep-rooted hate. Why? Because they are taking more and more market share away from niche, single-store eCommerce sites and are stacking up the reasons why consumers should go nowhere else. There are several rules that Amazon has created that have set a new norm in certain policies. Try and fight them and you will lose. If you are in a situation where you can change your business model so that you can comply with them, you stand a far greater chance of making it in this Amazon dominated world.
Here are 3 ways to give yourself a better shot of competing against Amazon.
You must offer free shipping as well as an expedited shipping option. Most people believe that Amazon wins on just price alone, but that is not true at all. Most of the time, they win a consumer due to their ability to send a product out within hours of the order coming in. In many cases, the item arrives on the customer’s doorstep in 1-2 days. As a consumer, this gives me a huge reason not to shop at your store. In fact, it’s reason #1.
I recently purchased an item from the popular online store, Touch of Modern. I found a pair of jeans I liked and I bought them. A few minutes later, I get my order status and am notified that I am not getting my shipment for 30-40 days! What the…!!?? As the consumer, I don’t care what the business model is— in this case they curate all of the orders before placing them with the manufacturer— but that just does not work. There is simply no way an eCommerce store can compete effectively unless they are shipping out the same day, or earlier.
You have to offer hassle free returns for all products. I know this is particularly hard for people that sell products that cannot be resold (i.e.: beauty products) or large items where shipping can cost as much as the product itself, but to compete against a behemoth like Amazon, you have to. You are better off adding a small charge to all products in order to absorb the loss on the returns you will receive.
Many consumers will use single-store niche eCommerce sites to browse, only to go back to Amazon and purchase. When possible, find and sell products that are truly unique. And when brand does not matter in the case of a purchase, change the product name and description on your site so that consumers won’t be able to compare and shop on Amazon very easily. Don’t make it easy for the consumer to leave your store!
Can’t do the above? Then you will most likely continue to lose more and more market share to not only Amazon, but to the other big box sites that are too conforming to the above. As Amazon adapts, they are only going to get harder and harder to compete with.