Ever heard the term “Amazonian”? This descriptor comes from the powerful, dominant stance of the Amazonian race of warrior women who, in my opinion, seem pretty darn cool. They’re also known for being large and in charge competitors. Who else do we know that has a reputation for being large and in charge? Amazon. As in Amazon.com.
In case you haven’t seen the news, Amazon.com expanded its (already extensive) reach and grabbed hold of another market. The latest conquest of the retail giant is the Whole Foods grocery store chain. For some, it came as quite a shock that the high-end grocery stores had been folded into the Amazon.com empire. If even the most massive companies are vulnerable, what about local businesses? Is everyone at risk?
It’s not as bad as you think. Consumers are still willing to support their local businesses. In fact, some would rather shop you than your larger competitors any day.
Staying Competitive in an Amazon.com World
If you’re competing with the Amazonians (and you are), our best advice is to, well…do as the Amazonians do. Here are a few ways you can beat the big guys at their own game. Goliath, meet David.
Emphasize your personal service.
Picture this — you’re on your couch, bunny slippers up on the coffee table, glass of wine in one hand and laptop in your lap. You’re supposed to be shopping for some new work clothes, but you just spent $20 on a new squeaky toy for Jack, your handsome chocolate lab. …just me?
E-commerce websites have a huge advantage of connecting consumers to just about every product under the sun, from the comfort of their own home. But where these mega-sites excel in convenience, they lack personal service in a big way. That’s where your local business can flex its customer service muscles and stand out.
When consumers find themselves drowning in a sea of online options, they’re often unsure about which products are the best. From behind a computer, they can’t try stuff on, they can’t touch and feel the product to decipher its quality, and they sometimes can’t even decipher the size of what they’re researching. There’s your cue. Step in and add the personal touch wherever you can. Train your staff well, making sure they’re ready to walk customers through your products and services and answer common questions with ease. Your team’s expert input can make for happier customers who are much more satisfied with their purchases. And it goes without saying that service with a smile leaves a good impression with anyone.
Offer a digital shopping experience.
We’re not oblivious. We know Amazon.com is king online. But that doesn’t mean your business should dismiss e-commerce. It’s just as important as your in-store experience. Having a proper business website can attract new customers, keep current ones coming back, and bolster your brand. Here’s what your website needs to stand out this year.
What it boils down to is this — consumers expect to be able to shop fluidly in both the online and offline worlds. So your business should be ready to meet that need. Without a website or an e-commerce solution, you’re leaving money on the table.
Think you’ve got a good excuse to avoid having a business website? You’re not alone.
Embrace local targeting.
We talk all the time about how mobile devices have changed the game for local business advertising. Consumers are making purchase decisions on the go and believe it or not, this is your golden opportunity to drive foot traffic.
Targeted ads are your way to deliver a relevant ad to consumers in your area. Consumers today actually expect the ads they see to be tailored to them – a timely ad for a service close-by definitely meets that expectation. Now’s the time to have a well-developed, locally-targeted advertising campaign that provides consumers actionable ads.
It may be an Amazon.com-dominated world, but local businesses still have a place in it. Your local business is a vital part of the community. Let’s keep it that way.