How you can compete against the big online retailers, such as Amazon

We all know the eCommerce sites we love. Think Amazon, eBay or ASOS – they’re easy to buy from, offer choice, a great price and fast delivery.

So when it comes to being a smaller online retailer are you fighting a losing battle against the online giants? Well we’re not suggesting you can topple them but you can certainly make the most of your place in the market.

Competing on stock, choice or price might be tricky but with a few touches you can build-up a relationship with your customers that the bigger retailers can only dream of.

Here are just a few tips on creating a great customer experience if you’re an online retailer.

Get personal

People love the personal touch – it’s something they won’t get from the likes of somewhat faceless organisations, such Amazon. Make sure your email communications are warm and personal. Complement them on their taste if you’re sending emails after they’ve browsed or purchased a product – flattery will get you everywhere.

Be passionate

Tell them your story, who’s in your team and why you do what you do. Talk about why you exist, what makes you tick and what your vision is. They want to know about the care, love and attention you put into your products, and they might like to know they’re giving something back by using you over the big guys. They may get a bigger choice from Amazon or eBay but they won’t get the quality, or warm, fuzzy feeling that they’ll get from you.

Reassure them

Large corporates are flooded with customers meaning it’s more difficult for them to consistently offer a high level of customer service. This is their biggest weak spot. Promote your customer satisfaction, your high level of service, the security of your site, no quibble returns and guarantees.

Make it easy

Sometimes we shop with the big boys because it’s just easy. You know you can get something fast and cheap with just a few clicks on your phone. Make sure people can shop with you from their mobiles and always offer a quick checkout process. Consider simple payment methods such as PayPal.

Exceed expectations

You may not be able to offer same-day delivery and delivery by drone may be out of budget but you can still exceed expectations. Always keep customers informed of delivery times and make sure deliveries that can be put through the letterbox arrive before the customer expects them. People are always pleasantly surprised by a small retailer who exceeds expectations and disappointed by a large retailer who fails.

Make a good first impression

Take care and time in packaging your deliveries – include notes, free samples or vouchers for next purchases. Make sure your parcel will arrive unscathed by the postal service – protect it and present it well.

Send a gift – not a delivery

You can easily beat the large retailers when it comes to gift wrapping as they often do it appallingly. Wrapping something in cheap paper, putting it in a cardboard box, printing out a message on paper and enclosing an invoice doesn’t make it a gift. Take care and time presenting gifts, wrap them in tissue paper, ribbons and boxes and include quality cards.

Follow-up a sale

After your customer has made a purchase always ask them for a review of the product and your service. You may think you’re delivering great customer service but you won’t know until you ask. Following-up after a sale shows you care. It will hopefully also provide you with good reviews and recommendations you can use in the future.

So there you are – the principles to great customer service that can be executed by smaller online retailers. Follow these and your business will thrive and a succeed against the corporates.

If you’re looking for more tips and tricks in marketing your eCommerce site contact one of our Account Managers who will be happy to help.

Download the Pure360 Guide to the Email Maturity Model