I am very excited to have this guest post from Marissa Perez, a writer focused on small businesses and entrepreneurship. Contact me if you are interested in contributing or advertising (on the cheap!).
If you’re a small business owner, you know how hard it is to compete with big retailers. Amazon, for example, has a vast reservoir of products, incredibly rapid delivery, and great bargains. But don’t liquidate your inventory just yet. You have something unique to offer customers: your brand. It’s what encouraged you to go into business in the first place, creating a shopping experience your customers can’t get anywhere else. Emphasize your strengths and provide stellar customer service, and you’ll build brand loyalty.
Accentuate your brand
If you’re a small brick-and-mortar or e-business, it’s important to differentiate your brand from your competitors. Focusing on your unique selling point, whether it’s a product or service, is what will attract customers to your site. Accentuating your brand is so important because it provides customers with a unique experience and makes them feel like they’ve found something that the big competitors don’t have.
The perfect website
An engaging and efficient website is the single most important aspect of any e-business. It’s your storefront, your cash register and the means by which you market to customers. Considering its importance to your success, it’s a good idea to hire a web designer who can ensure that your site will meet all your needs. Freelancing job sites like Fiverr allow you to connect with experienced and qualified professionals who know high-level design concepts.
Providing lots of products give customers lots of reasons to do business with you. Try to anticipate your customers’ questions and concerns by including detailed information in each product description. You never know—a detail that seems inconsequential to you might be all someone needs to choose your product over a competitor’s. This approach also gives your business transparency, which lends credibility and helps build customer loyalty.
Give them a break
Discounted shipping is an excellent way to score points with customers and let them know you’re willing to go above and beyond to earn their business. Discounted shipping can also encourage customers to do more business with you, because they know they’ll get convenience and a good deal by purchasing on your website. Consider offering free shipping during the holidays and at various times of the year. You can also encourage people to buy more by offering discounted shipping once they’ve reached a predetermined spending threshold.
World-class customer service
Great customer service should always be a no-brainer, something your customers always know they can expect. It sets you apart from other businesses and earns your site a great reputation, an important advantage when you’re up against a heavy hitter like Amazon. Always give customers the ability to contact a customer service rep by clicking on an icon or calling a toll-free phone number. Always respond quickly to questions or complaints, at least within 24 hours.
A confusing payment system is a sure way to alienate customers and send them to someone else. Make it as easy as possible for people to set up an account with you and to process payments. Enable autofill settings—a feature that everybody appreciates—and incorporate PayPal (like eBay and other online businesses do), as well as Apple Pay. A streamlined and effective payment process will minimize abandoned transactions and produce a higher conversion rate.
Competition in the retail market is fierce these days. To hold your own against other businesses, both big and small, you must always emphasize what’s exceptional about your brand and have an appealing and customer-friendly website. Refer to the above tips regularly to attain and maintain success for your small business.
Author’s Bio: Marissa Perez has spent the last 10 years honing her marketing skills, and now she wants to share her knowledge with those who have decided to take on entrepreneurship. She co-created Business Pop to provide insight and advice to those entering business ownership.
Image courtesy of Pixabay.com