Can Your Small Business Compete Against Big Retailers? Here’s 4 Suggestions.

Big BusinessLet’s face it – Bath and Body Works, Mrs. Field’s Cookies, Radio Shack and a zillion other retailers have already primed their marketing engines and are ready to push out million dollar advertising blitzes to attract customers, get them to buy and wow them.

According to e-commerce company Volusion mobile commerce will explode, in 2014 the Holiday buying season is shorter and more.

If you’re nervous about bix box retailers, here’s a few things you can do, from Volusion:

  • Tap into existing customers now by marketing to them via email and encouraging the usage of loyalty programs – repeat customers are the easiest to convert, so placing one’s small business in their consideration set earlier than later will help prevent shoppers from flocking to Amazon.
  • Leverage current customers to recruit new customers. Extending sharable coupons or simply encouraging and incentivizing existing customers to tell their friends about one’s business is a cost-effective method to attracting first-time shoppers to a small business website.
  • Work to increase average order value and number of items per order to remain profitable. The primary reason online shoppers use Amazon and other large websites is for cost savings, meaning that if a small retailer is forced to reduce prices or offer other promotions like free shipping, they need to increase the average amount of sales per customer to stay in the black. To do so, smaller merchants are encouraged to offer personalized product recommendations, bundle related products, and find other upselling opportunities.
  • Encourage account registration for shoppers visiting their site. This is helpful for two reasons: 1) it allows merchants to further market to these customers, and 2) allows shoppers with accounts to save cart items that were previously abandoned, as Adobe reports that 55% of shoppers want to save their cart for later purchase.

Here 4 things I suggest you do:

  1. Speak with a marketing consultant to get IDEAS and HELP executing on your sales strategy for 2014
  2. Make sure you have an updated list of CUSTOMERS who have already bought from you. Hopefully your database shows what they bought from you
  3. Get very clear on what your TARGET MARKET IS so you can smartly reach new customers
  4. Implement a CRM system that can help you manage the entire sales process – from lead capture, to education, to sales, to order fulfillment and to wowing that customer after they bought and asking for a referral!

There’s a lot more you need to – but the BIG step is a) knowing your existing customers and b) knowing the profile of your potential customers!

 

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Ramon Ray, Editor & Technology Evangelist, Smallbiztechnology.com . Editor and Founder, Smart Hustle Magazine Full bio at http://www.ramonray.com . Check him out on Google Plus, Twitter or Facebook

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