There's no denying that when it comes to holiday shopping, Amazon is the company to beat. The past few years saw the retail giant's sales figures going up, especially during the holidays, as thousands of consumers opt to shop online because of convenience. As a matter of fact, the internet retailer accounted for 33.8% of online visits during the last two months of 2016.
While retailers and small businesses can't hope to match Amazon's numbers this year, they can still do something to beat it at its own game. Here are ways that retailers can get a leg up on Amazon:
Capture Consumers Attention During Vital Shopping Days
Amazon will always be in the minds of countless shoppers during the holiday season, mainly because of convenience and fast delivery. So how can retailers compete with this? By finding a way to capture the consumer's attention and imagination. One of the best ways to do this is to come up with a marketing campaign that highlights the company's values in order to target loyal and high-converting clients.
Companies like REI did this by closing its doors on Thanksgiving and Black Friday and encouraging customers to spend the day outside instead with its #optoutside campaign. The movement inspired state parks to waive their entry fees and saw companies like Subaru and Outdoor Research teaming up REI to promote outdoor recreation. And even though REI closed its doors on Black Friday, the campaign generated a 26% boost in online traffic on that day.
Treat Each Shopper as a Unique Individual
One of Amazon's weaknesses is its one-size-fits-all approach to its consumers. This means everyone gets the same deals and prices. But retailers can go in the opposite direction and show consumers that their unique and individual needs are taken seriously. They can come up with customized offers for different types of shoppers, like loyal consumers, senior shoppers or first-time buyers. Retailers can also ensure that the content and offers in their email ads are designed for each particular group of shoppers.
Streamline Your Shopping Cart
There's no question that the ease that someone can order from Amazon is a contributing factor to its popularity. In order to compete in the same league as Amazon, retailers should take a critical look at their shopping cart and see what their customers' experience. They should pay particular attention to details like the number of steps it takes to fill their cart, the number of decisions that the customer must make during the checkout stage (ex. gift wrapping, shipping) and whether every step is necessary. Retailers should consider whether some steps can be streamlined by combining decisions and actions. After all, there's nothing more frustrating than spending more than 10 minutes just trying to pay for something you want.
Offer Worry-Free Shipping and Returns
Free shipping is now the norm.While this might be a huge obstacle for some companies, there's no denying that it's what customers are now expecting from online retailers. There's no better way to drive your customers to Amazon than by having high shipping costs during the holiday season. But aside from implementing this strategy, retailers should also ensure that they push this message to their consumers, like through the company's homepage, pop-ups and social media ads. Promoting free shipping to your website's visitors will also give them an additional incentive to browse through and hopefully purchase something.
Retailers should also take advantage of Amazon's less than stellar reputation when it comes to returns. Designing a system where shipping and returns won't become a thorn on the shopper's mind will definitely give a retailer an edge over Amazon.
Provide Special Touches
Customers will definitely love the special touches that companies offer, particularly during the busy holiday season. A simple gift-wrapping service or a program for storing items purchased ahead of time and to be delivered close to the holidays will be appreciated. Knowing that the company has taken the time to make life easier during this busy season will be more than enough to keep them coming back.
Amazon might be an eCommerce behemoth, but small retailers can still hold their own against it. Remember that the best way to compete with such a big company is to look at the details it neglects and to give customers a truly personalized experience.[Featured image via Pixabay]