The hardest part of getting a small business off the ground is competing against companies that have already made it.
With online retailers like Amazon offering unbeatable prices, product variety, and lightning-fast shipping, how are small businesses supposed to attract customers? Fortunately, small operations have a few major strengths over big brands. Here are some ways to capitalize on your small business strengths and win some customers from your competitors.
Conduct a Competitor Analysis
Start by conducting a competitor analysis to determine how you can distinguish yourself from these established companies. A competitor analysis involves assessing your competitor’s marketing strategies, strengths, weaknesses, and customer satisfaction. After this, you’ll be able to determine unique business opportunities where you can stand out; otherwise, if you ignore this strategy, you may risk being outcompeted, which is one of the top reasons that startups fail.
Develop a Unique Brand Personality
As a small business, it’s already impossible to appeal to the masses. Instead of trying to please everyone with your branding, marketing, and social media posts, identify a niche audience you want to satisfy and determine the brand personality they can identify with. This will help set your business apart from the competitors that offer similar products. More importantly, this will establish a sense of trust and loyalty among your customers.
Developing your brand personality will set the stage for your website design, content, and marketing strategies. Ensure your brand identity tells a consistent story to your customers, and this includes redesigning your website. Your website colors, content, copy, and even your choice of font will help customers determine what your business is all about. Not only that, but it’s essential that your website works flawlessly on any device — 53 percent of mobile visitors will leave a site it takes more than three seconds to load! So, you’re better off hiring a web developer to create a functional, engaging site for your brand. If hiring someone for web design feels challenging, turn to freelance job boards to find professional web design services to help you bring your website to life.
Provide Customers with Personalized Service
One of the greatest advantages you have over your competitors is your ability to cater to the personal needs of your customers. If you provide your customers with an unbeatable experience, they’re likely to shop from you again and recommend your business to others. Make it easy for customers to get in touch — a contact form on your website is a good method.
Try to reply to customer inquiries as soon as possible. Many shoppers expect replies within a day. If a customer asks a question or makes a comment to your business on social media, try to reply in an hour or less. Make sure someone on your team is available outside of your normal work hours to handle customer questions, concerns, and complaints. You can find more customer service tips in this guide from the Balance Small Business.
Offer Upfront Information
Many times, customers don’t really know what they’re getting when they buy from an online retailer. They see a picture of the product and a brief description, but that’s it. You can help your customers commit to a purchase by using clear product descriptions to answer any questions they may have. Tell customers about the materials, manufacturing process, product lifespan, and any other information they may need before making a purchase. This shows that your business values honesty to help customers develop trust in your brand.
Give Shipping Discounts
People like buying from major online retailers because they provide fast, affordable shipping. Although you may not be able to offer free shipping, you can level the playing field a bit by offering discounted shipping once customers reach a spending threshold. For example, you may advertise that shipping is free for customers who purchase $50 worth of products or more. According to FitSmallBusiness, this will also encourage customers to buy more since about 48 percent of shoppers add items to their cart to meet free shipping qualifications. Alternatively, you could factor shipping costs into your product pricing.
Many people are deterred from starting a business because they don’t want to go up against major competitors. It may often seem impossible to compete with a business that can offer dirt-cheap prices and free, one-day shipping. Despite this, countless startups have found success, and with some careful planning, you can too.
You can find more useful articles and resources to help you achieve startup success by visiting 2Startups.
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