Articles Opportunities for Smaller Businesses to Compete in Ecommerce

It’s not easy for small- and mid-sized businesses (SMBs) to compete against Amazon and other industry giants, but, with a little creativity, it can be done.

In the latest issue of Inbound Logistics, Steve Congro, Saddle Creek’s director of omnichannel fulfillment technology, and other industry professionals discuss challenges often faced by SMBs – from bargain pricing to selling on online marketplaces to fast, free shipping.

Competing Against Amazon and other Retail Giants

“SMBs and E-Commerce” includes Congro’s perspective on a number of common issues:

Branding when selling through online marketplaces: “You might move product, but you won’t build your name,” Congro says. A consumer who buys an item on the Amazon Marketplace will remember it came from Amazon, but might not know the name of the company that actually made the sale.

One- or two-day delivery: To meet demand for fast shipping, some retailers get closer to their customers by spreading inventory among several warehouses, often operated by 3PLs. But retailers may also find that, despite the famous Amazon effect, not every customer needs immediate fulfillment.

“Retailers shouldn’t break the bank to chase that approach,” says Congro. Instead, they should figure out how fast their particular customers need their products. “Decide what your service level agreement will be,” he says. “But more importantly, make sure you can hit it.”

Competing on customer service:  It’s important for small and mid-sized retailers to make consumers feel great about shopping with them. “It could be through over-the-top customer service,” says Congro. “Or through product personalization or customization, which the big guys are not known for.”

For more insights, read the full article.