Anyone who has considered opening an ecommerce store in the past few years has asked the same question: can my business compete with Amazon? The monolith has seemingly taken over America and much of the rest of the world. Trying to run your own sales platform appears futile.
However, there are reasons you might want to consider creating a free online store. With easy-to-use sales tools, building an online store in 2021 will take mere hours. You can have it up-and-running within a day. The question is whether you should.
Let’s discuss. Can your business compete with Amazon?
What does it mean to compete with Amazon?
There is a simple answer to the above question. No, your business almost certainly cannot compete with Amazon. Unless you intend to be the next Jeff Bezos, you probably don’t want to. Amazon has a huge hold on the market and attempting to catch up is a fool’s errand.
Most business owners are not really asking whether they can become the richest person in the world. Rather, they want to know whether their own business, which is small-fry in comparison, is even worth the effort. In an age where mega-conglomerates are almost synonymous with monopolies, there does not seem to be space for SMEs.
This is a question that small businesses in every sphere are asking. Should smaller mobile phone manufacturers give in? Is there a place for alternative music streaming services? What about new social media platforms?
There’s no one answer to this question. Every industry is different, even if they are starting to look the same, with massive corporations branching out.
However, we can attempt to provide a satisfying answer when it comes to ecommerce in the age of Amazon.
Ecommerce from the ground up
Let’s say you start your ecommerce website today. Unless you are migrating from another platform, you are starting from scratch. At what point can you consider it a success?
As we’ve established, your success is not in comparison to Amazon. In reality, you are probably going to make use of Amazon as a third-party seller to supplement your sales.
So what is success? This depends on what you are trying to achieve. If you are opening your dream business, selling products that you are passionate about, success is being able to provide boutique services to customers. You get to share your knowledge with people who look to you for the best possible solutions.
If, however, your main goal is to make money, success will come in phases. In the initial phase, success means the ability to make an income from your store. Then you can start looking at the possibility of earning back the capital, after which you can focus on making a profit.
Of course, even those who are opening ecommerce stores primarily to share their passion are dependent on financial success. Most stores are built by people who want a combination of both: fulfilment and income.
In whatever way you choose to define success, it has little to do with Amazon. Your ecommerce store may go unnoticed in the grand scheme of things. But if you are hitting your targets and doing what you love, that does not matter at all.
How your ecommerce site will work
The way to go about building your ecommerce site without being overshadowed by Amazon is to focus on your business in a holistic sense. Simply providing an online store is not going to be enough. If that is all you are offering, then customers may as well shop on Amazon, where there are far more reviews and a much wider range of options.
Instead, you need to focus on providing a retail experience. If you were running a brick-and-mortar store, you would speak to your customers, answering their questions and showing them what they need.
The good news is that this is far easier in an online setting. You can create resources and blog posts addressing the topics your customers are interested in. You can provide write-ups about what each product will do. And you can provide a way to get in touch, so that you can answer questions which require more complex input.
This is how you “compete” with Amazon. Amazon is not trying to provide this sort of service. The Amazon Store is, for the most part, a sales platform. Your store is something completely different. It is a service you are providing to customers. It is a way of sharing your expertise and passion with customers who need the personal touch.
Competing with Amazon is not really the goal. If you plan on doing nothing but selling, you’re going to have a tough time. But if you want to provide a retail experience, your service will be more than welcome.