Brick-and-mortar stores forced to close due to pandemic lockdowns had to quickly pivot to an online-only model. Understandably, newcomers to the digital retail scene found themselves behind the curve in attracting online buyers, particularly in the face of popular established events like Amazon Prime Day. This year’s Prime Day, held June 21-22, was reportedly the biggest ever on the platform.
Online retailers that have opted to forge their own path to generate sales often wonder how they can compete with Amazon.
The reality is that Amazon’s true unique selling proposition is its distribution network. Online retailers will not be able to compete on this point because Amazon’s distribution network is so fast. Instead, it’s important to focus on areas where they can excel — without having to become a third-party seller on Amazon’s platform.
The following are seven key tips that are relevant for online retailers that want to attract and retain customers without having to partner with Amazon or to try to beat it at its own game.
Gain a 360-degree view of the customer
An online retailer needs to consider what kind of experience it wants to create; customers expect smooth processes on every step of their online shopping journey.
One idea is to implement a consumer data platform that will help the retailer gain the best insights into their customers: who they are and what they like, which websites they frequent and other relevant information. Retailers can use this data to then target customers with ads for products they’ll actually want to buy. Consumer data platforms can even help online retailers target consumers across platforms as well as in the store.
Ensure smooth and glitch-free pre-sale transactions
One of the biggest frustrations with online retailers is the performance of a website, from getting on the site through the closing of the sale. If something fails or glitches at any point in the process of searching for a product and paying for it, the customer will leave and not come back.
The solution to this problem involves a lot of testing of the user interface to ensure a good user experience. Tests should be done on all e-commerce segments on a site, including the basket and ad banners. By inserting tags along the customer journey, a retailer can track lost sales and see where problems happen on their website.
Offer a broad variety of payment options
As a payment option, PayPal recently experienced a record 36% year-on-year growth in payment volume between the third quarter of 2019 and Q3 2020. Despite PayPal’s popularity, Amazon does not accept it as a form of payment.