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The Webgility Blog

The Next Steps To Compete With Amazon

Amazon is an intimidating opponent for any online retailer, but there are plenty of strategies that will bring you success on the platform. Whether you’re just getting started or have recently changed the direction of your high-volume ecommerce business, we recommend visiting our first set of effective tactics and then coming back to this one. 

If you’re ready for the next level, you’ve come to the right place. Webgility has spent the last decade working with thousands of online sellers and determining what does and doesn’t work while operating in the ecommerce space. These are the next steps for continued prosperity and smart growth.

Concentrate On Your Customers

Just as the customer experience should be a top priority if you want to compete with Amazon, paying attention to your customers should also be prioritized. They provide a blueprint for optimizing your business because they naturally fall into a target market that has sought a solution to a shared pain point, and they can guide you while expanding.

Focus On Customer Segments

There is a good chance your customers belong to distinct communities, such as church groups, professional industries, or enthusiasts of various activities. This is a positive thing for you, the seller, because it means your customers have already sorted themselves into groups that you can cater to individually with focused marketing and messaging, which drives higher conversion rates. Even better, specialization makes you better able to serve current needs and predict future needs, keeping your brand relevant for a longer duration. 

How do you specialize? Find ideas in our white paper, The New Rules For Competing With Amazon.

Find A Higher Purpose

Your customer segments will likely lead you to a “higher purpose,” or a clear mission for your business. If you’re attracting a specific type of customer, you probably have some values in common. Start there, and outline some goals for your company like promoting sustainability or healthier living. Not only will you have a feel-good motivator, but you will actually create more value by genuinely helping people. 

Many ecommerce brands have adopted the model where they donate one item per specified quantity sold to a charity that aligns with their higher purpose. TOMS is an early example, giving a pair of shoes to someone in need for every pair sold. Other companies were built with the mission first, and the products came later. Causebox is one such subscription service that features products from socially conscious and charitable brands. 

Businesses with a higher purpose are not only creating more value, but they’re also attracting generations of consumers that are taking over the market. 73% of Millennials and 54% of Gen Z prefer sustainable and socially responsible products and are willing to spend more with brands that uphold their same values. 

Build A Community

Word of mouth is the main factor behind 20-50% of buying decisions, which makes it one of the most powerful tools to leverage for your business. It can take you farther than your other marketing efforts, so why not make it as simple as possible? Offer incentivized referrals that can be completed in just a few clicks and watch your community grow without the huge ad spend. 

Glossier is a well-known example of a brand that has built a community around its products. The beauty titan started as a blog full of industry insider tips and started offering products after identifying gaps in the market. Early customers and social media helped spread the word, and Glossier is now a billion dollar business five years after its inception. 

Social media has made word of mouth marketing easier than ever. Connections can share your posts with each other, make recommendations, and continue your brand story. Form your digital community with a branded hashtag or a closed group or forum, and follow along for user-generated content featuring your products.

Mind Your Inventory

Keeping track of inventory as a high volume seller is tricky to say the least. It’s a delicate balance between overstocking and stockouts that determines both your cash flow and business reviews. However, these tips comprise an effective starting point. Download our white paper for even more information about handling your inventory.

Manage Stock

The key to managing stock is predicting sales trends before it’s too late. On one hand, you have to prepare for popular shopping days like Black Friday and Cyber Monday by having enough product to meet demand. On the other hand, ordering too much stock leaves money on the table because there isn’t enough demand to move it through the warehouse. 

The solution is to use inventory management software, which can tell you how much product you have and use your store’s data to predict future sales trends. See all your data in real time so you can maintain better cash flow and avoid stagnant product and stockouts.

Cut Low Profit Products

Even the most successful Amazon sellers can fall prey to low profit products that are expensive to ship or sell less often than other offerings. The market is ever-shifting, and sometimes sales don’t pan out as expected. Regardless, it’s time to liquidate the low profit products so you can increase your margins and focus on where you’re still creating value. Learn why it works and see the cut-out plan in our white paper.  

Scale Wisely

Feedvisor found that 65% of Amazon sellers are looking to expand their product lines in 2019. It is the top business goal among merchants for the year, but it’s not guaranteed. Scaling has to be done in a way that makes sense and considers the risks of mismanaging stock or adding a low profit product. 

The first part of this series outlines a plan for expansion that lets you keep your competitive edge and maximize ROI, but it boils down to staying within your market. Narrow markets require broader catalogs, so stay focused in your approach.

Automate!

Inventory Management

As mentioned previously, inventory management is essential to a smooth operation. Manual management is time consuming and frustrating, but it can be automated with the right software. 

These are the advantages:

  • Keep inventory in sync across all channels
  • Automatically notify customers of tracking
  • Keep all your fulfilment team on the same page
  • Have 1 place to manage all your orders
  • Automate shipping workflows

Accounting

Manual data entry is similarly a tedious process that your accountant is spending an average of fifty hours per month completing. It also leaves room for human error that could lead to overspending on taxes or overselling. 

Why not automate the process with a solution that syncs directly to your accounting software? As a high volume Amazon seller, your business sees thousands of transactions every month—more if you’re selling on multiple channels. Automated accounting software logs and aggregates your data, giving you the freedom to spend your valuable time elsewhere. 

Get More Tips

Webgility’s founder and CEO came from Amazon and knows the ins and outs of how to compete as a high-volume seller. Though these initial tactics are crucial, there is plenty more to learn about growing your business alongside the largest ecommerce brand in the world. 
That’s why we’ve teamed up with Feedvisor to put together the top strategies for Amazon sellers looking to scale their businesses. Download the white paper today for more examples and advice from online retailers who have been in your shoes.


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