Amazon’s a mighty big beast to tangle with, but that shouldn’t stop you from trying. Truly successful sellers will take anyone on — but only when they’re prepared to do so. To get to that place, read up on what tips RepricerExpress has to offer. It doesn’t take as much as you think to be the David that slew Goliath.
Recognise Your Strengths and Play to Them
Look, Amazon is a giant with an inventory the size few ‘stores’ can rival. It’s like the NFL in America: they practically own a day of the week, so there’s not much sense in trying to take over Sundays when they’ve already got such a stranglehold on it. Avoid trying to grow and grow your inventory to match theirs. You just won’t succeed that way.
Another thing to consider is your domain name. It’d be awesome if you could get some variation of Amazon.com, but that’s just not going to happen. It’d be like Windows trying to change their name to Apple — just not smart at all.
So, what can you do? Simple, here you go.
1. Carve Out Your Own Identity
The first step in taking on Amazon is becoming what they’re not, and what they are is a purveyor of, well, everything. If you’re a little lost right now, let’s break things down a bit. Amazon’s sort of like Walmart in that you can find pretty much anything there. But the opposite of that is they’re not a niche boutique that specialises in anything, and that’s where you come in.
Narrow down your product inventory to just a few selection items and own that sh-, er, shop. And by owning it, we mean adding on the special touches that Amazon neglects, like email marketing campaigns and content marketing.
2. Offer Ace Customer Service
We’ll give credit where credit’s due — Amazon has a pretty good customer support system in place. But it’s not exactly personalised or custom-made, and that’s how you can compete with them. Do things like answer the phone yourself and greet shoppers, take extra little steps that aren’t normally part of your business plan, and even consider being like this store.
3. Brand Your Own Style of Shipping
Again, we have to give props to Amazon for having really amazing shipping options. You can get things as soon as the end of the day, if you’re willing to pay for it. There’s probably no way you can go head-to-head with it, but you can create your own style of shipping that’s uniquely yours.
And what about if Amazon catches on to what you’re doing and tries to oust you? Well, here are some things to try out.
Fighting Back Against Amazon
Try out these approaches if Amazon puts on the pressure in trying to make you back down.
Get Exclusive with Suppliers
If you can create an ironclad agreement with one or more suppliers where they’ll sell to you under the proviso they won’t also sell to Amazon, you’re hedging your bets that you can’t be taken over. On a really big scale, this is an example of a trust where big companies team up to block out the little guys; you’re doing it on a smaller scale to block out Amazon from your radar.
Work Out Special Terms with Your Suppliers
Closely tied to the above point, try and work out a contract with your suppliers where there’s some flexibility. One of the best ways of doing this is to have a stock exchange in place where, if Amazon suddenly starts selling Product A that’s in your inventory, you can exchange Product A for Product B (similar, but not exact) to merrily continue along.
Play Around with Your Prices
As a faithful reader of RepricerExpress, you had to know that repricing was going to eventually factor in. But there’s merit in this — if you can alter your prices in accordance to supply and demand, you’ll inch yourself that much closer to a Buy Box.
Know When to Hold ‘em, Know When to Fold ‘em, Know When to Walk Away, and Know When to Run
If there’s one thing Kenny Rogers taught us, it’s that the most consistent winners have a good read on when to stick it out and when to call it a day. There are just going to be some times when Amazon’s strong-handed tactics are too much for any seller, and it’ll be time for you to liquidate.
It’s not a fun option, but wouldn’t you rather end up with something in your pocket than simply the pride of riding things out until the end? And doing so on Amazon’s terms instead of your own?