More and more often we hear it said “The big brands have portals for online sales that are indirectly waging war on small merchants” but this must be a starting point, not a surrender .
Large companies (Amazon, Ebay, Nike, etc. etc.) have huge budgets to invest in Marketing and in the application of innovative technologies. As if that were not enough, a large company can “wage war on price” because it works on large volumes.
How can a small business owner, shop owner or business that sells services, stand up to large companies? Using their own weapons!
So let’s do a brief analysis of how big brands behave .
The standards of the big brands
Large companies have in 90% of cases an online sales system, in which there may be a huge number of product categories: they can offer the customer a safe and fast shopping experience, with an efficient refund service in case of product problems.
This online sales model has now become the standard for most users who consider it efficient, safe and convenient.
The big brands have understood the potential of this business model and have started to adopt it.
It is recent news that Nike has abandoned Amazon to sell its products through its portal.
By visiting the Nike sales portal, on the home page, just below the menu bar in a highly visible position, messages appear:
The sales and assistance methods are the same as those applied on Amazon, the first of the online sales portals, which has adopted a policy of total customer satisfaction and their needs.
This is because Nike has understood that, being able to replicate the Amazon model, it is more profitable to sell through its portal without intermediation.
Replicating the business models of large companies
How can a small merchant compete with the policies, business models and budgets of large companies that sell online?
The answer is as simple as it is obvious: replicate the same models adapting them to your own reality. The first aspect is precisely that of online sales which is still taboo for many small and medium-sized enterprises; it is not important to have your own online sales platform, it is important that online sales are made because it is a channel that can and must be exploited.
As already stated in another article Product Marketing works if my 3 year old daughter understands it:
So if you have a physical business and you sell products
And you don’t even do it online you are losing 5 of your 10 potential customers.
In many cases it is therefore profitable to combine the traditional sales channel with an online sales channel.
With a good strategy, in addition to the classic online sales, it is possible to start a system of recurring sales, upselling, crosselling.
Recurring sales: selling the same product repeatedly over time (example: buying a box of diapers once a month and having it delivered to your home without even having to periodically remember to place the order)
Upselling: selling to those who have already bought, or are about to do so, higher-end products / services, or new updates or new components (example: when choosing a ticket for an event, propose a more expensive ticket but with better high-value services )
Cross- selling : selling related or complementary products based on the type of purchases already made or preferences expressed (example: after buying an airplane ticket, it is possible to propose the purchase of a car or taxi rental from the airport)
Can anyone adopt the strategies of large companies? Yes, anyone!
I want to give an extreme example assuming that a greengrocer decides to start the online sales channel, here’s what he could do:
Open a communication flow through Telegram or WhatsApp in which he offers his customers the possibility of placing orders and then when they come to visit him in the store they can directly collect the order without waiting.
Offer home delivery service;
Add a recurring sale; for example, for customers who require home delivery every Monday, deliver a quantity of seasonal fruit worth € 10 (with the possibility of changing the type of fruit based on the season or customer preferences).
If, on the other hand, it were a commercial activity aimed at clothing, a strategic approach could be to create a community in a simple and fast way. Also through channels such as Telegram or WhatsApp you can invite your customers to join the channel that will be updated with useful tips, case studies, discounts, promotions, special offers and previews on new products coming soon.
Having contacts with your customers and therefore managing a small community is a great value at the Marketing level because in making communication or promotions you will have a direct and, therefore, preferential channel with and for your customers.
Innovate a Business Through Technology: The online sale of services
If your business instead deals with selling services through appointments (beauty salon, hairdresser, medical specialist, consultant, etc., etc.) it is possible to adopt systems that automate appointments.
There are apps and software that allow you to make appointments by synchronizing your agenda giving customers the ability to book when they want and do it independently.
When a user looks for a professional, before a real consultation, sometimes it is necessary for the professional to acquire some information to understand if the person who wants to get in touch has all the requirements, for this the use of articulated contact forms they are ideal for reducing the possibility of wasting time on both sides.
Innovate a Business Through Technology: Here are 3 useful applications
Book Like a Boss that allows you to manage appointments and synchronize different calendars
There is a place , an Italian app, which acts as a real skip the line allowing you to book online, consultancy, performance or service, the day and time you prefer
TypeForm offers the possibility to create dynamic contact forms and surveys with an excellent user experience
Take advantage of the physical store
When it has its own physical space, shop or office, where people go and with whom there is contact, it must be made sure to make it fruitful.
Through small strategies that take advantage of “direct contact”, small technological devices can be activated to acquire information and speed up processes.
There is no need for great technological skills but only the knowledge of software and creativity in the use of existing software and applications.
Leverage simple technologies to speed up or simplify sales
By scanning the QR Code, with NFC (proximity technology) or with a digital screen, you can interact with your customers inside the store and perform useful services.
The interaction techniques are many and can be used both by those with a high volume of customers and by those with large volumes of customers concentrated in a short period of time, but also by those who have a small volume of customers but want to offer a comfortable shopping experience.
To understand how technology can be used, I’ll give you an example of an ice cream shop where the technology component in providing the service is almost non-existent:
To quickly dispose of customers in busy periods, it is possible to let people choose the flavors and size of the ice cream through a form that can be activated by a QR Code and approach the counter to collect the ice cream thus creating a “queue elimination” system.
This system has been used by McDonald’s which offers its customers an ordering service in total autonomy and table service through monitors with touch technology:
Imitating big companies
Large companies have developed and adopted innovative technologies and systems that can now be replicated in small businesses.
Posted By – Abdul Rimaaz