AuctionBytes Blog
Covering auctions, collectibles and marketplace selling.

AuctionBytes Blog The AuctionBytes Blog has been giving a voice to online merchants since its launch in 2005. Named one of the world's top 30 blogs in 2008 by "Blogging Heroes." Weigh in with your thoughts on the joys and pitfalls of selling online.
Mon Nov 26 2012 16:16:46

Cyber 2 Weeks: 5 Ways to Compete with Big Box Stores

By: Julia Wilkinson

Sponsored Link

Cyber Monday? That's so 2011. Try "Cyber Two Weeks." According to a piece in the Wall Street Journal, major retailers like Wal-Mart, Target, and Best Buy are extending sales beyond the typical "Cyber Monday," and also attempting to keep up with the low prices of low-overhead Amazon.com.

But what can small online sellers do to compare with the price wars and fancy marketing campaigns of the big boys? We need to look at the areas where we bring the consumer an edge. Here are some:

1. Offer unique, exclusive products. Sell something people can't find in those big-box stores. Whether that's a handcrafted set of holiday cards, jewelry made with unusual materials, or even something you've imported that no one else has, stress how special your items are.

2. Low prices? I got your low prices right here. Go super low with your pre-owned inventory. eBay is still the big yard sale in the sky. Amazon may be able to undercut just about everyone else on retail prices, but even though it also has plenty of pre-owned media items, it's not so much the place to go to find, say, a vintage "Boast" golf shirt for under $10. You don't have to slash prices too much, but it's a good time to unload the stuff you don't want to look at next year.

3. Wrap 'n' Card: offer special services, like a special, free giftwrapping service and a handwritten gift card. Some online retailers offer this, but you're usually gonna have to pay a pretty penny for it. (Or at least, an above-average-looking penny). Etsy and Bonanza sellers are especially good at this. I've bought some things on those sites where the gift wrapping was just as creative as the item I purchased.

4. Flash sales: you can do them too! We're hearing all about sites such as Gilt which specialize in these time-limited sales. You can create a sense of urgency for buyers with your sales too; run a short-lived sale on your web site or in your eBay or other store; be up-front about the ending date of the sale and stick to it.

5. Join 'em. If you can't beat Amazon's low prices, sell on their site, and get your cut of all the action. Stuff you send in to their FBA (Fulfillment by Amazon) program will be eligible for Prime shoppers special shipping deals, and be highlighted on the site.

What are you doing to compete with big stores? What do you think smaller sellers bring to the table as their biggest "edge"? Post a comment here!





Comments (8) | Permalink

Readers Comments

Cyber 2 Weeks: 5 Ways to Compete with Big Box Stores   Cyber 2 Weeks: 5 Ways to Compete with Big Box Stores

by: Moonwishes This user has validated their user name.
Web Site

Tue Nov 27 09:52:50 2012

A little late for this sort of advice I would think. If you don't have your store or site stocked and ready to go before this, you are going to miss sales. The time to get ready for Chritmas was several months ago. For the next few weeks of selling, everything should have been tweaked a couple of weeks ago as well. It might seem that you can do everything at the last minute when selling on line, but you do have to leave time for search engines to be picking up your items and being familiar with where you are selling at ahead of time is more than helpful. Seeing way too many trying to get stores up to speed at the last minute this weekend and the results are sad to see.

Cyber 2 Weeks: 5 Ways to Compete with Big Box Stores   Cyber 2 Weeks: 5 Ways to Compete with Big Box Stores

by: TrulyYours This user has validated their user name.

Tue Nov 27 10:30:53 2012

Gift wrapping service to me, as a buyer, does not make much sense. When I buy in B&M store, I know for a fact what I am getting, so the gift wrapping really helpful and saves time, but when I buy on eBay or Etsy, it would be silly, IMHO, not to check the purchase to ensure that what you received is acceptable for a gift giving. So, it means that I have to unwrap the purchase, check it out and then re-wrap it again. Sounds quit cumbersome to me :-)    

Cyber 2 Weeks: 5 Ways to Compete with Big Box Stores   Cyber 2 Weeks: 5 Ways to Compete with Big Box Stores

This user has validated their user name. by: Tula

Tue Nov 27 11:13:40 2012

Very true, Moonwishes. I wasn't as prepared as I wanted to be. The holidays really sneaked up on me this year :-)

I offer mostly unique items amd usually offer gift wrapping during the holidays - though most of what I sell are items people buy more for themselves as opposed to gifts for others. I had grand plans to schedule different sales featuring different items. I have a lot of really nice vintage things that I save to list during the holidays, so I can get the best pricing. Unfortunately, time got away from me and I didn't manage to get everything in place to match my plans. So, I've scaled back and am simply listing what I can on my venues and hoping for the best.  

Cyber 2 Weeks: 5 Ways to Compete with Big Box Stores   Cyber 2 Weeks: 5 Ways to Compete with Big Box Stores

This user has validated their user name. by: juliawww
Web Site

Tue Nov 27 11:16:30 2012

Hi Truly, Good point re: checking stuff. I should have been more clear on that...I meant you ask the seller to ship the item gift-wrapped to your gift recipient. Granted, this way you will not be able to check the gift ahead of time, so you're going to have to take it on faith that the gift will work ...check the seller's feedback, etc. There is an Etsy seller whose work I know and love, so I am confident asking her to ship purchases to the gift recipient. From my personal experiences, the wrapping Etsy and some Bonanza sellers have done has been very special and charming..usually very creative. But granted, this won't be for everyone. :)  

Cyber 2 Weeks: 5 Ways to Compete with Big Box Stores   Cyber 2 Weeks: 5 Ways to Compete with Big Box Stores

This user has validated their user name. by: juliawww
Web Site

Tue Nov 27 11:18:18 2012

LOL...Tula, thanks for chiming in..I am where you are...still listing stuff! I got a lot listed, but what can I say...it seems I always have stuff to list. Trying to at least get the rest of my holiday-oriented stuff up today. Little holiday-greens-selling figurines, anyone? ;)

Cyber 2 Weeks: 5 Ways to Compete with Big Box Stores   Cyber 2 Weeks: 5 Ways to Compete with Big Box Stores

This user has validated their user name. by: iheartjacksparrow

Tue Nov 27 21:53:18 2012

I'm also still madly listing items. I'm hoping to have everything done by this weekend. Unfortunately, I'm always more motivated when I'm under a time constraint. And I'm another seller that has items for buyers themselves and not to give as gifts. Right now my house looks like there was an explosion as there are piles of stuff everywhere waiting to be photographed.
 

Cyber 2 Weeks: 5 Ways to Compete with Big Box Stores   Cyber 2 Weeks: 5 Ways to Compete with Big Box Stores

by: Massachusets Howler This user has validated their user name.

Wed Dec 5 18:49:54 2012

We used to be able to charge extra (like it should be) for gift-wrapping at Christmastime- OF course this benifitted sellers so it was discontinued by JD.
Julie- do you know how much paper and ribbon COSTS us? Do you UNDERSTAND that when an item is gift-wrapped it must go into an even bigger box so the wrapping dosen't get messed up?
You do know that ebay USED to let us charge for this and now they do not?
All this stuff is MEANINGLESS if we do not get the EXPOSURE we pay for, and that without that fair exposure, we get barely ANYTHING for our items and definately cannot AFFORD to add these services.
Julie this is EARTH and we are working in JD's ebay- please understand and give us something we can use- Okay?
All due respect, we don't need FLUFF here- we need support and SOLUTIONS.
Thanks Julie,
Mass Howler

Cyber 2 Weeks: 5 Ways to Compete with Big Box Stores   Cyber 2 Weeks: 5 Ways to Compete with Big Box Stores

by: Massachusets Howler This user has validated their user name.

Wed Dec 5 18:56:29 2012

If ebay really wanted to compete they would come up with a solution for sellers to be able to ship to different gift address and be PROTECTED.
(we don't want to COMPETE with big stores because we BEAT THEM on PRICE and SERVICE everytime- WE WANT OUR USED ITEMS SHOWN EVENLY as that is what we pay for and IF THEY WERE NOBODY WOULD BUY FROM THE BIG BOYS- the Big boys cannot COMPETE with us so JD gives them TOTAL EXPOSURE and gives us MINIMAL EXPOSURE- WHO wants to or can compete with this??- ANYBODY?- Chirp chirp).
Mass Howler



Login is required to post comments.
To sign in to leave a comment using your AB Verify User Name, fill in the form below. If you have not yet signed up for AB Verify, or if you'd like more information, go to the Registration Page
.

Login for AB Verify
Be sure and use your email address and password to log in.

 
Email:
Password:
 
 Forgot Your Password?
 Even though you are signed in with the AuctionBytes Blog, you will have to sign in to the EcommerceBytes blog. But you can sign in with your existing AB Verify info.