|Mon Nov 26 2012 16:16:46|
Cyber 2 Weeks: 5 Ways to Compete with Big Box Stores
By: Julia Wilkinson
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!