If you currently operate or plan on opening an ecommerce startup, there’s no way to avoid thinking about major competitors like Amazon. Amazon commands a huge share of online sales and traffic, so it may actually seem like your startup has no chance at competing with such a colossal corporation. That doesn’t have to be the case, however, especially when you use these tips to upgrade your business and connect with more customers.

Refresh Your Website and Mobile App

Aside from free shipping (more on how to compete with this later), one of the things that keeps online shoppers coming back to Amazon is the user-friendliness and simplicity of Amazon’s website and app. With a few clicks or taps, you can add items to your cart or checkout instantly, which makes this one of the most efficient ways for customers to shop for the products they need and want.

To compete with Amazon and other online retailers, you need to make sure your website and accompanying app are up to the task. If you don’t have the skills to overhaul your website on your own, work with an experienced web design professional like Brandon McCloskey who will be able to create an engaging and responsive website for your business. You also want to be sure that your designer understands what sort of website updates you would like to make to increase profits, so communicate your intentions clearly.

Is Free Shipping Right for You?

When it comes to important competitive advantages, don’t overlook Amazon’s ability to fulfill and ship orders so quickly. Customers do enjoy the ability to order for same and next-day delivery without it costing any more than the price shown online. This might not be practical for your business, however, but, if you offer quality products, you don’t necessarily need to offer free shipping.

Before you consider implementing Amazon’s business practices for your own startup, think of ways to reduce shipping costs for your customers instead. That may include researching prices for USPS, UPS and FedEx or using these service providers on a case-by-case basis. Of course, if you want to offer free shipping, you might consider rolling shipping costs into the prices of your business’s online products. Just don’t feel pressured to keep up in this arena, especially if you bring something extra to the table, such as expertise and personal service.

Promote Your Business

As Forbes points out, retail giants like Amazon have another advantage over smaller online competitors: their ability to monopolize marketing tools. Because Amazon is so powerful and influential, the company has incredible influence over publishers and advertisers that help drive up profits for this ecommerce behemoth.

While your startup may not be able to exert that same influence, you can use some simple marketing strategies to effectively promote your ecommerce business for a lot less. For instance, if you hire a professional web designer to help you with your ecommerce site, you can always ask that individual to focus on SEO optimization for your small business. Community events, email marketing and old-fashioned networking can also work, but one of the most powerful and cost-effective marketing tools that small businesses can use is social media. Social media allows you to connect directly with your customers and forge personalized relationships that Amazon simply cannot compete against.

Choose the Right Entity

When you register your business with the state, you’ll have the option of choosing a limited liability company (LLC), corporation, or sole proprietorship. As a COVIDpreneur, opting for an LLC gives you tax advantages, reduces the amount of paperwork you’ll need to process, and shields you from litigation. Whichever entity you choose for your business, you can simplify the process by using a formation service.

Launching an ecommerce startup in the age of Amazon can be intimidating. Despite Amazon’s dominance of the retail sector, your new business can still survive and thrive. Find ways to compete and set your shop apart from major retailers, and you’ll enjoy your share of success.

Photo Credit: Unsplash

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