What’s happening in online retail?
There continue to be important new developments in online retail sales even after the nearly twenty years since commerce went online.
Brick and mortar retailers continue to struggle. Former powerhouses like Best Buy and Barnes and Noble appear to be in trouble largely due to their inability to compete effectively with Amazon and other online retailers.
An increase in the advantages offered by Amazon is close by as they roll out same day delivery in select markets. Walmart is also test marketing same day. Why go to a store at all?
Starting an online store has never been easier. sem[c] has worked successfully with a number of businesses creating online stores with Shopify. Can small retailers compete successfully with the giants? The answer is a qualified “yes”. As in any competition the underdog needs to promote an effective point of distinction.
Google AdWords has given retailers even more powerful online ad capabilities with their recent changes to their Product Listing Ads. This gives even more precision control to the marketing reach of even the smallest online store.
What is a good strategy for such a store? How do you position it for success?
A small online store will offer a curated collection of items for sale. The nature of that curation will be one point of distinction. Some other areas that can be promoted as distinctions include price, unique selections and service.
Price is a very important distinction. Being the highest in a list of retailers offering similar or the same product will be unlikely to lead to very many sales. Being the lowest in the same list might lead to sales but definitely cuts your margin. Large firms like Amazon and Walmart change their prices continuously during peak retail seasons like Black Friday and Monday.
Your store will not have the same type of pricing problem if you offer unique items. This is possible in a number of different ways like bundling or white labeling. Being able to offer one-of-a-kind anything requires a great deal of creativity and can involve a great deal of risk. It may require a Kickstarter finance campaign.