One Step Ahead: How Smaller E-Commerce Stores Can Compete With The Big Boys

Andre Smith

Modern business, particularly online business, is all about customer experience. Companies are going the extra mile to ensure the best customer experience is reached every time. In Part 9 of our Digitally Transforming Industries series, we saw how small and midsize enterprises can now deliver Amazon-like customer experiences with the help of tech-driven solutions and better distributor-customer relationships.

Take a quick look at the market and you will see how there are plenty of opportunities for small businesses to compete with bigger players that go further than a good SEO campaign. Streamlining customer experiences and providing consistently positive engagement are the two ways to be a step more competitive.

Personalized shopping experience

E-commerce stores are now designed to provide customers with a truly personalized shopping experience. It started with advertising and the use of Big Data to target better ads. If you do a quick search for a hotel in Las Vegas, for instance, the next Agoda and ads you see will be for hotel deals in Las Vegas.

Big Data is enabling small and medium enterprises to provide a much more personalized customer experience. Landing pages can be customized to suit the individual customer, putting products they are actually searching for front and center while highlighting promotional offers that suit the customer perfectly.

It goes beyond displaying relevant products, too. Every part of the online or mobile shopping experience can now be customized with the help of Big Data analysis and better customer relationship management.

Improved conversion with good UX

There is another big advantage that small businesses can gain from fine-tuning their user experience: improved conversion rates. Studies across the industry reveal that shorter and smoother checkout processes can help lower dropped carts and abandoned transactions by up to 80%. For bigger e-commerce entities, altering their checkout process is not always easy. This is where small and medium enterprises can gain an advantage.

There are online stores that allow customers to complete their purchase in just one step; yes, one step! All of the required details are gathered securely and conveniently to ensure a smooth shopping experience. After the first purchase, customers don’t even have to worry about entering shipping details or making adjustments to the shopping cart.

The one-step checkout is made possible through the use of smarter Web elements. Fields can be customized based on the customer’s needs. The approach itself is compatible with popular e-commerce platforms.

The introduction of machine learning

Many believe that machine learning will be the domain of large corporations and big businesses. Today, however, machine learning is more accessible than ever, allowing small businesses to benefit from open-source AI projects and affordable solutions.

The possibilities with machine learning are endless. The entire customer experience can be tailored to suit each individual customer perfectly. Simple things such as suggested products and promotional offers can be made immensely accurate, boosting their level of effectiveness and increasing conversion even further.

These are just some of the instruments that small businesses can use to gain that extra step ahead of the competition. The impact on customer engagement and profitability will be even greater.

To learn how your business can better prepare for the digital economy, check out IDC’s industry brief, “Retail: Small and Midsize Retailers Can Drive Revenue, Efficiency, and Loyalty with Smart Adoption of Advanced Technology,” sponsored by SAP. Be sure to visit Digitally Transforming Industries to explore the various leadership roles in today’s growing small and midsize companies.

About Andre Smith

Andre Smith is an Internet, marketing, and e-commerce specialist with several years of experience in the industry. He has watched as the world of online business has grown and adapted to new technologies, and he has made it his mission to help keep businesses informed and up to date.