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5 Ways to Tap Into Your Small Business Superpowers and Compete With Larger Rivals

Small business owners turn deep product knowledge and personal touches into competitive advantage that can’t be replicated by much larger companies.

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BY Dan Breeden - 06 Dec 2017

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

Whether you're just starting out or a seasoned veteran, being a small business owner means having to compete with big box retailers like Amazon, Best Buy and eBay -- especially during the holiday shopping season. And while it sometimes might seem difficult to succeed in a world where these companies just seem to keep getting more and more popular with consumers, small businesses have many unique opportunities to stand out from the larger competition.

 

From selling products in which you have expertise to adding personal touches to every order, below are 5 tactics you can implement to compete and stand out against larger rivals.

 

  1. Sell product you know best. In a recent study Yahoo Small Business conducted with customers, 24 percent of small business owners said this was their top tactic to getting in front of big retailers. Large retailers like Amazon sell everything, from books and mugs to electronics and clothes. But what they don't have is the expertise on a single type of item they're selling. Instead of trying to compete with Amazon by selling everything under the sun, hone in on one or a few types of product that you know really well. Customers will feel comfortable gravitating towards your store because they know they're buying from experts.

  2. Add a personal touch to every order. Whether it's a handwritten thank you note, personalized stickers, or hand wrapped items, this level of customer service is something only small businesses can provide, and it goes a long way in delighting and creating returning buyers.

  3. Offer more item-specific information for each product. Large sites have a decided upon level of information that they include about each product online, and they likely can't expand much outside of that. Here's where you can stand out by including more item-specific information about each product you're selling. From videos of a person wearing the item to additional images of the product that look at every angle in different lighting, there are many ways you can give the customer a closer and more in-depth look at something so they feel even more confident in their purchase.

  4. Manufacture your own products. In an effort to sell as much as possible to as many people as possible, it's very rare that big retailers manufacture their own products. By owning this part of your business, you can cut costs as well as have complete control over the quantity and quality of items on your site.
  5. Provide a more personal, person-to-person customer experience. Let's face it, customers are tired of talking to customer service bots and dealing with automated calls. Providing person-to-person customer service, whether that's over email, on the phone, or on social adds a level of trust and reliability for customers that a chatbot just can't provide.