While big businesses such as Amazon.com dominate the e-commerce landscape, the fastest growing online retailers are the mid-sized retailers. These are the retailers that typically make about $5 million to $13 million in annual sales. According to the Internet Retailer magazine, these web merchants increased their sales by around 17.9%, compared to the 12.8% growth posted by the top 100 online retailers.
The secret to their success?
They focus on a narrow niche and provide the widest selections, lowest prices and best services for customers interested in those products.
Rather than offer some things to everybody, these retailers focus instead on providing everything to somebody. Take Coolibar.com, which sells sun protective clothing, hats and UV protection swimwear to those diagnosed with skin disease or those who do not want sun damage.
Or Gemvara.com, which sells jewelry that shoppers can customize to their taste. It is not your traditional jewelry store, as all jewelry pieces are put together and designed by the customer to give them the product that they want.
From the fastest growing mid sized ecommerce stores, here are the strategies to succeed in online retailing:
- These successful retailers focus on a very specific type of product, and use the broad reach of the Internet to find many customers who need or want that product.
- They are passionate about their niches, and extremely focused on what allows them to be different and stand out from their competitors
- They understand their limitations, such as their lack of brand recognition of an Amazon or Walmart, and find ways to work around those issues.
- They focus on dominating the search engines for their vertical niches, by getting natural links from authority sites including .edu and .gov institutions.
- They strive to provide original content that helps convey to customers that they understand their problems. They write their own product descriptions (as against copying the descriptions provided by suppliers), and post original content on their blog such as tips and personal stories from customers.
- They deliver a shopping experience that makes customers buy. But more importantly, they strive to ensure that customers return and recommend the site to others.
- They aim to be competitive with their prices, by developing long-standing relationships with suppliers that allows them to sell many items at lower prices compared to their competitors.