Competing with Amazon
COVID-19 has accelerated the move of customers from in-person to online shopping. Learn what you can do to compete with online giants to retain your customers with personalized service.
For the past five years, Amazon’s revenue has increased year-over-year by at least 20%. As this online giant continues to grow and dominate consumer sales, many small businesses and brick and mortar stores are feeling the impact.
With their massive wealth of resources and consumer market influence, what can you offer that’s better than Amazon? Here are the top 7 strategies to create a loyal customer base that picks you over Amazon, every time.
1. Provide Personalized Consultations
While Amazon sellers inform consumers of product benefits and use via product descriptions, videos, and images, nothing quite beats a tailored 1-on-1 consultation with an experienced product expert. In a personal consultation, customers can ask questions that are unique to them.
Create an environment where customers can easily stop in and meet with someone well-educated on the products they need. Promote the benefits of being able to see and touch the products in-person. If customers are unable to come into the store, make sure, they can receive the same level of personalized attention from a phone or virtual consultation.
2. Offer a Flexible Return Policy on Relevant Products
Most Amazon items are eligible for return within 30-days of receipt of delivery. Amazon’s global return policy states it can take up to 25 days for a returned item to reach Amazon, and then after it is received, it takes an additional two business days for the refund to be processed. Once the refund is processed, it will take 3-5 business days for the refund to show up in a customer’s account. This means that a customer may be waiting over a month for a refund from a returned item!
Use this to your advantage. For items that are eligible for return, promote the fact that in-store returns at your store begin to process immediately, ensuring funds are given back to the customer sooner. If it’s feasible for your business, consider extending return windows on eligible items beyond 30 days for superior customer experience.
3. Reward Loyal Customers
The only recurring customer benefit that Amazon currently offers is a 5%-15% discount on select items, denoted by a “subscribe and save” option on a product’s detail page.
While this is a benefit to Amazon customers, it lacks in comparison to other loyalty programs a dealer or retailer could offer. Here are some examples:
- For every $X spent, receive $X in-store credit
- For every $X spent, receive X% off coupon for next purchase
- For every (specific number) of (product A) purchased, receive (1 product A) free
- Refer a friend, get a $X coupon to use on your next purchase
Another way to uplift and reward loyal customers is to host customer appreciation days. During these days, you can offer special discounts, door prizes, and raffles. This will not only encourage customers to come to visit the store on appreciation days and encourage them to shop, but it also serves as a unique and special event they will remember.
4. Add Personalization to Home Deliveries
When a package arrives from Amazon, it is typically just the ordered product inside and nothing else. While this meets the need of the customer, it does not provide anything unique or memorable.
Consider adding experiences that surprise and delight customers. You can do this by including a hand-written note thanking a customer for their purchase, hoping they enjoy it, and to call or email with any questions. Another unexpected, pleasant surprise could be including a free sample of a relevant product pairing. For example, if they ordered two boxes of incontinence briefs, try adding a free sample of a booster pad.
5. Offer Samples
Another thing that Amazon does not do, but you could do is offer samples. Samples work fantastic on certain products like incontinence supplies. Perhaps a customer is unsure if he or she prefers a brief or pull-on disposable underwear. A sample is a great way to test out both options without committing to purchasing a full bag of each! Similarly, this could be helpful if a customer is unsure about their level of incontinence and whether they need a light, medium, or heavy level of absorbency to stay protected from leakage. This is another example where a sample of several products come in handy. It not only offers the customer cost savings, but it also allows them to test products to find what is the best fit for them.
Tranquility Products have sample trays that serve this exact purpose. Click here to request your free sample tray today!
6. Send a Birthday Acknowledgement
Make customers feel special and recognized on their birthday. Collect birthdays of your customers and send them a note on their special day! Whether it is an email or a mailed postcard, this gesture shows you care and builds your brand loyalty.
The other advantage of collecting birthdays is that you will have insights into the average age demographic of your customers. You will be able to tailor your marketing and messaging to fit the demographic and create more custom, relevant experiences for your customers.
Recognizing important dates doesn’t have to be limited to just birthdays. If you know a customer has an important anniversary or special event coming up in their life, celebrate those moments with a personalized message. To date, this is not something that Amazon practices, but is absolutely something that a customer values.
7. Offer Relevant Bundles
Consider offering bundles for customers. Bundles should include two or more complementary products and are a great way to increase the average order value for your store, influence overall revenue, and move more inventory.
To benefit the customer and entice them to purchase, consider offering a small additional discount on the bundle. This approach can also introduce customers to new products they otherwise would not have tried, and then become loyal to purchasing. For example, consider adding a discounted pack of Tranquility Cleansing Wipes with any case-sized order of Tranquility incontinence briefs or disposable absorbant underwears.
Have questions? Fill out the form and a Tranquility Representative will reach out to you.