This news is like a dagger in the heart for small ecommerce stores like me. Amazon is hard enough to fight but what's going to happen when you have these to giants in the same war competing against all of us small shops. [foxbusiness.com...]
When I started this shop, I remember thinking I would have to figure out how to beat the prices of the big presences in my niche, which are basically franchises. I didn't want to sell their products, because frankly they are garbage. I thought I could produce something that was better and still cost less. What ended up happening was that my shop become more and more like work, and I had to deal with customers who just complained about why isn't this product as cheap as it is at Joe's Kut-Rate Krap. Or in the immortal words of a would-be customer, "I can get ambergris oil for $2.99 from this other place. Why should I pay $5.00 for yours? And yours isn't even real ambergris!" I learned that I had charge MORE, not less. In ten or so years, the price of Joe's Kut-Rate Ambergris Oil has inched up to $3.99--and it's worth every cent.:) Mine has jumped to almost fourteen and I have cut the size down twice. Once in a while, someone still asks me why mine is so much more. "Because mine is better," I say, and I explain what is better about it (which info is also on the page, but some people just want to express their incredulity at my prices--normally, I can convince them that they are merited).
I've run into the same issue with retail vs. wholesale. B&M shops have asked me to wholesale to them, but after once selling a shop 300 bottles of the same oil for a discount, I haven't done it again. I hated doing it, because it felt like working in a factory. I don't want to do more work for less money. Life is too short to spend too much time working.:)
So I say if the big guys want to get bigger, let them. There are indeed customers who want nothing but $2.99 ambergris oil. And then there are those who understand what a good faux ambergris oil is worth. THOSE are the people I want for customers.
What the large companies cannot easily replicate is the fanatical customer service. I like what Gary Vaynerchuk has to talk about. Start leveraging social media to build relationships with your customers as the old school marketing formula that large corporations have relied on for the last 5 decades is breaking.
Gary Vaynerchuk Quotes from The Thank You Economy
“We live in a world where anyone with a computer can have an online presence and a voice.”
“It’s not the number of followers you have or “likes” you get, it’s the strength of the bond with your followers.”
“Use social media to create an opportunity for engagement, not to force it.”
“There are too many businesses that are still holding back, watching the social media train rush by…”
There are other ways you can compete especially in terms of price, even if you are small. There are some important factors though, you need to take into account. For instance location, international market, methods of payment.
Somebody posted earlier on about the MSRP problem, there are ways around it without breaking the manufacturer contract or any law. A customer can pay in different ways but one of them can via an intermediate entity in case there is a price advantage and that puts you off the hook but you still make the sale with the total you want.
Same goes for location. Take for example Amazon. Yes they're big but perhaps you can compete with Amazon UK prices if you sell in EU from US. You cannot buy something from Amazon US and send it to UK assuming the product exists, you can only purchase domestically.
Then many european economies have ridiculous tax rates, forcing customers to look for alternatives online anywhere. Compare online hosting in North America vs Europe (is not an exception) and there are many other opportunities. IMO the sale price is a critical factor for pushing your business forward.
If you are truly running out of products and there is no way to create more value so that you may command a higher price. Then you need to diversify. Study your competition and do what they are not doing or do what they do but only better.
When Amazon came and wanted us to sell on their site it was going to cost us (back then) 18% or better. I figured for 18% I can be better priced than Amazon if need be.
Something else you might consider. Many companies have IMAP pricing (Internet Minimum Advertised Pricing) that puts everyone on an even playing field so nobody can under cut anybody else. If you're good at SEO niche marketing you can get a lot of business.