Competing With Amazon As The Underdog
Amazon has established itself as the bell of the ball in the retail world. More than 100 million customers visit the retailer’s website each and every month during peak periods, according to comScore, and it is not unusual to see Amazon selling more than 420 items per second, TheVerge reported. But Amazon is not just about hitting the big numbers either – the company is renowned for its efficiency. Despite selling to so many people, the merchant provides excellent customer service and timely deliveries on all orders.
So, how can other merchants possibly compete with Amazon? It is a tall task and there is no easy solution – if there was, other companies would have already done it. While other sellers are constantly looking for ways to improve, Amazon is often one-step ahead, taking measures such as implementing robots in distribution centers to expedite order fulfillment.
However, competing with Amazon is not impossible. In fact, the rise of new retail technologies and solutions have actually made it easier for smaller merchants to sell their products quickly and effectively, and at competitive prices as well. In the past, merchants would have had to spend millions of dollars just getting the infrastructure in place to compete with a giant such as Amazon. However, by leveraging better order management and fulfillment tools, combined with a network of third-party logistics providers, sellers can be competitive and at a fraction of the cost.
Shipping orders anywhere, efficiently
Amazon is known for providing prompt delivery, particularly to Amazon Prime subscribers who get free two-day shipping on all purchases. However, by flexing a network of third-party logistics providers and utilizing the flexibility of brick-and-mortar store locations, many merchants can meet similar delivery standards.
Prompt delivery starts by using order management and inventory management systems that can quickly evaluate inventory levels and fulfillment location proximity to customers and decide on the optimal shipping location in the blink of an eye.
For instance, if a retailer receives an online order from a shopper who lives just a half mile away, why not send the item from a nearby physical store? This may reduce shipping costs and help get the purchase to the customer quickly. If the customer is not that close, merchants should be able to identify other alternatives, such as using drop shippers to fulfill the order quickly and effectively. Going the drop shipper route may mean reduced margins, but at the same time, it also leads to better customer satisfaction.
The key is utilizing solutions that make this level of intelligent decision-making routine and simple. In years past, trying to decide whether to use a drop shipper, in-store inventory or any other source would have been complex. Now, this can all be handled automatically by using pre-programmed logic that will make the right decision every time.
Competing with Amazon requires intelligence and efficiency
The automated order fulfillment and location selection process is just one of the ways merchants can improve their ability to compete with other brand-name sellers, but there are other options as well. The key lies in intelligence and efficiency – if retailers want to compete, they need to prioritize these two facets and implement processes and technology that enhance these two areas through eCommerce operations. Greater efficiency and intelligence can be applied to everything from smoother customer service to inventory receiving, so it is pivotal that retailers look to do so if they want to compete.