Business, Customer Succcess, Marketing

How to compete against large retail chains and eCommerce giants?

3 tips to survive and succeed with your SMB

3 tips to survive and succeed with your SMB against giants


Surviving in today’s market isn’t an easy feat. Large retail chains and eCommerce giants such as Walmart and Amazon seem to easily overpower businesses of small and medium-sized local stores and retailers. With these retail giants visible everywhere and easily ranking number one on any retail related Google search, it may seem like you’re fighting a losing battle. In this battle, it doesn’t matter if you’re a small chain with 5 stores, or a mom and pop store, the battle is real. And the threat to every small owner staring up at a retail giant is the same.

But what if I told you that your size can be used to your advantage?

That there are perks to being a smaller retailer?

Read on to find my 3 tips to survive and succeed with your SMB against giants from retail and eCommerce giants and use what seem like disadvantages to your benefit.


  1. Firstly, Know your customer!

When you’re a smaller retail owner, it is possible to notice everyone who comes to your store. Build up a rapport with them, understand who they are and what they want from your store. There is definitely a reason for them to have picked you out from all the competition, learn what sets you apart in your customers’ minds and be the best at providing it. Humans love interaction, and as a small company, you are in the position to give it to your customers. Make them feel seen and special, be genuine about it, and they’ll be coming back. Learn more about customer success tricks you can easily implement here.


  1. Next, Provide a brand of service that Amazon and cohorts cannot possibly offer.

That’s right, who said everything is lost just because you’re small in size? You can leverage your size to provide closer attention and better service to your customers. Small business owners are in the privileged position of being able to customize their services to the needs of their purchasers. You can guarantee personal and trust-worthy service– the larger retailer cannot. Let your premium and personal service be your unique selling proposition – let this be the reason they keep returning to you!

Here are a few tips to be the best service provider!

  • Learn what your customers need beyond just the basic purchase.

For example, if they come to buy cat food from you, understand what breed of cat they have and the best food and nutrition you can offer to this pet.

  • Offer additional support. Learn what you can do to ensure they continuously purchase from you.

For example, if they visit you every Sunday morning to buy cat food, maybe you can include them in your weekend delivery service. This way, they get their product with zero effort from their part.

  • Learn what else they need from your portfolio and be the best at offering it.

For example, if they come to buy cat food, also have chewy toys and pet bowls available in the aisle. If you follow these steps in your servicing process, you give your customers no reason to leave you and more reasons to keep returning.


  1. Thirdly, You have to expand your reach if you want to compete with large retailers.

What do I need to expand the reach of my online store?

If you sell a specialized product or service, eCommerce is the best way to expand your reach beyond your physical store.

  • Firstly, you’ll need an easy-to-navigate, responsive website that showcases what you offer at a glance
  • Equally important are well promoted Social Media Distribution channels leading up to your website or online store

Armed with these, you are ready to make a name for yourself beyond the limits of your city.

The more specialized your product, the greater the chance for you to develop a larger, more far-residing market. After all, this has been the business model of wine producers all over the world. It doesn’t matter where you live, chances are, you’ve tasted wines from France, Germany, and California.


What if I only have offline customers?

This might seem to stump you, but it needn’t. Given the right opportunity and benefits, you can convert anyone to become a recurring online buyer. Customers love it when they can physically visit your store and test your product offline. Nothing gives peace of mind than being able to try-on an actual shoe, without fretting over whether it would fit or not when making a purchase online. Once your customers have researched your product offline, give them reasons to purchase your product online through discount codes applicable either on your eCommerce store or an affiliate site.

For example, how simple it is to provide every customer who walks into your store a printed card with a discount code to be used online. Anyone who walks into your store, regardless of whether they make a purchase or not, can receive this little present. Chances are, they would want to take advantage of the online discount. Now, not only have you made a sale, but you also earned a customer! By providing them a discount code that would unlock special prices either on your own online store or a large online partner store such as Amazon, you’re turning visitors into customers.

The best thing about it?

Now they don’t have to physically be in your store to purchase your product, you have introduced them to the act of purchasing your products online. By doing so, you have expanded your business reach. Now this is what we call a win-win situation. You’ve added value to your customer by providing them better prices, you have already built a relationship with them through this process, and you have also extended your reach beyond just the corner of your street.



About Maurice

Maurice Hofmann is a serial entrepreneur, marketing and digital marketing specialist, who is known for his innovative drive as well as his ability to lead cross functional teams to achieve the highest level of success. In his 20 year spanning career, he has experienced all aspects of marketing, working in various global roles spreading across TV production, Army ‘Psychological Operations, as an owner of a Brand Experience agency or as a leader of marketing departments for several software companies, start-ups and as a M

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