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BizReport : Ecommerce archives : June 22, 2015

How smaller retailers can compete online

The online space can be a huge help to smaller retailers - it can bring in new customers, it can help older customers reconnect. But, the online space is filled with larger brands with bigger budgets.

by Kristina Knight

Kristina: It has always been hard for smaller retailers to find their niche in the online space. What do these retailers need to do to compete?

Bruno Leveque, CEO & Founder, PrestaShop: There's no doubt that smaller, niche retailers face tough competition from larger retailers and marketplaces, such as Amazon, but it is possible - and relatively simple - for online stores to stand out from these ecommerce giants. First and foremost, small retailers need to play to the advantages their size provides, rather than seeking to compete on the same playing field as the giants. Small retailers typically occupy a niche where they have a great deal of expertise. These niche players should leverage that expertise to help customers better understand their products via premium, personalized customer service, rather than the computer-generated support systems many of the larger companies deploy. Many consumers today desire and expect a "boutique" feel when shopping, which small retailers are perfectly suited to provide. These retailers can also enhance their standing within a particular space by actively supporting a charitable cause that aligns with their products. Additionally, retailers who are looking to truly stand out from the crowd - especially those competing against their peers on crowded sites like Etsy and EBay - require their own space on the Internet in the form of a unique website. While marketplace sites are a great way to boost sales, brands that want to truly stand out from the crowd must have a space where they can completely own their identities and provide a truly personalized experience to consumers.

Kristina: PrestaShop powers the Indie Soul site, which received a lot of attention after begin featured with Sports Illustrated. What kind of bump did the Indie Soul store see?

Bruno: On the first day that the swimsuit edition of Sports Illustrated hit newsstands, traffic to Indie Soul's online web store increased five-fold in only 24-hours, so they saw a significant bump in traffic almost immediately. In less than two weeks after the cover was unveiled, the brand saw double-digit sales growth on the site and received over 100 pre-orders for the cover suit - from Miami to Australia to the Middle East - and continues to see steady increases in product sales and revenue.

Kristina: How did PrestaShop help them handle the new attention?

Bruno: Indie Soul's web store was able to seamlessly manage the influx of traffic and sales following the Sports Illustrated cover, supported by PrestaShop's strong, reliable and innovative ecommerce technology. PrestaShop merchants benefit from innovation and support from PrestaShop, and from its 800,000 member open-source community, who are dedicated to consistently improving and enhancing the PrestaShop platform. This success highlights the platform's ability to effectively scale and adapt to increases in traffic and sales - critical for today's ecommerce retailers who need to capitalize on every sale opportunity.

Kristina: What are your top tips for independent sellers to thrive online?

Bruno: Independent sellers need to develop a unique online presence in order to succeed online, and the technologies exist to help them do so. Gone are the days when retailers can produce stale, generic web stores and still effectively attract and retain customers around the globe. Fortunately, today's independent sellers have access to innovative ecommerce, marketing and analytics technology that help them build unique and customized stores, establish and grow their online presence, target new clients, create and manage loyalty programs, collect and analyze data for better marketing, expand globally, and much more. Incorporating these elements are critical to online success and merchants should capitalize to ensure they are creating customized online stores that provide personalized, boutique-style experiences to consumers, and then effectively reach and engage with those consumers to build loyalty and continually growth their business.

Image via Shutterstock

Tags: ecommerce, ecommerce tips, ecommerce trends, online retail tips, PrestaShop

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