While the internet offers nearly limitless opportunities for small businesses to succeed, there’s also a great deal of competition in the market. This especially holds true for small online companies that are in direct competition with big-name retailers that tend to eclipse their competitors. If you’re looking for ways to stand out against big retailers as a small company online, then read on for some key tips that can help you out.

Be Unique

Most consumers know that the one-size-fits-all approach leaves a lot to be desired, and according to Constant Contact, this is one area where small businesses have their larger competitors beat. You can appeal to your customer base’s desire for a personal touch by offering unique products that don’t seem so mass-produced. Your goal here is to find a niche and market your unique appeal to people who want to buy something special. Offer your customers something that they can’t get from bigger retailers, and emphasize that point when you advertise your products.

Free Shipping

One bonus that’s sure to add a great deal of desirability to any e-commerce store is the convenience of free shipping. Unfortunately, this is one area where smaller companies tend to struggle. According to Benson & Bingham, big companies like Amazon get away with free shipping by relying on a network of contractors and subcontractors that might not be an option for small retailers. Even though you may not have access to the same resources that larger companies use to make this perk so commonly available, consider compromising in order to stay competitive. One of the best ways for smaller online retailers to maximize the benefits of offering free shipping while keeping it financially feasible is to restrict it to larger orders. An added benefit of this approach is that it will also motivate many customers to make larger purchases.

Focus on Ethics and Social Responsibility

Many people are choosing to shop at smaller online retailers nowadays because they disagree with the business practices of larger companies and massive corporations. You can take advantage of this cultural shift by drawing attention to areas of your company where you’ve made an effort to be more ethical. If your online company only sells items that are acquired through fair trade, then let your customers know. The same goes for any steps you’ve taken to reduce your company’s carbon footprint by using recycled materials or only sourcing from eco-friendly manufacturers. As environmental concerns continue to rise, more and more consumers are looking for ways to make their lives greener. If your online retail company meets the demand for eco-friendly products or handmade items that shun emissions-heavy factory production, then these are aspects that you should highlight.

It can be tricky for smaller online companies to keep up with big retailers, but there are a few things you can do in order to firmly establish your value to potential customers. First, be unique so that your customers immediately recognize that you offer products or services that larger companies don’t. Additionally, make room in your budget to offer free or discounted shipping to customers who make large purchases. Last but not least, draw attention to any areas in your business practice in which you’re socially responsible and ethical.

Related: 3 Tricks to Help Improve Online Business Growth

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