Happy New Year everyone! Hope you’re all doing great. We’re still hearing constant news of economic slowdown and the never-ending budget woes coupled with stock markets bouncing around. But one thing has certainly remained constant. Consumers are spending more and more on online shopping year on year. Last year had some pretty impressive figures to show when it came to all the Black Friday, Thanksgiving, Cyber Monday and holiday shopping season.
Figures from ComScore.com showed that Black Friday 2012 sales topped $1.042 billion in online sales (who says people were cutting back on spending??) an increase of 26% compared to Black Friday 2011 ($816 million). Cyber Monday 2012 shopping figures went over the roof as well with an increase of 17% ($1.46 billion in online sales overtaking Black Friday!). Quite impressive considering the amount of moolah that was transacted in a day.
Now that being said, most of the money went to big time retailers like Amazon, Walmart, BestBuy, Target and Apple. In reality, what happened to the small and medium sized businesses? Many are struggling to compete with these big guns as they can’t afford to offer crazy prices like these retailers who keep slashing prices to the bone. So what can they do?
Target emerging markets or niche markets. If you find that your target market is over-saturated with competitors that offer products and services at ridiculous pricing which you can’t compete with, choose to move on and target a different market and customer group.
Offer a different kind of service. Revamp your business. Consider selling your products to other countries. Did you know that many countries outside the United States have tonnes of consumers that would love to purchase items offered within the States? The only setback is not because they can’t buy the product but because there’s no international shipping offered to them. And even if there were international shipping offered, the rates were too ridiculous to be true (for example, the shipping cost more than the product!).
Or consumers in these countries were unaware that such amazing products and services actually exist. Make your business more visible in these countries and offer affordable international shipping. The sky’s the limit actually. Emerging markets like South America, certain countries in Africa, India and China have tremendous opportunities for online stores to offer their consumers products which they could never get in their own country. The middle income group has a lot of purchasing power. Think about it. Try a different pond. Change your target group of customers. There are bigger fishes (and different ones) out there to catch. Have a go at it.
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