How to Win at eCommerce: Online Retail as a Small Local Business

Small business eCommerce shops can win against big retailers by leveraging their own special strengths. Becky McCray explains how.

Are you getting into eCommerce for the first time as a small business? Here is Becky McCray’s cheat sheet for winning online as a local retailer. To dig deeper into these strategies, watch her Commerce Journey webinar. πŸ“Ί

A small business can compete with big online stores by using their own eCommerce strategies against them! πŸ›’

  1. Give your customers a lot of information about your products.
  2. Recommend and suggest related items.Β 
  3. Recommend items from other retailers. Start a pop-up mini store inside yours.
  4. Deliver!
  5. Offer automatic, scheduled orders or deliveries by subscription.
    1. Add a note in your cart offering these conveniences.
    2. Lower the barrier β€” let customers email you andΒ  say β€œI’d like regular deliveries of this item.”
    3. Follow up and establish the schedule.
  6. Take orders from mobile customers. Let customers order by text message/SMS, email, messenger, Instagram, etc. Β 

Winning eCommerce strategies for a small business:

Trick Alexa! πŸ€–Β 

Your customers don’t ask Alexa to place an order. They ask her to send you a message.

To do this, your customers just have to add you to their contacts. 

Subscription Boxes 🎁

Build on the strength of knowing your customers and being more innovative than Amazon:

  • Create personalized boxes.
  • Build a community-wide email list.
    • Band together with other local businesses and take turns running your promotions.

Your Special Strengths as a Local Retailer

Only you:

  • Get to know your customers, their needs and wants.
  • Have fewer layers and can be more flexible. 
  • Share your knowledge. 
  • Innovate. 
  • Benefit the local community. 

These are your natural advantages over retail giants. Build them into all your marketing!

Free Infographic: Download Becky’s Tips

Infographic: How to Win at Online Retail as a Small Local Business
How to Win at Online Retail as a Small Local Business
Becky McCray

For more than 12 years, Becky ran two local retail stores that successfully went online: an antiques store and a local retail liquor store. She has taught local businesses how to market online since 1997 in small classes and national conferences. Becky has been featured in Entrepreneur, US News, The New York Times, Marketing Profs, radio, TV, academic research, and university publications. In 2018, Becky wrote “The Future of Retail” for National Main Street’s annual State of Main magazine/annual report. 

Partner: GoDaddy Pro

We are proud to be in partnership with GoDaddy Pro on everything Commerce Journey. GoDaddy Pro is an outstanding way to get started with your eCommerce website. Use the promotion with Commerce Journey to get an amazing deal on your WooCommerce-powered website hosting.

By Dan Knauss

Dan Knauss is a writer, editor, speaker, and teacher. He's a long-time WordPress freelancer who enjoys helping people use digital publishing effectively. Dan also blogs about disability, neuropathy, neuromuscular disease, and medical research at