How Small Independent Businesses can Compete with Big Brands Online


James / Published on December 12, 2013

The popularity of online shopping has led to a massive increase of businesses that choose to sell online, but how will online selling affect small businesses?

Small businesses may find it difficult to attract consumers to their website due to branding issues. Most people buy online from brands they trust so buying from an unknown company takes a big leap of faith.

It may seem impossible to compete with big brand retailers, but with new technologies emerging all the time, it is entirely possible for independent merchants to stand out from the crowd.

So what should small independent businesses focus on to ensure the future of online selling maximizes revenue, instead of depleting it?

Get a Responsive Website Design

We have talked about how important having a mobile website is in previous blogs but if you make sure your website has a responsive design, then you will never run the risk of losing customers due to functionality.

Responsive means that when people visit your site they will always have the optimum viewing experience whatever device they are using, i.e laptop, iPad, mobile.

The number of people who shop via their mobile and iPad has surged in the last two years.

Produce Valuable Video content

Considering that YouTube is the third most visited site in the world with more than 1 billion unique users each month, it is one channel that small independent businesses can really take advantage of.

It’s not only a free platform to use but it’salso a great way to publish content that your target audience cares about. If you produce great videos that are either entertaining or solve a problem, then you can build your brand into one which consumers trust and from whom they will buy.

Take Advantage of Daily Deal Sites

Daily Deal sites like Groupon and LivingSocial are a great way for small independent businesses to sell online and gain greater brand awareness.  A study by comScorerevealed that 35 percent of participants found that online vouchers ‘helped with new ideas,’ meaning they discovered something they weren’t aware they would be interested in purchasing. 

Advertise on Facebook & Twitter

Facebook adverts are a great way to get noticed by your target market due to Facebook’s highly targeted way of producing ad’s. You can really define the audience by interests, location, pages they have liked and more. It is best to use Sponsored Stories that appear in the newsfeed as these have a higher CTR than the ad’s on the right hand side (which most people now ignore).

Twitter have recently allowed UK businesses to take advantage of promoted tweets so promoting your business service is definitely worth investing in. Promoted tweets work on an engagement basis, so you only pay for the people who click on or engage with your tweet.

Taking into consideration how popular Facebook and Twitter are, it would be silly to ignore the opportunities social advertising presents.

The future of online selling for small businesses can only get better as the digital world continues to evolve – it will just be a case of keeping up with the times to know how to best utilise new technology. 

As a small business, how are you keeping up with the competition?

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