The David vs. Goliath of Ecommerce: How Businesses Can Compete With Retail Giants Like Amazon

WM Circle Logo

By: Wise Marketer Staff |

Posted on October 21, 2021

With a share of ecommerce sales over 50% and billions of visits every month, you could say Amazon is the Goliath of online retailers. While Amazon is constantly innovating and advancing, other businesses — the Davids of the ecommerce world — are struggling to keep pace.

The gap is further widened by the fact that marketing strategies involve more channels than ever. For retail giants like Amazon, this is a non-issue considering the wealth of resources they can funnel into understanding and managing these channels. Amazon has evolved its ecommerce strategy so much that even Walmart can’t keep up: Amazon is forecasted to score six times more sales than Walmart in 2021.

For the businesses struggling to match this retail giant, navigating the increasingly complicated paths between products and consumers — what we refer to as commerce anarchy — is becoming more difficult. Fortunately, there are ways for retail Davids to compete with Goliath. Developing a centralized, customer-centric approach to ecommerce can help brands overcome commerce anarchy and keep pace with Amazon. 

By: Marcel Hollerbach

3 ways to compete with the Goliath of ecommerce

In today’s chaotic ecommerce landscape, it’s critical to stay on top of evolving trends and emerging platforms. But it’s equally important to provide excellent customer experiences (CX) to your shoppers, and engage them with relevant, personalized content. 

While it may seem impossible to compete with the ecommerce Goliath, there are several initiatives you can take that will help your business overcome commerce anarchy and stay competitive.

1) Centralize data for a better customer experience. To retain loyal customers, you need to create a simple, appealing CX that’s consistent throughout the entire buyer journey. That means providing descriptive and accurate content across all channels. If your product data exists in disparate systems or is managed on different platforms, it results in lost visibility and a chaotic customer experience. Imagine seeing an Instagram ad that indicates a sweater you’ve been eyeing is 20% off, but when you go to the brand’s mobile app, it isn’t on sale. Situations like this leave customers feeling frustrated, and 32% of customers say they would switch to a competitor after just one bad experience — even if it’s a brand they love. You can avoid this by consolidating your tech stack so all your feeds and platforms show the same up-to-date information.

2) Offer personalized benefits. Amazon offers its more than 200 million Prime members perks like free shipping, access to movie streaming and even benefits at their partner companies like Zappos. Perks like these have largely contributed to Amazon’s success, so consider offering loyalty benefits that set your company apart. It’s also important to create more personalized relationships with customers. By analyzing past purchases and other customer data, you can learn what your customers really want. Considering 91% of consumers said they are more likely to shop with a brand that provides relevant offers, leveraging data to personalize your outreach is a worthwhile investment.

3) Find your niche. As a generalized retailer, Amazon sells everything from shoes to pet supplies. But if you’re shopping for a specific item, you may have a better experience with a retailer that specializes in that particular product category. Specialized retailers have an advantage: They can commit to their brand identity, become experts in their products and provide a first-rate CX tailored to their product category.

4) Leave traditional ecommerce practices in the past. To stay competitive, you need to embrace the nuances of today’s ecommerce landscape and use modern technologies to develop better CX and brand loyalty. With new channels constantly emerging, agility and flexibility are key. In practice, this means knowing where your customers are and being prepared to meet them there. So, you not only have to stay on top of the next big thing — you also have to respond quickly before another trend emerges.

Underdogs can win, too

Businesses everywhere are struggling to overcome commerce anarchy and compete with Amazon — but it doesn’t have to be that way. In the traditional story, David defeated the much bigger and stronger Goliath with only a slingshot and five stones. To face down the retail Goliath, all you need is a solid ecommerce strategy, including initiatives to improve CX and unify data. By enabling you to personalize experiences, keep information consistent and respond flexibly to trends, these improvements provide the tools you need to fend off the competition — even a competitor like Amazon. 

Marcel is CIO at Productsup, which empowers more than 900 global manufacturers, brands, retailers, and service providers to overcome commerce anarchy and maximize sales by telling a consistent product story to more customers on more channels. Its platform processes over two trillion products a month, enabling companies to aggregate, optimize, contextualize, and distribute product content across more than 2,500 marketing and retail channels. Founded in 2010 and headquartered in Berlin, Productsup has grown to over 240 employees spread out across offices worldwide.