How to Compete With a Large E-commerce Business as a Small Business

February 18, 2019 2:00 pm Published by Leave your thoughts


There’s little doubt that e-commerce is booming. There are more shoppers, sellers, online stores, and marketplaces than ever before. While retail shops are seeing near-stagnant growth, online stores are seeing record levels of revenue.

It’s no surprise then that large marketplaces have sprouted, from Amazon to eBay, Lazada to Zalora, and now Shopee. Even relatively smaller independent online stores have done really well, for instance, Zappos in the United States. The now household name in e-commerce started off as a one-man show selling shoes online. Today, it’s raking in millions in annual revenue.

In Asia, there have also been many e-commerce success stories. Fashion Valet was created by a husband and wife team, by providing a platform for local Malaysian fashion designers to sell their goods to shoppers and fashionistas alike. It has grown rapidly since and expanded around the Southeast Asian region.

These e-commerce success stories can be pretty inspirational to other aspiring online entrepreneurs. But it can also be a daunting reality.


Competing with the big boys of e-commerce

If you’re new to the industry and dream of opening your very own webstore, you might’ve asked yourself: “How do I compete with Amazon, Zalora, Shopee?” They are, after all, really major competitors.

On top of that, it can be even more discouraging when you find out that most of your family and friends buy the type of product that you intend to sell from those large marketplaces. Which begs the question, will they buy from a small webstore like yours compared to more established ones?

Those are all legitimate fears, no doubt. But that’s actually not a real indication of your webstore’s potential to succeed or fail. Just like the word “fear,” you can either choose to Forget Everything and Run or recognize that fear is often False Evidence Appearing Real.

Remember, all big names start from zero. They start from where you plan to start. How you grow and scale it all depend on many factors.


The advantages of a small business compared to bigger ones

You might not realize it yet, but there are actually plenty of advantages to running a small business as opposed to a larger company.

As a small e-commerce business, you are more nimble and have more control. You can quickly pivot or innovate, whether it’s by offering a unique new product or leveraging on a viral trend. A bigger company is a lot slower to adapt to changes, due to the sheer size of their organization, systems, and bureaucracy.

Small businesses also are much better at customer service and offer a more intimate service compared to a big e-commerce company that employs an army of customer support staff. Although you might only be selling products to shoppers, never underestimate the power of establishing a good rapport with both prospects and customers.


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This post was written by Nina