Four Ways For SMEs To Stay Relevant In The Age Of E-commerce

Four Ways For SMEs To Stay Relevant In The Age Of E-commerce

Business Development

GlobalLinker Staff

GlobalLinker Staff

29 Oct 2015, 10:59 — 5 min read


Competition gets the best out of you. With the emergence of e-commerce giants in the country, small businesses have been facing tough competition. With millions of dollars in their pockets, these giants are willing to spend it on marketing and pricing which ruthlessly undercuts upstart retailers. Fortunately, in commerce, there’s never complete domination and small businesses have a great opportunity to stay in the competition.



Over the years, there have been many instances of industries succumbing to smarter and more efficient technologies and innovators. As fresh ideas are always in abundance, there’s always something new in concept, approach and methodology which, with the right support, can compete against or topple the market leaders.


The trick to succeed is to hit the target when no one is paying attention, particularly when marketplaces seem saturated.


With the sudden emergence of e-commerce and e-tailers in India, small and medium enterprises now need a reinvention to battle the giants. SMEs not only have to show their strength, but also stay relevant while maintaining speed and adaptability in this dynamic market space. Here are four ways to do exactly that.


1. Be The Best In What You Do


Unlike e-commerce giants, SMEs have the power and advantage to focus on one domain. You can not only increase customer engagement but also create a following or small community for your product. Explore areas that are untouched or non-existent and create your own brand with innovations that allow you to explore an untouched market.


Example: No one had imagined that there was a need for an app to help travellers book bus tickets. One company called redBus did – and that app is now one of the most popular apps in India.


2. Create Engaging Content For Customers


Big brands aim to target a variety of customers. Small businesses have the advantage of targeting one genre and can focus on improving it. So it’s easy to market your brand and establish your place in the market. Study your customers’ needs and, more specifically, how they communicate. Learn their lingo and also which medium they use to buy products. Targeting their communication medium will give you an insight on where and how to tap their needs. Engaging them with product descriptions which capture their emotions and imagination will give you leverage against the e-commerce giants.


Example: An online retailer called The Souled Store sells its T-shirts with a description that is enjoyable to read and which also connects emotionally with its target audience: In honour of the most loved house in all of Westeros. The North will have its vengeance! Because our favourite Westerosi house deserves its very own t-shirt!


3. Build A Loyal Customer Base


While you engage with your customers, you must also maintain your relationship with each of them to create brand loyalty. Invest in creating a community of your loyal customers who will help promote your company through word of mouth which, to date, is among the most trusted mediums of marketing.


As the e-commerce giants are now looking to provide real interactions, SMEs like you have a big advantage for getting instant feedback and genuine interactions with everyday users.


Example: A neighbourhood grocery shop delivers immediately, unlike than an online retailer. And a local business will also tell its customers which products are the best, and which products do not offer value for money, unlike an e-commerce website that only lists products. Moreover, a small business can offer special discounts for customers who bring in new customers.


4. Get Online And On Mobile


With more and more people coming online, making your presence here will be fruitful, as it will help you interact with your customers easily and faster. More than that, the internet is (more or less) free and a great medium for marketing. Since mobile phone users too are increasing by the day, you also need to have a mobile strategy so that you become an integral part of the shopping experience for customers.


Example: Leading e-commerce sites, such as Flipkart, offer special and extra discounts for customers who shop via mobile apps. 


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GlobalLinker Staff

We are a team of experienced industry professionals committed to sharing our knowledge and skills with small & medium enterprises.

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