How Can Small Online Shops Compete With Big Brands?

Imagine starting your very own fashion business. As a small entrepreneur, you intend to create a handful of designs and sell sustainable, handmade items. Unfortunately, while your audience wants to invest in green fashion, most shoppers have already found what they wanted from their favourite shops. Global brand H&M proposes a sustainable and conscious collection for fashionistas who are worried about their impact on the planet. The ethical fashion market is growing rapidly. As a small entrepreneur, you will have to compete against big brands that have already jumped onto the green wagon. 

Ultimately, regardless of your business idea, you are unlikely to be able to pierce through a busy market if you don’t adapt your strategy to survive against big brands. 

Offer professional services

You may be a small business, but it doesn’t mean you have to behave like one. Your customers expect the same services from you than from their favourite big brand. Delivery, and especially rapid deliveries, can make a significant difference to your brand reputation. Indeed, we live in a world of instant gratification where customers click to buy. The popularity of Amazon prime delivery services make it tricky for small brands to maintain their market presence without joining the Amazon stores. However, you can open a shop via the Amazon Marketplace and leave it to the pros to sort out warehouse management and delivery schedule. For sales through your website, it’s good practice to work closely with a recruiting agency during peak times. Indeed, A & S Recruitment advise their clients to look for delivery drivers ahead of the Christmas season, for instance, to avoid unmet deadlines. If you’re going to open an international shop, you might want to consider using multiple warehouse locations to speed up shipping and delivery processes. 

Make it personal

You’ve got a significant advantage against a global shop such as H&M as a small fashion entrepreneur. Indeed, you can become your unique USP. Where a big brand has a logo, you can use your face and personal enthusiasm to create a memorable image. Being you is not only your best advantage, but it is also your best branding strategy. In a small community, you can leverage your personality to support your business growth. 

Make your values stand out

Small businesses, ultimately, are built on values that are close to people’s hearts. While it doesn’t mean that global brands can’t share the same values, small businesses are more likely to have the moral high ground. Indeed, your customers tend to take a family shop that promotes handmade and ethically built items more seriously than they would a global company. 

Be part of your local community

As a small and independent business, you can let your local community become your branding platform. Whether you choose to sponsor local sports events or to help the charities in your hometown through your business activities, you can benefit from additional visibility. You can find partners via your regional Chamber of Commerce to leverage your local presence. Additionally, local schools and sports clubs are also the perfect places to build your network through sponsorship. 

Small brands can play a significant role in their local market. While it would be unfair to claim that you can compete against national and global brands, you can realistically build your presence locally by maximising your personal USP, professional services, and community support. 

Isa Lillo


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