Small biz, big wins: How personal touches can outsmart mega-retailers

- May 24, 2024 3 MIN READ


Mega-retailers are changing the way we shop today. They offer same-day delivery and auto-shipment and sell cheaper versions of popular brands. Because of this, shoppers now expect faster and easier transactions. However, a recent report by Klarna found that 57 per cent of Gen Z and Millennials want an even more personalised shopping experience, so how can small businesses benefit from this trend? Suzanne Mitchell from GoDaddy explains.

In a crowded digital economy and oversaturated online markets, personalisation can make a big difference and help retailers stand out amongst their competitors. Consequently, this is something that larger organisations may struggle with.

Personalisation can be used to the advantage of smaller retailers, as small and microbusiness owners are able to hone in on their customers’ needs and therefore provide a more personalised approach to the shopping experience. This is important because exceeding customer expectations will  reflect positively on the business.

The onset of the pandemic accelerated changes in consumer behaviour as people could no longer go to their local shops, forcing reliance on e-commerce giants quickly improved their capabilities, by offering convenient and efficient ways for consumers to shop.

In order to adapt, small business owners started to include gestures of thanks such as handwritten notes which allowed them to connect with their clientele on a deeper level, something which is impossible for larger competitors. Simply put, small firms used empathy to build relationships with their customers which lead to heightened loyalty, proving advantageous in a difficult economic climate.

As shoppers gradually returned to physical stores post-pandemic, the importance of connection and community became more evident. To thrive in this landscape, small businesses must innovate ways to maintain their presence amongst consumers.

Research from GoDaddy underscores how challenging this can be as curating targeted marketing messages requires understanding of customer needs and preferences. Here are two effective strategies to do this:

  1. Look for inspiration. There’s no harm in learning from your peers, that target a similar consumer segment but may be in a different industry. Or even your competitors. If you see a business that is great at connecting with its customers online, learn from them, draw inspiration and then find ways to incorporate these learnings into your own, authentic strategies.
  2. Ask your customers directly. Engaging with customers directly through feedback mechanisms not only fosters a sense of involvement and engagement with the business, but it also ensures that their voices are heard. It is important to thank your customers for their feedback and consequently show them how it is making an impact. One way to do so is to fold the sentiment into your marketing messages. For instance, saying “back by popular demand” is a simple and effective way to communicate to customers that a business is listening and taking action.
  3.  Look at your website & email marketing performance / data will show you what consumers want/need so you can focus in on what’s important to them and your business.

With the many ways businesses can go about marketing to their customers, it’s easy to get lost
in experimentation. Small businesses, in particular, can’t afford to get distracted. With limited
budgets and resources, it’s important to stay focused.

When GoDaddy is considering building upon or introducing a new product or service, we focus on two questions: Will it help save business owners time? Will it help them make more money? If the answer is yes to either or both questions, we move forward. If the answer is no to both, then it’s likely not worth it, and we stop.

Our message to entrepreneurs is simple: don’t let the mega-retailers get in your way. A little bit of customer personalisation and focus will take you far. Staying close to the customer brings joy to many small business owners – extends the business beyond just profit – ultimately making a difference in people’s lives.

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