Everybody understands that online has become a crucial aspect of any retailer. But how to best market oneself online is as yet poorly understood by the vast majority of retailers who are just about to get their online feet wet. To remedy this, here is the second of my top seven strategies to not only succeed but beat the big boys and their huge marketing budgets online. Strategy #2: Compete on Service – Not on Price! One of the recurring conversations I am having with would be online retailers goes something like this: “Stefan,” they tell me “you’re a good bloke, but you don’t understand online commerce. It is all about the price online! Some of these guys sell the same products like me online for less than what I buy them wholesale for. I will never be able to compete with that! Ecommerce is not for me.” Needless to say that I could not disagree more. If every single customer would buy based on price alone and nothing else how come that you are still selling those same items that are available online for less than wholesale prices in your shop? If the only-price-matters theory was true you would have gone out of business a long time ago – so it can’t be true. When selling online my advise to you is to keep the same pricing as in your bricks and mortar store. What will your customer’s think when you sell an item cheaper online than in the store? You would only be harming yourself with such inconsistencies. Most importantly though, running your business right, you would by now have become a part of the community. Somebody to have a friendly chat with and ask for advice on this product over that one, not just a source for goods A, B and C that can be exchanged for another source without a second thought. It is your standing in the community that has your customers coming back, most knowing full well that they could shave off a dollar or two from their bills by buying at facelessretailer.com.au – and it is this standing that you need to bring online with you. This way your online store becomes your extended shopfront, reaching out not only to individuals walking past it but to potentially everybody on the web. With this attitude, online selling per se becomes almost secondary. Your online store might not have a single sale but still provide an important service to your customers by constituting an online catalog of up to date product information, helping your customers to make purchasing decisions and check availability prior to actually coming to see you in your store. Especially in rural Australia, where would be shoppers often face a 50km trip just to get to you, this is an invaluable service in itself. Remember: the big boys may always be able to undercut you in price online, but they will only be able to out-service you if you let them. That is where your strength lies – online as well as offline.