Can your company’s website compete with Amazon? No — and yes!
People often have no idea how much web stuff will cost. Five dollars? Five thousand dollars? Eleventy quillion dollars? Who knows? Not the average business owner. I will therefore help you out by letting you know that you probably don’t have the funds to offer the kind of search tools, content, and shopping cart that Amazon has. Amazon was only able to afford it because they were able to lose money for a decade or so. If you don’t have that kind of budget, don’t expect to offer the kind of experience Amazon offers.
You also shouldn’t expect to rank ahead of Amazon for the average consumer product. It’s fair to say that people searching for a particular product that Amazon carries will usually see Amazon rather than your website. This is not because of some evil conspiracy. It’s because people who know what they want to buy and are ready to buy it are usually better off at Amazon, where they can have a very successful shopping experience pretty much every time, than at other websites.
Does that mean that Amazon is always the best option for all shoppers at all times? No. The shopper who kind of thinks he wants some climbing shoes because he thinks he might want to go rock climbing will not have a great experience at Amazon. He will be faced with way too many choices, rudimentary reviews, and no clear direction for his purchase.
This shopper will be better off at a more specialized website, where the ins and outs of choosing a climbing shoe will be discussed more thoroughly. Thousands of climbing shoe options are less useful than three or four terrific choices, clearly discussed. A video or a human being who can be contacted with questions will be more useful than super fast checkout.
Because of this, people searching for, “What are the best climbing shoes for beginners?” or “Can I go bouldering in sneakers?” will find the more specialized site in their search results rather than Amazon. You should plan to serve these people, not the people who are looking to buy a specific product. You should built your website and write your web content with these people in mind.
What do you do really well? How can you show that online? That will always be your most competitive option.