It’s that Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Holiday season again, and consumers are doing what they do best: consuming. Your online store may not be a household name or 2-day shipping go to, but there are plenty of ways that you can get your business in the running to beat out the big box stores for a sale.

Support and Service: The most obvious way that you can win the business of a large retail store shopper, is with your customer service. Make it known that you have real people on the other end of your email, phone, live chat, etc. and that they can assist with anything. Additionally, be crystal clear about your store’s policies. People gravitate towards the ease of “Free Shipping and Easy Returns” around the holidays because of just that, Free and Easy. Even if you can’t offer your customers free shipping on any order, set a threshold for free shipping that encourages a higher AOV (average order value) and then everyone wins.

Shopping Experience: The shopping experience that a customer gets on your site might be the biggest differentiator between your store and your “big box” counterpart. Most large retailers have a large product catalog, and therefore, consumers have to drill down through several layers of navigation to get to what they’re looking for. Your store can assist them in their search and filtration needs just by starting with a more refined selection. Even better if your site offers a robust search functionality and intuitive navigation on both desktop and mobile.

Social Presence- Utilize the free tools at your disposal. While big box retailers have a social media presence, you likely already have a leg up on them because your market is more targeted. If you’re a small catalog company selling unique pop culture swag, then your followers are probably looking for exactly that. You’ve already drilled down further than a “Macy’s One Day Sale” ad ever could. Use that to your advantage by posting creative content. Show off your products in action. Bonus points if you can get consumers to show off your products for you.

Product Knowledge: Something that you have over your competitors is often, very simply, a knowledge of what you are selling. If an online store has over a million SKUs, it’s highly unlikely that the person on the end of that customer service call has even heard of the item in question

Agility: It takes a big corporation a lot of time (and energy and money) to shift their marketing efforts on a dime. On the other hand, your store is YOURS and you have the gift of being as agile as needed whenever needed. It’s day three of your Holiday Sale and numbers aren’t where you’d like them, throw in a gift with purchase at $75. Add on Free Shipping over $100. Shoot your subscribers an email informing them that the deals have changed. Write your own narrative and adjust accordingly, and often, to what your shoppers are doing.

The key to succeeding against the big box stores is to realize that you’re competing in a different league than they are. The things that make your store unique and desirable are not traits that the big box stores can replicate – capitalize on those!

For more information about how to differentiate your store this holiday season and beyond, call us at 888-429-4803 or email us at