Wal-Mart Battles Online Rivals with E-Commerce

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We’ve written previously about Wal-Mart’s efforts to keep online competitor Amazon at bay by discontinuing sales of the Kindle e-reader. Now it seems the world’s biggest retailer is taking things to the next level with an attempt to ratchet up its e-commerce presence. All businesses must, from time to time, head into new markets either to compete or simply to increase the number of customers they serve. Here’s a look at how businesses move outside their comfort zones to succeed and grow.

Cyber Super Stores

By the numbers. Moving confidently into the digital age, Wal-Mart outlined its e-commerce strategy recently by projecting profits of $9 billion in online sales by 2014. The retailer also plans to use Facebook to drive increased sales, including letting 22 million Facebook fans vote on toys they think Wal-Mart should temporarily discount. The Wall Street Journal

Out-Amazoning Amazon. Wal-Mart also goes head to head with its chief online rival Amazon this holiday season. The retailer recently announced a plan to introduce same-day delivery in select cities for orders placed online, a response to a similar same-day delivery service launched by Amazon. The move could be a sign of the retailers aggressive foray into a new market. Time Business

Far and Wide

The new kid in town. Of course, you don’t have to be Wal-Mart to venture into new markets and find new customers. Sometimes all it takes is recognizing the opportunities just outside your front door. For local businesses, one simple approach is to target new homeowners in your community or new people in your town or market, says blogger and entrepreneur Ashley Neal. Celebrate Atlanta

Around the world. When it comes to finding new customers, of course, the reverse is also true. Just as your business might find new customers around the corner, you may also find them around the world, says startup expert Martin Zwilling. The Internet and other technological advances enable the smallest startup to operate globally. Consider targeting customers for your products and services no matter where they might be. Startup Professionals Musings

Brand New Bag

How sweet it is. Exploring new business opportunities is another important step toward finding new customers and new markets. Consider investing in a hot franchise, for example. The important thing, says franchise expert Joel Libava, is to identify a new business model that adequately fits your needs. The Franchise King

Turn the channel. Finding new markets sometimes requires developing new ways to communicate with your customers. Every channel is different, explains entrepreneur Simon Gabay in this post about BizSugar.com, a sister site to Small Business Trends. Gabay explains the approaches any business owner must take when exploring a new way to reach audiences or customers. The Adhere Agency

Higher education. Businesses of all kinds must also educate customers about what they offer and why it’s important. The education must be a process, not a single event, explains business coach Dave Brock. Customers don’t come to you over night, especially if your products or services are new to them. You must educate your audience about your business’s value. Partners in Excellence

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