Retailers Fight Amazon with Ferriss Boycott

Some traditional retailers are taking an interesting path to competing with online retailer Amazon. Barnes & Noble and other traditional book retailers have vowed not to carry Amazon’s latest venture into publishing, popular author Timothy Ferriss’s latest book The 4-Hour Chef. Small business owners take many approaches to dealing with competition. In fact, entrepreneurs can probably see this from a couple of points of view: from both the perspective of a new business trying to enter an established market and from the angle of an established business trying to fight off newcomers.

Ready to Compete

Just say no. Read this article about the spreading boycott by traditional retailers against online competitor Amazon’s latest title by author Timothy Ferriss. As Amazon begins getting into the publishing business, the question is whether refusing to carry its titles will really help retailers. Our thought: not carrying Amazon titles may also send more customers to Amazon’s site looking for the book when they can’t find it at traditional book stores. What do you think? The Christian Science Monitor

Outside looking in. As we mentioned earlier, the battle between Amazon and traditional book retailers can be seen from at least two perspectives. Amazon, which is taking a major bite out of traditional book selling, is having a bit more trouble breaking into publishing since many other retailers are refusing to take its books, decreasing their availability. Breaking into a new market can be tough. Businesses must be persistent. The Wall Street Journal

Prepared for Action

Two heads are better than one. Competition may be coming at Amazon from another direction, too. Two publishing giants, Penguin and Random House, have announced intentions to join forces, with one of their focuses being emerging markets like digital publishing. It’s possible the new approach will create more opportunities for small business content producers, but more importantly, the merger shows how teaming up in business can sometimes be a good way to deal with competition. Small Business Trends

Show up the competition. When working to compete against entrenched competitors, one great approach is to tell prospects and customers what you provide that your competitors don’t. Entrepreneur Anthony Karibian started two companies that faced established global competitors but decided to take the approach of explaining to his prospects about the hidden costs his competition was charging them. Explaining how his company was superior was the secret to competing. bOnline Blog

Building a Strategy

Spy on the other guy. This isn’t as bad as it sounds. In fact, researching your market is an important step for all entrepreneurs. There are plenty of easy (and perfectly valid and legal) ways to study your competition to figure out what they are doing right and wrong. Considerable information about your competition is available in traditional media and on the Internet. There are plenty of great ways to figure out what other businesses are doing and how you can do it better. Small Biz Diamonds

Celebritize your brand. Publishing may be the latest front in the battle between Amazon and traditional book sellers, but it could also be the best way for your brand to leave the competition behind in the dust. Public relations expert Marsha Friedman calls this the “Celebritize Yourself” method, and says it’s the best way to increase the credibility and visibility of any business. EMSI

Fear no more. Perhaps the best way of all to compete in any market, however, is not to compete at all. Management expert Bernd Geropp recommends abandoning the strategy of competing on price, quality, and service. Instead, he suggests, become the expert in solving your customers’ problems and fulfilling their greatest desires. In this way, Geropp explains, you will always be number one in your customers’ eyes and as a result, never need to fear competition again. More Leadership, Less Management

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Joshua Sophy Joshua Sophy is the Editor for Small Business Trends and has been a member of the team for 16 years. A professional journalist with 20 years of experience in traditional media and online media, he attended Waynesburg University and is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists. He has held roles of reporter, editor and publisher, having founded his own local newspaper, the Pottsville Free Press.