Blog Post - Raghbir Rana, Aug 23 2018

5 things to learn from Amazon's eCommerce strategy

5 things to learn from Amazon's eCommerce strategy

Amazon tends to scare retailers, partly due to its dominance and partly because it creates a dilemma: collaborate or compete? However, once you get beyond the “rabbit in the headlights” effect that Amazon can have, this enormous brand and its equally enormous eCommerce success has a lot of insight to offer. In a white paper we recently produced (“The Amazon Impact: Compete, Collaborate or Both?”), we highlight how Amazon tactics and techniques can provide a kind of high altitude training for retailers on other eCommerce channels – there are a number of key things to learn from Amazon’s eCommerce strategy.

1. Personalised shopping experiences drive sales

More than most, Amazon has embraced the personalised shopping experience, from providing recommendations for shoppers to offering choices based on premises such as “Inspired by Your Shopping Trends.” Shoppers are more likely to buy products that are relevant to them and Amazon has fully integrated this intelligence. Although you might not have the same sophisticated tools to hand as Amazon, there are many ways to personalise the shopping experience to make it more successful on other channels too, starting with something as simple as showing recently viewed products – or those that are related.

2. Slow page loading drives down sales

Amazon was one of the first to identify that a slow page loading speed could damage a potential sale. Analysis from the retail giant in 2016 found that for every 100ms of page load time, on its own sites there was a 1% decrease in sales. Efficient page loading is something every brand can ensure – aim for a speed of two seconds or less to avoid customers losing interest.

3. Customer reviews are incredibly powerful

Providing social proof – i.e. the reviews and views of other customers who have already purchased an item – is something very well illustrated by the Amazon model. In the US, more than half of people now search Amazon for a product before using a search engine. This is because of the product reviews, which are a crucial tool for overcoming buyer hesitation, answering queries and providing key information that product descriptions may miss. Customer reviews are a simple addition that any brand can embed in its own pages to improve sales.

4. Data is an incredibly powerful tool

Many of the smart moves that Amazon has made have been driven by its use of data. Amazon tests and gathers data on everything, from button styles to marketing channels. A wealth of resources exists today to help smaller retailers do the same, such as Google Analytics, and simple A/B testing of marketing campaigns or landing pages will provide powerful insights into what your customers want and react well to.

5. Growth is individual – and often not straightforward

Amazon is a prime example of a business that has failed at different times in many different ways. For example, in 2009 the company remotely deleted copies of “1984” and “Animal Farm” from Kindles, apparently because they were unauthorised versions. This severely damaged customer trust and caused outrage online. However, the business took note of the reaction, realised it had made a mistake, corrected its future policy and CEO Jeff Bezos personally apologised. The way the incident was handled proved to be a learning experience that Amazon used to help power growth.

Few brands would like to try to compete with Amazon as it is today – but there is a lot that everyone can learn from its eCommerce strategy.

Salmon, a Wunderman Commerce Company, has a team of eCommerce multichannel experts who are working with leading brands to address both the opportunities and challenges addressed within this article. These are explored further in Amazon expert, Eric Heller’s whitepaper, “The Amazon Impact: Complete, Collaborate or Both?”