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What We Can Learn About E-Commerce from Amazon

Concept of online shoppingWith Christmas on it’s way, there are so many opportunities to sell online. But make no bones about it, selling online is competitive. Large online stores already have a streamlined system in place for getting found online and making the sale. It’s possible to compete but there are some things you need to make sure you have in place to ensure success.

Amazon are one of the industry leaders in e-commerce and one simple way to improve your own strategy is to learn from the experts. Here are six things that Amazon do that you can do with your own store to make more sales online.

1. Getting Found

Step one for any online store is getting your website found. A significant amount of people who already shop on Amazon will go direct to amazon.com when they want to buy a product. But Amazon don’t neglect the traditional Google searchers. Even though they have millions of products, they still pump money into Google Adwords with tailor made ads specific to each product.

The Lesson: Make sure you are advertising your products online – hardly anyone is just going to just happen upon your website.

2. Clarity in Design

While it’s not the flashiest of websites out there, Amazon is well designed. It sells 1,000’s of different products but manages to make the site easy to navigate. This is due to good organisation and classification of goods and a very effective search bar.

Each product page follows the same layout with plenty of clear images on the same background.

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The Lesson: You don’t need  a flashy website to make sales. In fact simple is always better. Stick to a consistant layout. There is beauty in repetition.

3. Credibility

When you are buying online you’re taking a risk. You’re parting with your credit card details and trusting that the brand will deliver your goods.

To make an online store work well, you need to absolutely prove to your customers that you are reputable.

Amazon do this well. Each product has clear photos, a star rating, and users reviews. These reviews are honest, the fact that both good and bad reviews can be read puts the customers mind at ease.

For books, Amazon also let’s you ‘look inside’ so you can decide if the book is what you are looking for. Again, this puts the customers mind at ease and makes them feel in-control of their purchase.

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The Lesson: Put your customers mind at ease with credible ratings. Make sure you show them that your payment methods are secure. Have a telephone number that they can call if there is a problem.

4. The UpSell

Amazon knows that to make a significant profit they need to upsell. So they recommend products to a user based on what they have already popped in their shopping trolly. This “customers who also shopped for” section works in two ways. It’s helpfull – it alerts a customer of other things they may need but also, on a physicologial level, once a customer has made their first purchase, it’s proven to be alot easier to get them to make a second. Amazon knows the power of up-selling and arent afraid to use it.

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The Lesson: Don’t be afraid to upsell your products and make suggestions – it will hugely increase your profit margin. 

5. Very Simple Check Out Procedure

Amazon offer a very simple and secure check out procedure. If you have ordered something from them before, you can also purchase in just one click. This is a feature that they have patented, it’s so effective that other companies pay to use the technology. When you make a purchase on Apple’s website using one click ordering, they pay amazon for the privilege.

If No Purchase Made – Intense Retargeting On A Granular Level

I looked at a set of essential oils on Amazon recently. I am still seeing Ads for that set following me around the internet. This is called retargeting and it’s very effective – especially when implemented on a granular level like that.

Any business can do this. (we offer a great value solution if you are interested.) and it works really well on E-Commerce sites. Amazon greatly increase their chances of bringing a customer back to complete the sale by using this technique.

The Lesson – make your checkout experience simple. If a sale isn’t made, utilise retargeting to get them back to your website.

6. Service // Follow Through

I can’t count the number of bad online shopping experiences I have had. I’m not even talking about the design of the website or the ease of payment. I’m talking about the basic delivery of goods.

From a company accidentally charging me twice for my order – then making me sort it out with my bank. To another who did not deliver my goods for over a month and then when I complained, simply gave me an automated response.

These things just don’t happen on Amazon. Why? Because they have invested heavily in customer service. It’s not uncommon for Amazon to contact you about an issue with their product and offer you a refund even before you have had a chance to complain. They are on the ball. 

They also offer 24hr support and have a clear policy on returns.

The best part about all this is that these strategies are all implementable for a medium sized business. In particular, smaller businesses can offer excellent customer service and attention to detail that a larger business often can’t.

One of the main reasons Amazon is so successful is because of it’s excellent reputation, we all know someone who has bought goods from them and had the delivered on time.

It’s not complicated and your business can build that same level of trust online too if you pay attention to the points above and make sure you keep lines of communication open at all times.

It’s common sense really!

The lesson: Great customer service is at the heart of every great business. It’s even more important online. Deal with customer issues swiftly and they will view you are a trusted place to shop.

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