Amazon Prime Day, Amazon Pantry, Amazon Fresh and its latest one-hour delivery offer are just some of Amazon’s latest moves to woo customers. Now we can add the Amazon Dash Button – its latest invention, to the list which is set to send competitors into a quiver as it ticks yet another box for customer experience.
In fact, with Amazon infiltrating nearly every shopping vertical, how can other retail players contend with the front-runner when it comes to matching performance in an increasingly cluttered market?
Tried and tested
Amazon has the benefit of being a globally recognised and trustworthy brand. Customers get what they pay for, delivery is good and its returns policy is fair. On this basis, the company has built a wealth of trust from customers who know they can expect solid service and are constantly thrilled by its variety of products and add-on features that improve their experiences. That’s where other players must focus their efforts if they are to claim their own piece of the retail pie. Driving consumer confidence is the key step in this journey. Yet, building trust is time-consuming and doesn’t happen overnight.
Tools that can help retailers reinforce their trustworthiness can often come in the form of accreditations from third parties that validate that steps have been taken to ensure good service. Some offer online stores a seal of approval that give consumers peace of mind when shopping online. This is particularly important because, unlike a physical store, the internet can be a lot more deceptive. After all, having verification of this kind to show that purchases are safe and secure, could mean the difference between a sale and an abandoned basket.
The personal touch
Getting into the minds of the shopper to drive sales is another one of Amazon’s crown jewels. By building up a solid customer profile based on previous purchase data it always stays one step ahead of the customer and can anticipate any future shopping. Just bought a new dress? The next time you login there will be a suggestion for a matching bag or shoes to tempt you to hit buy.
This type of seduction can only be conducted if retailers can depend on relevant and timely data around their customers. If customers feel like they are getting a bespoke service, one they might expect to receive in store, then they are much more likely to return. Having a picture of their profile and preferences is paramount whether it’s for email communications or online browsing.
Loyalty in lockdown
This ability to provide bespoke services extends into driving customer loyalty. Today’s shoppers are fickle and quick to hop between the multitude of retailers that can offer them a quick deal. This means attracting and retaining loyal customers is particularly challenging. Amazon has come out on top using services such as Amazon Dash and Prime Day deals which are limited to subscribed customers only. This lock-in makes it much less likely that shoppers will venture and spend their money elsewhere. Creating a loyalty scheme to rival Amazon’s is no mean feat, so other retailers can stay in the game by riding Amazon’s wave of success around its events and promotions in order to capitalise on impulse shoppers.
Reinforcement with reviews
In addition to creating positive experiences, retailers must be able to capture and share them to encourage new customers. Amazon has cultivated a loyal customer base not simply due to the offers, services and variety of products it provides but because it cultivates reviews that can be used to inform shoppers’ purchasing decisions. After all, online reviews satisfy the craving customers have for reassurance and persuasion when it comes to making a purchase, much in the same way that third party accreditations assure them that sites are safe and secure.
Social proof is a powerful thing, in fact, 89% of consumers are willing to trust reviews posted online by complete strangers. Other retailers should mimic Amazon’s success with its review system so shoppers can turn to the opinions of others before spending.
Ultimately, retailers of all stripes will appreciate that retail giants take a lot to beat. Yet, if the Amazon brand can teach them any lesson, it’s that confident, trusting customers who feel valued by the personalised services they receive, will be much more inclined to remain loyal. Proving trustworthiness, offering a bespoke and engaging shopping experience and being able to showcase the performance you’re delivering across the internet via reviews and recommendations all go a long way to supporting you to stay in the race.
By Scott Cretton, key account manager at Trusted Shops