For anyone shopping online, even in China, Amazon can and will attract your attention. It is everywhere, and it is essential. One of the largest online marketplaces that had its humble beginnings in the garage of one Mr.Jeff Bezos, Amazon rose to its prominence and then to its dominance, in the last decade. The only other company to touch a trillion dollars in market capitalization with the mythical Apple Inc, Amazon is what it is today, through a sustained and deliberate path of innovation, determination, reimagining e-commerce marketing and a solid work ethic from its founder, CEO and the world’s richest man, Jeff. For marketers, e-commerce start-ups and online retail businesses, Amazon is the go-to-brand if learning how to do things is on your mind.
To become the default suggestion when it comes to purchasing any product online, Amazon Marketing cultivated a culture within itself by using every channel possible that keeps prospects as well as customers engaged, and active and interested in the repurchase. E-commerce marketing has been heavily influenced by the brand. It is aggressive, people oriented, and innovative.
They dominate SEO is an understatement. Amazon utilizes user-generated reviews to propel their product pages to number one status quite easily now. However, this was an idea they developed way back in the 90s. There are a bunch of innovations and trends they set, which has now become a standard operating procedure for e-commerce marketing professionals.
Their main claim to fame is easy product accessibility, coupled with a service network that pays astounding attention to detail. Jeff had the vision of making Amazon the most customer friendly company in the world and has been able to accomplish this a lot better than his competitors. With multiple customer service awards, ads that extol these very features that have gone viral; everything they do-marketing wise has seen more success than failure.
Today, most e-commerce websites follow design and UX processes that have been either pioneered or mastered by this e-commerce giant. Below are the top 4 omnichannel marketing lessons that Amazon has perfected.
Amazon puts the customer first. This has caused a massive shift in the entire e-commerce marketing sector, forcing marketers not to take themselves seriously and consider taking the customer seriously. They pioneered the use of UX processes and design elements to make the process of purchasing goods and services online a pleasurable and memorable experience. They devote a tremendous amount of time and investment into understanding user pain points, customer journey and understanding what makes a user click and buy.
One of their most popular patented technologies (expired in 2017) is ‘Amazon One-Click.’ It makes the entire process of purchasing online smoother and efficient. Once your account is set up with payment and shipping details, the next time you shop, all you need to do is click on the ‘Buy Now’ button. It bypasses the cart and directly finishes the payment and ships your product. This feature has been well received by users who want to reduce clicks and complete their journey faster. The same process is applied to the Amazon Echo device, where you can purchase products online by giving voice commands to the virtual assistant—Alexa.
Amazon goes to great lengths to ensure that their customers are taken care of. Their logistics, warehousing and delivery processes use state of the art technology, most of which were industry firsts. ‘Amazon Prime’ is an excellent example of their customer-centricity. For a yearly subscription, users get to enjoy benefits such as same day delivery, special offers, and discounts, major add-ons such as Prime Video, and many more.
Amazon is unbeatable on the pricing side too. Most times, Amazon will have the lowest possible purchase price for a product you lookup online. This is because they have optimized their supply and logistics chain, decreasing unnecessary spending, hence bringing down the overall cost of purchase. Introducing robots to increase efficiency in their warehouses has drawn flack from various quarters who believe that it puts people out of work. Given these negative comments, Amazon raised its minimum wage for warehouse workers to $15 per hour, one of the highest in the world. This points to the fact that Amazon has a tab on the pulse of the market and does what is needed to ensure sustainability mixed with innovation and forward-thinking.
Time and again, they step up its game. The most recent ad strategy they have commissioned uses AI and machine learning to understand user preferences and send them samples of products they might like, along with the products they purchased. This is an amalgamation of advanced AI and user preference tracking, ultimately allowing Amazon to choose for the user.
Their customer giveaway program is also a top marketing strategy used by many now. Thousands of products are promoted via this process where if you click on the giveaway button, you may win the product for free. If you don’t win, you have the option to buy the product at the lowest possible price, sometimes much lower than available anywhere. It's a win-win situation for both the customer as well as the seller.
Amazon is so good at marketing; they market it themselves! You can utilize their full suite of marketing services to push your products on Amazon.
They are also pioneers in enabling customer interactions via multi-channel marketing. Push notifications, email, SMS messaging and digital omnichannel ad strategies are being used for a long time to improve customer engagement and step up cross and upselling opportunities. Their ‘Frequently bought together’ feature, ‘customers also purchased’ and sponsored product placement at strategic locations on the web page and app are some of the most popular processes followed by every e-commerce retailer in the market today.
Other than core e-commerce operations, Amazon has diversified massively over the years. Echo, one of the most successful virtual assistant based products, is a stark contrast to the utter failure that was the Amazon Fire smartphone. It bombed so badly that they had to stop production within a year. This amazing contrast within the company products itself shows that they don’t shy away from experimenting and take failure as a part of the process.
They have a significant presence in other businesses too with their on-demand streaming service Amazon Prime Video, their purchase of the Washington Post, purchase of video game streaming site Twitch, food and produce retailer Wholefoods and going back to brick and mortar stores with the launch of the Amazon book stores.
It is this appetite for change, modification, and the pure will to succeed, which has made Amazon such a force to be reckoned with in e-commerce marketing.
From being one of the first online retail platforms to one of the largest, Amazon has been able to achieve this level of success because of the time and effort invested in crafting a superior customer engagement and service process. They use data along with high levels of personalization to ensure that their customers are always happy and not left frustrated. They have a tremendous amount of competition and cannot always beat them on price points. However, by leveraging various data points and maximizing their interactions, creating programs that enable loyalty, and improving their sourcing and delivery processes; they ensured to remain the dominant player in one of the fastest growing online sectors- e-commerce.
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