Your Guide to Surviving the Amazon Effect
We live in a world characterized by convenience. With each next great leap in technology, we’re getting closer to literally having the world at our fingertips, accessible through a few taps on your phone. As consumers, this mostly means positive things. We get things faster and with less effort. As distribution, manufacturing, and retail professionals, it’s not always something to cheer for. This trend means big changes to our work environment — something we call “the Amazon effect.”
Now, when we say Amazon effect, we do mean that Amazon, the one-stop ecommerce hub that changed our shopping experience forever. The shopping giant has made nearly every commodity available for purchase online. They set a higher precedent for what customers expect of a modern business. Regardless of size or industry, your customers anticipate that they will be able to buy what they need online. This new reality is something that all businesses must adapt to, and one with potentially damaging effects for businesses with either a smaller online presence or a brick-and-mortar-based presence.
The effects of the “Effect”
While we’re not quite ready to pronounce brick-and-mortar businesses dead, it’s not in anyone’s best interest to solely offer an in-person shopping experience. As of 2020, 64.6% of consumers are doing their shopping online, and that number is only expected to grow in the coming years.
If we’re aiming to combat this phenomenon, then we have to understand what makes it so appealing to customers.
- Ease of use. Convenience is always king, and Amazon has this to offer in spades. We’re willing to bet that you’re familiar with their shopping interface. They do a great job at limiting the amount of clicks necessary to start and finalize an order, making the checkout process easy-breezy.
- Increased variety. You’d be hard-pressed to find a product that isn’t offered through Amazon. Everything from kitchenware to clothing to dog food is available, something that most businesses can’t realistically offer. There’s also a huge variety on a product-to-product basis. If you search “picnic basket” on Amazon, you can choose from over 300 different styles, sizes, and brands with relative ease. Packing that much variety in one simple search is powerful, and customers understandably respond to it.
- Faster shipping. Our attention spans are getting shorter, and Amazon’s shipping policy only fuels that. Even for the casual consumer, their products ship faster than the average store. However, Amazon has procrastinators worldwide celebrating even further with their 2-day Amazon Prime shipping guarantee.
What you can do about the Amazon Effect
However, just because your company can’t offer Amazon’s breathtaking range of products doesn’t mean you’re incapable of going toe-to-toe with them in other areas. No matter where you are with your online shopping presence, there’s room to beef it up so you can glide into the ring with confidence. In fact, we’ll break it down every step of the way.
If you’ve been waiting to set up your online store, there really is no time like the present. Our friends at Shopify offer some great advice on how to get yourself set up, but there’s one takeaway that we feel is most important. When you’re first starting out with ecommerce, stick to the basics.
We’ve all happened across some woefully overcomplicated online retailers at one point or another. The more complex you make your store, the more difficult it will be to navigate, and the less attractive the interface becomes. You’ll have plenty of time to add the latest and greatest as your store expands. For now, the most valuable thing your business can offer is a streamlined, easy-to-use shopping experience.
If you already have an ecommerce presence, that’s great! There’s plenty of places to take it from here — we recommend adding more sales channels. If that term doesn’t mean anything to you yet, check out our quick-read definition. Basically, these are different avenues that your customer can purchase your product from, outside of your personal store. Obviously, a direct sale (one that occurs on your website) is a big win, but there are benefits to using resellers too. Resellers give you more opportunities to reach your customers, and if they can access you easily, then you’re definitely on your way to competing with bigger stores.
Crushing your customer service is the smaller business’ secret weapon to keeping up with competition and stepping out of the shadow of the Amazon effect. Those bigger stores might have more variety than your company, but their size means they’ll have challenges keeping things personal. They simply can’t devote the same time and attention to each customer that you can.
This is where you optimize. In order to deliver quality customer care, you need friendly people, of course, but also quick access to your customer’s information — their past purchases, tracking for their active orders, and who helped that customer the last time they reached out. These are all essential pieces of the puzzle, and they’re nearly impossible to keep track of without the right business software solution. If you’re looking to advance your ecommerce even further, check out our ebook on ecommerce best practices. We promise you’ll never look at your online presence the same way.
In order to really give the bigger guys a run for their money, you need a software solution that can compete with the best of them. For those who are interested in taking their operations from t-ball to the major leagues, reach out to us! We’re happy to help you meet all your business software needs — whatever they may be.