Retailers striving to beat Amazon must perfect the customer experience
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To avoid losing even more market share to the ever-dominant Amazon, competing ecommerce and brick-and-mortar retailers must perfect the customer experience from the moment a shopper comes through the door to when they leave with their purchase.
Why? Because shoppers love Amazon’s pretty seamless online transaction experience, they trust Amazon and are being lured by increasing product choices.
New Radial research reveals 95 percent of shoppers describe Amazon as "trusthworthy," and 38 percent hit the site for the product selection. The trustworthy aspect isn't just data and transaction security. It's about trusting the Amazon transaction will go smooth, with no surprises.
The data, according to Radial, verifies the urgency for retailers to improve customer experience before Amazon coverts more loyal shoppers.
"So, it's less about one thing and more about how everything has to work together so that Amazon’s promises around an exceptional customer experience are kept," Radial Chief Product and Strategy Officer Stefan Weitz told Retail Customer Experience.
That high level of trust, however, is driven by the very frequent Amazon shopper and drops quite a bit among consumers not shopping on Amazon as often.
"For instance, while 65 percent of those who shop weekly say trustworthy describes Amazon very well, that declines as shopping frequency declines,” said Weitz, nothing the data "should be an eye-opener for e-commerce retailers, as the more consumers shop on Amazon, the more they trust the company."
What it also means for retailers is that there is still opportunity to beat Amazon and to chip away at its growing market share.
One reason is that just over one third of Amazon customers, 36 percent, believe the etailer "engages in questionable practices," such as focusing on increasing profits at the customer's expense. That statistic, said Weitz, illustrates Amazon's 'flywheel,' its business strategy, is under increasing pressure.
In addition, one in five polled, 21 percent, stated Amazon's actions in the past few years has eroded their faith in the company.
That’s a crack competing retailers can capitalize on, said Weitz, but it's going to mean ensuring strong transparency with customers, showcasing affordable products at all times and delivering on the promised experience.
The Radial research notes that when shoppers decide not to shop Amazon, the primary alternative for more than half, 54 percent, is another major retailer. Opting for a physical store follows at 27 percent and just 10 percent turn to a brand's direct website.
The top motivating factor for shopping away from Amazon is price for 44 percent of those polled. And, more encouraging for competitors, is that 58 percent have certain product choices they prefer to buy directly from another retailer or brand.
"It's also worth noting that as e-commerce continues to grow and as the pie gets bigger, the challenge for retailers is how to position themselves to capture their fair share of that pie and be the go-to source for shoppers when Amazon does them wrong," said Weitz.
That will require crafting a perfect post-checkout experience, from cost management to fulfillment flexibility, anywhere service and customer-focused analytics.
"The time is now for retailers to nail down the basics so they can own the customer experience and reap the highest return on investment," he said.
Judy Mottl / Judy Mottl is an experienced editor, reporter and blogger who has worked for top media including AOL, InformationWeek and InternetNews. She’s written everything from breaking news to in-depth trends. She loves a great pitch so email here, follow on Twitter and connect on LinkedIn.