Amazon has absolutely everything, which is why they’re a popular choice for wedding and baby registries. They have 38 major categories spanning everything from apparel to wine to eBooks. In fact, they even have “Prime Pantry” so that you can get home consumables to avoid having to make regular trips to your local grocery store. Depending on the product, you often have options to buy it new or used from Amazon’s reseller network. But your options don’t end there! You also have tons of shipping options allowing you to prioritize your needs – getting your products quickly or saving money.
Obviously, most businesses won’t have the same access to inventory that Amazon has (especially not at their prices), but as an SMB (small-to-medium sized business) the lesson that you can take away is that people appreciate variety. So giving your target audience options when shopping is important. Pairing up with a drop shipper will give you access to a wider range of products, as will partnering with other companies in complementary industries.
One reason why shoppers abandon shopping carts is because they use the shopping cart function to save products for later. Amazon lets users create wish lists and registries that can be public, shred or private. It even lets you keep track of friends’ lists for easy gifting and inspiration. When you create a registry they also let you organize items into various categories, add messages, and set priority. These organizational features make it easy for friends and family to shop for your upcoming big event.
Very few smaller businesses take advantage of the wish list options that their shopping cart providers offer, making them miss out on a golden opportunity to allow easier shopping for their customers. Implementing a wish list feature is especially important during the holidays! While you may not have very many shoppers take advantage of these features, the small percentage that do can result in more sales and higher order values on existing sales.
When you make a purchase on Amazon or someone buys something off of your registry, information about the order appears in real-time for you to review. There’s no waiting around for an order confirmation email – you can see everything you want to know right in your user profile under the orders section. This is especially helpful because some orders ship in pieces.
Providing order details to your customers and communicating about expected shipping delays or backordered products as quickly as possible is critical to offering a great customer experience. During the holidays this type of responsiveness with your customer service can help develop positive lifelong customer relationships.
Amazon is the king of personalization to the point of almost creepiness. All you have to do is search for something on Amazon, read some product reviews, click on a link in a previous email, or make a purchase and Amazon will send you personalized offers based on your behaviors in less than 24 hours. And while this may seem like a privacy infringement to some, it’s highly effective, which is why amazon does it!
Personalizing your offers to customers is key in getting them to return to make future purchases. Make sure that you segment your email list based on demographics and buyer behavior in order to offer targeted messaging. Using an email service provider will allow you to easily maintain your email list on an ongoing basis and plan effective email campaigns, which is essential during the holidays.
Amazon boasts a wide variety of user-friendly features… like too many to name. Their product pages have all the specs you could ever need to know, a huge collection of consumer ratings, and a host of related and suggested products. And this is just in on an individual product page. When you look at Amazon overall, it’s clear that they’ve paid a lot of attention to customer experience and that they’re dedicated to improving it on an ongoing basis as well.
Your budget will never be as large as Amazon’s, which means that you won’t be able to afford a burgeoning UX department and widespread customer satisfaction surveying, but there are still things that you can do to improve customer satisfaction. Encourage honest feedback by incentivizing customers to tell you about their shopping experience and be open to making changes based on what you’re hearing.
Kate Pierce is the owner of LionShark Digital Marketing LLC, a West Michigan internet marketing company. Her areas of expertise include Paid Search, Search Engine Optimization, Social Media, Web Consulting for small businesses, Copywriting and Local Online Marketing. She lives in the Grand Rapids area with her husband and enjoys cooking, watching sports and spending time outdoors. Like a true digital marketing expert (i.e. geek), she loves talking about marketing theory and SEM trends… so don’t say you weren’t warned!