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Apr 8, 2019 | 4 minute read

7 tips in the fight against Amazon

written by Ashley Lipman

Companies like Amazon and other big-name department stores ultimately reign supreme when it comes to ecommerce. In 2018, over two-thirds of American households had an Amazon Prime membership.

While it’s true these giants hold a big portion of the industry, there are still gaps in service and products that need to be filled. More importantly, there’s a lot we can learn from studying these ecommerce giants.

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1. Customer Pain Points

You already know your customer has pain points—whether they’re long shipping times, added fees, or return hassles. All of these frictions encourage abandoned carts.

What the ecommerce giants do well is anticipate these pain points. Even more so, they address them immediately. Amazon is the best example of this. Prime members get free two-day shipping, and Amazon even introduced one-click checkout to cut down on time spent in the checkout process. Other giants are following suit by offering free shipping for larger orders or a simplified checkout.

While it’s safe to say your business might not be able to afford the major perks of Amazon, you can still make improvements based on these pain points. You can offer free shipping if customers spend over a certain amount, or just offer a flat-rate shipping option. Offering PayPal or Amazon Pay is another way to simplify the checkout process.

2. Customer Recommendations

Another thing Amazon and other giants do well is recommendations. When you’re browsing for products, you’ll see recommended suggestions pop up along the way. You’re likely to click on these and make a purchase since they’re drawn from other similar things you’ve been interested in.

The good news is including recommendations is easy. Most ecommerce platforms allow for plugins to recommend products to visitors. Suggest items that go well with what’s already in their cart or something similar to what they last viewed.

3. Allow Customers to Save Items

Most shoppers today are diligent. They don’t impulsively buy things. A startling 81% of shoppers conduct online research before buying. If you don’t have any way for customers to save their selection and visit it later, you’re missing out on these savvy shoppers.

Offering a wishlist or savable lists that customers and customize, send to friends, and visit later will go a long way in converting customers. These lists are also perfect for birthdays, weddings, and other events.

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4. Include Subscription Options

Subscription-based models are becoming simpler. While not every product is a good fit for a subscription service, many are if they’re used regularly. From hair dye to dog food, we’re seeing these subscriptions really change the ecommerce model.

Amazon is one of the first retailers to opt for a “subscribe and save” option. This means when customers subscribe and agree to purchase the item on a regular basis, they save a small percentage (usually 3-5%). Customers can cancel at any time, but the discount and convenience are usually worth it.

Do you sell something people use regularly? While this won’t work as successfully for one-time purchases, it works in many industries, especially wellness, health, hygiene, and pets. It’s that simple to get repeat customers.

5. Allow Reviews

Customers want to try things before they buy them. Because they can’t personally try them when they shop online, they look for reviews. Just like how you research reviews before trying that new sushi place, your customers read through online reviews before making a purchase. Nearly 95% of all online shoppers read reviews, and most won’t even take action until they’ve read reviews.

Amazon makes it simple for customers to leave a review, and it even encourages those who’ve made a recent sale to leave feedback. It’s simple for you to do the same. Don’t worry about collecting thousands of reviews. Just ensure they’re easy to find, available, and create a system for collecting new reviews.

6. Increase Your Uptime

When your website isn’t performing perfectly, customers notice. Even the ecommerce giants face performance issues. When Amazon Prime Day experienced outage problems in 2018, there was an expected $99 million loss in sales.

You need to take your uptime seriously. Learn from Amazon’s mistake and vow to never have one of your own. Application Performance Monitoring (APM) or using a log analyzer are smart ideas for protecting your website against attacks as well as preventing problems.

7. Improve Your Customer Service

Customer service is something Amazon and other big giants do well, but small businesses will always be able to do it better. Customers are looking for positive interactions with brands. For instance, Amazon makes it simple to seek help from a representative, whether it’s through online chat or a phone call.

You can make it simple as well. Integrating a chatbot, using multiple lines of communication, and handling problems quickly will go a long way towards growing your business. Because you’re smaller than those corporate giants, you can afford that individual care these big-name companies miss out on.

Final Thoughts

Fine-tuning your own strategy will help you reach more customers and address their pain points. You’ll quickly discover you have advantages of being small. Start using these advantages today with these tips above.