Your mom uses them, your neighbor seemingly gets 45 packages a week from them, your girlfriend is always on their site, even your aunt in the rural midwest raves about how convenient they are.
Amazon. The behemoth of goods. The de facto sender of items. It’s a service so convenient and revolutionary, you couldn’t imagine living without it… until they steal your online customers and gobble up more of the market share.
Let’s take a look at what makes this giant so frightening, then we will offer some concepts and tools to help keep customers in your online shop and off Amazon’s.
Amazon Confirms an Auspicious Future for E-commerce
If you have read any other article on our blog, or been existing as a human being for the last year, you would know that much of the world is shifting online - including retail and purchasing.
The graphic below from an ecommerceceo.com article will shed some perspective on how much potential lies in the future for e-commerce. The graphic pins the sales of big-brand retailers annually vs. Amazon Prime Day. Yes, day. The one day a year when Amazon offers mega-discounts and attracts nearly everyone with a clickable mouse to their ineffable online catalogue.
Amazon can outpace Dillard’s and Belk’s entire year in a single day and generate almost a third of Macy’s yearly revenue. Translation: that is absolutely wild.
We’ve lionized Amazon enough. And the truth is that unless you ARE Amazon, you have much less potential to make money using them. Infact, this same article points out that 99% of sellers on the site make less than $1 million annually.
The sellers that do rake in dough, often see immediate competition from Amazon itself in the form of private label products. Amazon owns 146 private label brands and 234 exclusive brands in the U.S. Expect to see more and more AmazonBasics and AmazonEssentials products popping up periodically.
While it may seem appealing to get access to so many potential customers, Amazon offers slim profits to most in the long-run and if you’re confident in your offering (which you should be), there’s a better way to sell online.
That’s why we help new online shops open their virtual doors with confidence without succumbing to services like Amazon. To do this, we use Shopify. Why? Because it’s simply the best tool in the market today. Use it wisely, and you can carve out a sliver for yourself in the wild wild west called The Internet.
What You Have That Amazon Doesn’t
Amazon has millions of products, a shiny placard on the wall that reads “World’s 5th Most Popular Website” (probably), and shipping times that make the Road Runner look like he’s stuck in slo-mo. But what they don’t have which you have limitless potential to create is unique customer experience.
Customer experience is the feelings and general interactions a consumer has with your brand. From seeing your website, logo, and colors to browsing and purchasing, this encompasses every single touch point between you and a consumer and it determines whether they will be talking about you at their next virtual Zoom potluck or not.
People Like to Interact With People
Not exactly mind boggling. Research from GetApp Lab reveals that “talking to a real person” is the most important facet of customer service, taking up 36.6% in terms of what is valued most.
One simple but effective method for adding a touch of humanity is through Shopify’s selection of thank you page features and email confirmations. When written and presented well, these two messages can leave customers with a sense of trust and validity after a purchase.
Shopify notes some of these features in one of their articles explaining that thank yous are quite customizable “giving you the ability to insert valid html, scripts, liquid objects, and more within certain sections of the page.”
You don’t have to get too fancy. Start with something like a video link or recommended products in the thank you area of the page. As you develop your brand experience you can iterate as you go.
Email confirmations are another oft overlooked area of the customer experience. Most people check email confirmations (at least the subject line) since they want to know for certain their purchase has been processed and their goods are on the way.
With Shopify, you can thoughtfully engage customers by letting them know again how much you appreciate their loyalty and including an array of potential content such as: upsells, codes, politely requesting feedback, or even informing them of your social media channels or exciting updates.
The Big Bottom Line
There’s no use in competing with a company like Amazon. But your online shop can still exist in its presence. Differentiating yourself is damn hard, but the crux is customer experience. You should be considering it while punching out every line of copy, cropping every photo, and building each feature of your shop.
Make the experience comfortable and polished for the customer and experience big returns and years of loyalty on your end.