How to Learn from Amazon to Improve Your Marketing

By Erin |  Jun 1, 2020 (5 min read)

Ecommerce | Marketing | Trends

There is no doubt that Amazon is the most successful company of the past 25 years. With a market valuation of $1.2 Trillion, they have shown that ecommerce is the way of the future.

Ever since it’s inception in 1994, Jeff Bezos and the Amazon team have continued to reinvent the way the world shops, and how we make buying decisions.

But there are a lot of lessons that smaller businesses can learn from Amazon and adapt to their marketing.

The original Amazon website was solely focused on books. Over the years it grew into the world’s largest online retailer.


High Levels of Variety

When Amazon first opened its virtual doors in 1995, it was an online bookseller. By 1998, they had begun expanding to other product lines, and today are known as the world’s largest online retailer.

The huge volume of variety that Amazon offers is key to the success they have built. Consumers today know that they can browse and compare similar products in a category.

While all businesses may not be able to match the huge volume of products of a store like Amazon, there is a great lesson here. Find the key products and services that customers in your target market and see if you can offer them through your business. Even if you act as a reseller, you may find your dedicated customers will want to buy from you.

Every time a person logs into Amazon, the website changes to create a personalized homepage.

Create a Personal Experience

One of the best innovations that Amazon has made is personalizing the customer’s experience. 

When customers shop at Amazon, they are offered products that are customized such as ‘Inspired by your Browsing History’, ‘More Items to Consider’, and ‘Featured Recommendations’. 

And the recommended product categories are scarily accurate. Based on gathering so much consumer data Amazon seems to know just what products and services each person is looking for.

The lesson here is a simple one, but not easy to emulate. Look for ways to make your customers feel like you are only focused on them. Offer them products that pair with or complement their recent purchases. You can either do this through data gathering or simply getting to know your customers better on a personal level.

Amazon allows customers to preview books and read a lot of product reviews before purchasing.


Product Details & Reviews

One of the most appealing aspects of Amazon is the level of detail about every product on their site. Any time you are interested in a product, your natural inclination is to learn as much as you can before buying.

Amazon has created an incredible system for helping people learn about the products they are interested in. Each product is featured in images, often from different directions, and allows the ability to zoom in. Books offer a sample chapter and information about the publisher.

Most importantly, Amazon allows consumers to post reviews both positive and negative about all the products on their site.

This allows people to get a real world view of what to expect with each product or see what the results are from purchasing them.
Offering a balanced view in your marketing copy, and providing clear testimonials can do a great deal to build trust with your brand, and to encourage more sales.

The Amazon Marketplace allows people a variety of prices and delivery options for both used and new products.


Comparative Pricing

An element of shopping that the internet has changed is pricing. Today, you can easily get a variety of prices for the same item. This gives each buyer a lot of options and a sense of fairness.

Amazon piggybacked on the trend by opening up the Amazon marketplace, an online shopping network where other retailers can sell their products directly from the Amazon site. Amazon Marketplace allows sellers to resell used and new items, whereas Amazon does not.

The benefit of the Amazon Marketplace is that you can see prices from the entire internet, and choose to buy new or used items at a lower cost.

While it may not be possible to offer to sell through different vendors for your business, you can still offer genuine price comparisons and even publish your prices on your site. This helps potential customers see the true cost of doing business, and moves them closer to buying.

Using data from the purchase histories of thousands of customers, Amazon can offer incredibly accurate upsells and recommendations.


Upselling & Recommendations

An excellent method for growing a business is to upsell to existing customers. Amazon found that by including additional products below the product a customer is viewing, it could increase the volume of purchases.

Using purchase data to understand which products might also appeal to a customer is an excellent way to make accurate recommendations.

If you know the typical add-on products that your customers buy, you can also suggest and offer them at the point of sale. These people are at the hottest buying temperature at will be more open to additional purchases at that time.

Slow delivery has always been a deterrent for online shopping, so Amazon found ways to reduce the time and cost of delivery to consumers.

Speed of Delivery

When people began buying online in the late 1990s, there was very little way to know when (or even if) your order was going to be delivered. Over the years Amazon introduced a ton of different incentives and innovations to improve the delivery process.

In 2002, Amazon introduced the Free Super Saver Shipping for orders above $99, it soon lowered to orders over $25. Starting in 2005, Amazon began offering two-day shipping for Amazon Prime members. 

Today, Amazon offers delivery options that include the same day, one-day, two-day, and 5-7 day free shipping.

This ability to offer different options for delivery gives the consumer a ton of choice. It also alleviates one of the pain points of online shopping – that you have to wait longer to receive what you purchased.

Looking for ways to increase the speed at which you can serve your customers will have an impact on your sales. Try to add more speed and convenience wherever you can.

Jeff Bezos has always advocated a ‘customer service first’ approach to all their online offerings.

Customer Service Comes First

In 2018, Jeff Bezos explained that Amazon always focuses on serving the customer as a priority. “The first and by far the most important one is customer obsession as opposed to competitor obsession. Being customer-focused allows you to be more pioneering.”

This approach has led to Amazon pioneering some amazing innovations over the past 25 years and helped it become one of the most valuable companies in the world. 

For smaller businesses, these same innovations can be used at a grassroots level, and help to grow your business through customer-centric marketing. 


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