22nd February 2021 - 10 minutes

How To Be Like Amazon

Within this blog we discuss ‘how to be like the King of ecommerce – Amazon’.

Amazon is widely recognised as the original personalisation pioneer. For years, Amazon has been praised for its user experience (UX). The Manifest suggests, “Amazon succeeds by offering a minimal, search-oriented user interface (UI) that accommodates both digital natives and internet newcomers.”

Their success comes from their ability to provide fast and free shipping, a huge range of SKU’s, and unique journeys for every individual shopper – which again adds to the overall UX of their visitor’s.

This multinational technology business’ success has prompted case studies and headlines about the way it uses personalisation and recommendations to – live out every marketer’s dream – show the right products at the right time.

Amazon time and time again has proven that personalisation within an ecommerce business will increase revenue, conversion and customer loyalty.

It is now a known fact that customer’s expectations are higher than ever. Lockdown has shifted the majority of sales online. Amazon’s level of UX across the whole user journey has impacted the way that shoppers view other stores.

“But I’m not like Amazon”, you might say.

Most businesses don’t have the resources or bandwidth that Amazon can afford to sink into its personalisation efforts. Or maybe you don’t have the expertise or know-how to personalise.

Luckily, with advances in artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, along with increasing accessibility and affordability for personalisation software, anyone from retail giants all the way down to local shops can afford to adopt ecommerce personalisation.

More importantly, the question increasingly becomes: can any online store afford not to have personalisation?

How does Amazon do it?

If you have a personal Amazon account, have a quick look on your Amazon home page. Mine, for instance, shows products I have recently viewed, products I may be interested in, and then more generic products that they are trying to promote – such as Amazon merchandise.

If I click on any of those categories, and then click on an item, when I scroll down I see a cross-sell: customers who bought this item also bought items X, Y and Z.

As I browse through the site, however, I’m continually being shown relevant banners such as women’s dresses, book recommendations, recommendations for items I looked at but didn’t buy.

Not only does this content show me products based on my interests and hobbies, it adapts in real-time depending on the way I interact with the site.

When browsing through Amazon, I have no doubt that my journey is customised and streamlined to help me get from point A — thinking of a product I might like — to point b — buying that product.

Amazon is able to achieve this high level of user experience through ecommerce personalisation. An intuitive ecommerce personalisation solution allows you to build personalised user journeys based on your customer’s interests, online and offline behaviour and shopping preferences.

Up your game: Amazon style

We have four top tips that any SME can follow to achieve the same level of user experience that Amazon is able to deliver – time and time again.

1. One-to-one Marketing

One-to-one marketing has always been a buzz word and focus for marketers. The advent of personalisation means that this has now become a reality. However, manually creating content aimed at highly specific niche audiences can be time consuming, a resource not all companies have.

Amazon’s solution is to layer many different levels of personalisation onto their site. Amazon displays personalisation of all different depths, integrated seamlessly onto their site to deliver an experience which will be relevant for most visitors, with a minimum of effort.

They create a customer profile based off of information that they can retrieve, such as age, gender, location etc. For instance, I am a twenty-something year old woman, interested in fitness, the seasons are changing from Winter to Spring so I am being shown outdoor sporting equipment before searching for anything.

With these broad strokes of personalisation, Amazon can be sure to hit on some relevance without investing in too much effort.

Keep an eye on trending events or seasons, like Spring, Bank holidays, or even a fun little-known holiday like National Hug Day. Every event is an opportunity to market, if it’s relevant to your business.

Once you have gathered some information about your customers, using segmentation to divide your customers into groups can be very helpful for increasing sales and average order value. These don’t have to be demographically based — for example, you might find your customers can be grouped into first-time visitors, multi-time visitors who have never purchased anything, customers who like a certain brand and loyal converting customers.

Further down the line you can build on these types to be more and more targeted, but especially to begin with, even customising for just a few types of buyer personas can be hugely valuable.

The result of this kind of layering is that you build a better understanding of your customers as an individual, which will then lead to them seeing and buying products that are relevant.

2. Upsell and cross-sell

Upselling and cross-selling, in basic terms, can improve your customer’s UX by showing them alternative products based on their search, interests and behaviour with your site. 

Give your customers what they’re looking for before they even know they need it. Over one-third of Amazon’s revenue comes from upsells and cross-sells.

I will say that again: 35% of Amazon’s huge annual revenue comes from offering people complementary or more expensive alternatives to their customers.

Has this ever worked on you?

Real-time personalised recommendations can be hugely powerful and impactful to your online revenue. Inspire and excite your visitors to purchase more.

Offer suggestions and alternatives such as ‘deluxe’ or ‘luxury’ versions of the products they are looking for. Incentivise your customers to purchase larger quantities by offering package deals of the products they are looking for – suggest complementary products or ‘usually purchased with X’.

The best part about this bit is that it can all be done by AI. Machine learning can determine which products are frequently purchased together, simultaneously adding social proof to validate a purchase and persuading the visitor to buy more than they might have originally.

For instance, so many fashion retailers today offer their customers the option to ‘complete the look’ – by offering a matching pair of shoes, necklace, or belt, to complete the outfit. This makes the customer, your boss and your monthly revenue very happy.

Upselling can reap huge rewards. Determine which products on your site are the most popular and see if you can find a more luxurious, upmarket equivalent to sell alongside them. Chances are your customers are already interested and will be willing to pay more to get a better product.

The takeaway here is that your visitors really are expecting you to know them better than themselves. This might seem daunting, but with the help of solutions like ecommerce personalisation, it is hugely achievable.

3. One size does not fit all

Something Amazon does incredibly well is pander to each customer. They build a totally personalised homepage and recommendations page that changes depending on the user, the day, and even real-time behaviour. Amazon continually delivers personalised, relevant content that’s perfect for each individual.

Even as you browse ranges and products, Amazon’s site is peppered with recommendations and offers just for you, based on what you’re doing now, what you’ve done in the past, and what customers similar to you have done.

The result is a website that feels like it’s listening to its visitor’s needs.

For example, in the online world, shoppers rarely make a big purchase on their first visit to a store. Instead, they tend to do browsing and research before making their final purchase. When I leave Amazon after viewing an item and return, my recently viewed items are front and centre, so I can easily click and buy it.

In another instance, when I click on a product (a journal in this case), when I scroll down I am presented with a personalisation showing me what customers buy after viewing the item — with options for best-selling, top rated, and lowest price.

These are just a few examples to show how Amazon caters to the individual — trying to anticipate and answer any questions they might have, any problems they might encounter, all while still making it incredibly easy to make that purchase.

All of this functionality is now available with plugin and play ecommerce personalisation software.

4. Flexible, fast and free delivery

Our recent blog, How SMEs Can Adopt The Latest 2021 Ecommerce Trends, talks about how smaller businesses can improve their delivery options.

One of the main differences between bigger and smaller businesses is the ability to meet the fulfilment needs of their customers. A huge appeal for Amazon users is the option for flexible, fast and free delivery.

NRF’s study shows that 65% of consumers check to see if the site has free delivery options before browsing the site.

People want an easy checkout experience that then leads to a fast, sustainable and – in most cases – free delivery.

Free delivery for all purchases may not be doable for a lot of SMEs. An alternative option, many brands have adopted, is offering ‘free delivery’ when a customer spends over a certain amount.

Using different tactics to reward customers with free delivery for spending over X amount, will encourage customers to increase basket value.

There are many ways this could be achieved. Through a popup in the basket, a banner on the homepage or an email campaign offering a free delivery code for all orders over £30.

Moreover, another great perk of Amazon is the ability to order something and receive it the next day. Whilst many smaller businesses may not be able to facilitate this level of fulfilment, exploring options of local delivery, click and collect and curbside pickup are becoming more popular.

During the first phase of the pandemic 6,500 UK brands have adopted a curbside pickup option to compete with the next day delivery demand.

Offering alternative delivery options will allow your customers the choice of how they receive their products. Allow your customers the freedom of flexible delivery options.

Next steps: how to go above and beyond

Now you have learnt all the Amazon tricks and hacks of a successful ecommerce store – it is time to go above and beyond.

Amazon recently has been slandered for being ‘basic’ by competitors Shopify. They critic Amazon shoppers as unoriginal and urge shoppers to visit SME stores.

No other brand is you and that is your superpower. Use ecommerce personalisation and your brand’s personality to enhance your online store.

Below are some top 2021 ecommerce trends to consider adopting to stay ahead of your competition:

  • Social media commerce

Social media is your best friend for connecting you with your target audience. Social media commerce is now hugely popular for promoting and selling products via social platforms. This can be done in multiple ways, such as retargeting, video commerce and shoppable posts.

More and more people are shopping online via a mobile device. Make it easier for your customers to shop with you wherever they are.

Push out content that your customers want to see. For instance, if you are a brand that targets pet lovers, post funny videos of animals to build a rapport with your audience.

  • Conversational commerce

Conversational commerce is a great way to inject the ‘human touch’ into an online store. It is a system of direct communication between the business and the customer. It is done through direct messaging.

Live chats are great for connecting with your customers, automated messaging and recommending products.

  • Faster checkout

The latest trend is contactless payments. Mirror this effortless transaction within your ecommerce store. Have ‘remember my details’ options so that customers can quickly complete transactions.

Allowing customers to pay via ApplePay and PayPal can be seen as more secure and quicker forms of payment.

Another large trend at the moment is ‘buy now, pay later’. This newer form of payment allows customers to purchase the products and then pay for them within instalments at a later date. Popular brands include Afterpay, Zippay, ClearPay and (most recently) Klarna.

Adopting alternative payment methods will reduce the chance of cart abandonment.

  • Get on trend

The growing concern for the environment and brands to provide inclusivity and diversity within their stores is more prevalent than ever.

Offering products that are for all and not for specific genders seems to be the future of shopping.

Moreover, offering products and packaging that is eco-friendly and less harmful to the environment appears to be a common need for many visitors when choosing a brand to shop with. 53% of global consumers prefer to buy products that are sustainable and less harmful for the environment.

Sustainable packaging can be more expensive, consider donating a portion of your proceeds to environmental causes.

How PureClarity can help

Anyone can be like Amazon today. All you need is the right approach. Check out PureClarity for all the right features and functionality at the right price.

PureClarity is an intelligent ecommerce personalisation solution. It helps SMEs increase revenue, conversions and customer loyalty. This is achieved through providing a seamless and unique shopper journey for every customer – every time they visit.

We help you connect better with your customers.

Our expert team and technology will enable you to use all different depths of personalisation, cross-sells and upsells, and make sure you’re making it easy for your customers to find (and buy) what they’re looking for. Recommending the right thing at the right time to the right person is more possible than ever before with the help of PureClarity.

Don’t just take our word for it sign up for your 30 day FREE trial today >

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