Amazon has upended the digital commerce world. Many customers are now skipping brick and mortar stores and ordering everything, from electronic gizmos to groceries, from Amazon. In 2019, the company’s 2-day Prime Day sale generated an estimated $7.1 billion dollars in sales, topping its 2018 totals for Black Friday and Cyber Monday. In total, the company’s revenues are projected to hit $238 billion in 2020 and $356 billion by 2022.
Interestingly, third-party sellers on Amazon are now responsible for more than half of all physical sales. Independent companies across the world are fulfilling orders placed on Amazon, while the Internet behemoth itself often handles inventory management and shipping. However, there’s a catch: Amazon charges hefty fees both for referrals and managing shipping and inventory.
So how can you position your company to meet the demands of online buyers without the expense of participating in an Amazon marketplace?
The answer is to build your own digital marketplace that offers the convenience of shopping on platforms like Amazon. Amazon has dominated the market by offering fast (and for Prime members free) shipping, excellent customer service, no-hassle returns, and easy-to-use websites and mobile apps, among other things. So if you want to succeed in the eCommerce space, you’ll need to meet -if not exceed- Amazon’s performance and offerings for both B2B and B2C channels.
Sound like a tall order? It is, especially for complex global businesses, but if you’re looking to accelerate your digital commerce consider these 4 lessons from Amazon:
Lesson 1: Your Website and App Need to Offer a Great User Experience
User experience is extremely important for eCommerce stores. The entire process, from the moment a customer tries to visit your site to when they reach the order confirmation page, needs to be fast, seamless, and easy. If customers encounter friction, they’ll be more likely to abandon your site or app.
Consider that 40% of website visitors will give a website just 3 seconds to load before ditching it. This means your website’s code needs to be clean and functioning properly. Your hosting service also needs to be fast and able to handle the traffic you’re bringing in.
Once your website loads, you have only 15 seconds to hook or impress a potential customer. You need to greet your customers with compelling offers and ensure that they can quickly find whatever they’re looking for. If not, customers might abandon your website.
The fact is, there are tons of eCommerce stores out there, giving customers plenty of options. And customers tend to behave like water, taking the path of least resistance.
Lesson 2: Mobile is Now Necessary
Did you know that more than half of all web traffic comes from smartphones, tablets, and other mobile devices? On Black Friday and Cyber Monday, mobile devices accounted for 52 percent of traffic and 36 percent of sales. As such, every eCommerce site must now offer a seamless mobile shopping experience.
Mobile devices differ from traditional PCs in many ways. First off, the screen is much smaller. On top of that, the input methods are different. There’s no keyboard or mouse. Instead, everything is through touch.
It can be immensely difficult for mobile users to click buttons and links on a PC-optimized website. That’s why every online retailer needs to offer mobile sites and apps that are optimized for small screens and touch input.
Lesson 3: The Shopping Cart Has to be Easy to Use
Only about 2-3 percent of visitors will ultimately complete a purchase. Many are simply visiting your website to do some research, check out prices, and to browse your selection. Even if a customer expresses interest in your product or services, say by adding something to their shopping cart, many will abandon it.
In fact, shopping cart abandonment rates average roughly 70 percent. If your website and/or shopping cart is difficult to use, you can expect even more would-be customers to abandon their purchase. In order to reduce abandonment rates, you need to offer a shopping cart that is easy-to-use on every device and requires only a few steps to check out.
Lesson 4: Fast Shipping, No-Hassle Returns, and Great Customer Service Are a Must
So far, we’ve mostly talked about your digital assets. These are undoubtedly important. However, Amazon’s appeal goes far beyond its website and apps. Consider that Amazon offers free two-day shipping to its Prime members, of which there are 100 million in the United States alone.
Whereas customers in the past might wait weeks for a product to be delivered, they now expect the goods to be at their doorstep in just a day or two. In order to compete with Amazon, you too will need to offer fast shipping. This means you must fulfill orders quickly, expertly manage your inventory, and partner with shipping companies that can meet tight timelines.
Further, Amazon has consistently ranked 1st for customer satisfaction. If a customer has a complaint or there’s a problem with the order, Amazon will go out of its way to resolve the issue as quickly as possible and to the customer’s satisfaction. Amazon seems to take the saying “the customer is always right” to heart.
Once again, you’ll need to meet or exceed the high standards set by Amazon. If potential customers check out your site and see a lot of complaints and poor customer service reviews, they’ll skip you for a more reputable site. Likewise, slow shipping and a difficult return process will send customers elsewhere. In fact, an inconvenient return policy could deter up to 80 percent of customers.
So How Can You Compete With Amazon?
You have to beat Amazon at its own game. Sound like a tall task? It is! Fortunately, building a modern, competitive eCommerce platform has never been easier.
By using PhaseZero CxCommerce, you can build an eCommerce platform that offers a great user experience on both traditional PCs and mobile devices. CxCommerce is built to handle the complex needs of global multi-channel sellers.
Managing shipping and inventory is challenging but vital. Many of the customers our clients serve depend upon fast, dependable delivery. For example, in the industrial sector, our clients are often delivering parts for heavy machinery and the like. If it takes too long to fulfill the order or deliver a part, their customers might find their own production lines shut down.
PhaseZero CxCommerce makes it easy to manage both inventory and delivery. We also provide a variety of tools for you to manage customer relationships, feedback, returns, complaints, and more. Amazon’s goal is to offer everything “from A to Z”. Our goal is to offer an eCommerce solution for both B2B and B2C clients that checks every box.
By using the right eCommerce platform, you can compete with Amazon. Taking on giants is never easy but it is doable with the right technologies, processes, and resources.