5 Lessons Ecommerce Businesses Can Learn From Amazon

5 Lessons Ecommerce Businesses Can Learn From Amazon

Ever heard of this company called Amazon?

Of course you have, it’s everywhere.

And with a mammoth 49.1% share of all US ecommerce and nearly 90% of all shoppers in the UK using Amazon, we mean quite literally everywhere.

Spearheaded by the ever-divisive Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s global ecommerce marketplace is now the number one go-to for online shoppers looking for - well - anything.

Bo Burnham: Jeffery Bezos

With 89% of buyers being more likely to buy products from Amazon than any other online site, it’s fair to say the big, bald billionaire knows a thing or two about ecommerce.

That’s why, in today’s post, we’re exploring 5 lessons ecommerce businesses big and small can learn from Amazon.

From optimising your user journey and fostering a loyal community to strategic marketing and data-led development, here are the most important takeaways from Amazon’s unstoppable success.

Keep it personal  

It’s no exaggeration to say that Amazon is the king of personalisation.

Every time you visit the Amazon site, you’re presented with a completely unique page based on your individual needs and preferences - all products and content are tailored to you.

It’s achieved through an advanced personalisation algorithm. This algorithm logs and analyses the activity of a visitor (browsing habits and products viewed and purchased) and compares this activity with that of similar users.

By doing this, the algorithm is able to use an extensive bank of data to present a dynamic and completely unique page optimised to convert that specific user.

Impressive, right?

This personalisation serves both business and customer, too.

The customer benefits from the convenience of personalised shopping, while the business is able to pursue constant data-led upsell opportunities in the intersections of buyer journeys - everyone wins.

While Amazon might have a little bit more data than your ecommerce business, that’s not to say you can’t look to implement similar personalisation techniques on your website.

You can use a variety of methods to deliver dynamic pages based on your visitors’ habits and preferences, including:

  • Geotargeting to personalise by location

  • Tailored product and content recommendations based on browsing data

  • Retargeting and cart abandonment follow-ups

With 71% of consumers feeling frustrated when an online shopping experience is impersonal, a personalised user journey is becoming integral to a first-rate ecommerce experience. Don’t get left behind.

Keep it convenient

Amazon and convenience go hand in hand.

The key to this convenience? Amazon’s optimised user interface.

Regardless of how technologically capable the user is, Amazon’s user-friendly design and easy-to-grasp navigation process creates an effortlessly streamlined shopping experience. 

As a result, the site conveniently accommodates a demographic of - you guessed it - everyone.

The lesson here is to never underestimate the importance of UX design.

The numbers don’t lie: a better user interface could boost your website's conversion rate by as much as 200%, and improved UX design could increase conversion rates by up to 400%.

So, take the time to consider your site’s navigability in detail, keeping customer convenience at the forefront of your agenda.

Some ways you can ensure your ecommerce site is convenient to its users include: 

  • Creating high-value product descriptions that provide detailed insight to assist shoppers 

  • Integrating autosuggest into your search navigation 

  • Utilising best practice navigation features (e.g. drop-down menus)

  • Enabling filtering in browsing

  • Using high-resolution imagery

  • Remembering (and tailoring to) user preferences

Keep it slick  

If you’re one of the 70% of UK customers who visit Amazon at least once a month, you’ll be familiar with the smoothness of the site’s checkout process.

Users benefit from a slick checkout experience that features only the fundamental components, with the site even allowing one-click ordering.

The importance of an optimised checkout process can’t be stressed enough. 

In one survey, 24% of consumers had abandoned an online cart because they were required to create an account. A further 18% had abandoned an order because the checkout process was too long and/or complicated.

Make sure your ecommerce site isn’t falling at the final hurdle by creating a streamlined checkout process. It’s important that this never comes at the expense of customer value, though.

Breaking down your checkout too much can actually negatively impact customer convenience by neglecting features that matter to your users.

Just take a look at this industry data, for example:

  • 45% of consumers abandon carts because of unsatisfactory delivery choices

  • 60% want to see a delivery date before making a purchase

  • 35% prefer alternate delivery locations at checkout

Conduct audience research to learn what features matter most to your users, then optimise your checkout process accordingly.

Some common ways to streamline your online checkout process include: 

  • Allowing checkout without creating an account

  • Providing accessible instructions for any fields/forms 

  • Not requiring users ​​to fill in ‘unnecessary’ fields

  • Allowing users to navigate forwards and backwards without losing inputs

  • Automating follow-up and cart abandonment emails 

  • Optimising your mobile checkout

Keep it data-led 

“If you double the number of experiments you do per year you’re going to double your inventiveness” - Jeff Bezos.

While this isn’t the most ground-breaking revelation bad boy Bezos has ever had, it does provide a useful insight into Amazon’s culture of experimentation and innovation.

Amazon regularly tests just about every element of its business, from price structuring and order fulfilment to button colours and page design.

It’s key to understand that these experiments aren’t being conducted at random. Instead, they’re all informed by detailed data dives around user habits, behaviours and pain points. 

Rolling out these experiments actually provides a whole new wave of valuable data, too - data Amazon can use to determine whether to continue deploying (or rollback) any update.

Look to embrace a similar attitude towards innovation and experimentation with your ecommerce business.

From A/B testing email campaigns to experimenting with your user journey, don’t be afraid to test, test, test in order to find the optimal ecommerce experience for your audience. 

Just be sure you’re always being informed by empirical data, and never forget to track and measure your results.

While the data you look at will ultimately depend on your tests, some important metrics to keep a close eye on include:

  • Average page views 

  • Session time 

  • Conversion rate 

  • Retention rate 

  • Average spend 

  • Customer lifetime value

  • Cart abandonment rate 

  • Bounce rate 

To avoid jumping to any unfounded conclusions on how your data relates to your users’ site experience, you can even utilise session-recording software, like Hotjar.

This enables you to view users’ browsing sessions for valuable insight into how users interact with your site. Discover where they click, how they navigate and what captures their attention.

Keep them loyal 

It’s safe to say Amazon revolutionised the ecommerce industry with the introduction of Prime. 

For just £7.99 a month, Amazon’s subscription model provides users with access to an extensive library of music and video streaming, as well as free next day delivery (among other perks).

With so much on offer, customers really get bang for their buck. 

It’s the reason there are now over 200 million consumers subscribed to Prime worldwide - in the US, Prime users make up 65% of Amazon’s entire American consumer base

The customers are happy…but not as happy as Amazon. 

This smart introduction of a subscription model has become the ultimate loyalty scheme. Users are incentivised to continue using Amazon as their go-to retailer. As a result, they increase their lifetime value to the company (and significantly, at that).

All the while, Amazon has secured reliable recurring monthly income on top of each user’s monthly transaction spend.

smart gif

Sure, your business doesn't have the cash flow to leverage quite as much value as our Amazon overlords, but this doesn’t mean you can’t learn a lesson or two on building a loyal customer base.

Some incentive techniques your ecommerce business can use to build a brand community and nurture long-lasting customer relationships include:

  • Not only rewarding purchases - incentivise other forms of engagement, such as email sign-ups

  • Creating a referral system

  • Implementing a value-based loyalty programme

  • Introducing a subscription model

Boxing up

Unfortunately, we can’t promise your ecommerce business global market domination overnight. 

But, by following the lessons learned in this post, you can emulate some of Amazon’s best marketing, design and development practices.

It’s all about knowing how to place your audience at the forefront of every decision you make, championing convenience, personalisation and retention at every turn.

There’s no need to ask Alexa for help with your ecommerce venture. Here at Land Digital, our expert team specialise in ecommerce solutions. Get in touch with us today to learn how our digital developers, designers, marketers and strategic consultants can help.