5 Ways to Out-Amazon Amazon in Online SellingJanuary 25, 2013 By Anand Subramaniam
First off, I'd like to acknowledge that Amazon.com, the preeminent online retailer, has one of the best retail websites when it comes to the relative ease of finding and buying products. The title of this article was chosen to make it provocative, and, in fact, Amazon is even mentioned as a verb in this article to recognize its prowess in web selling. Note that the focus of this article is only web selling and not other areas such as logistics and fulfillment.
Just like in brick-and-mortar sales, the final purchase is where the rubber meets the road in digital sales. However, a lot of heavy lifting needs to happen in customer engagement and selling before that final purchase. When smart, effective and consistent, this engagement quickly results in a purchase transaction and fulfillment follows. While most online retailers have been paying some attention to the transactional part of the purchase, such as shopping cart and payment processing (although we see some gaps here as well), they could do far better in the up-front engaging and selling that enable the sale. In fact, according to industry statistics, the web purchase abandonment rate is upwards of 80 percent, even at the point when consumers have put something in the shopping cart.
While Amazon is one of the better retailers in selling online, other web retailers can "out-Amazon" Amazon and even Amazon can out-Amazon itself with the innovations mentioned in this article. Drawn from the brick-and-mortar retail world, these innovations can be leveraged in the digital world thanks to advancements in customer engagement technologies. Without further ado, here they are — you might want to consider using them within the context of your own online business:
1. A digital Wal-Mart greeter. Much maligned, the Wal-Mart greeter wasn't such a bad idea. Legend has it that Sam Walton was a really big fan of the greeter. He intended for greeters to be friendly people that would make shoppers feel welcome and comfortable as they entered his stores. However, when the friendly greeter was asked to be a "Jekyll and Hyde" multitasker, playing concierge on one hand and security guard on the other in order to reduce shrinkage and control Black Friday crowds — more of the latter than the former — things didn't quite turn out the way Mr. Walton had envisioned. The greeter started to decline in popularity and he's virtually gone or been replaced by a real security guard.