Business is tough, especially for merchants, especially when they compete with the likes of Amazon. But as much as Amazon amasses success and as much as they seem invincible, opportunity exists to compete head to head with them.
Before highlighting approaches to fighting back and thriving, I am reemphasizing that everyone needs to be concerned with Amazon because everyone is at risk. In fact, Amazon is moving into physical retail with book, grocery, and convenience store trials. So even those conceding e-commerce to Amazon, believing that they can keep their head down focusing on local, have a whole lot of hurt coming their way.
In the pre-Internet era, when competitors were often miles away, and consumers were less enlightened, there was a buffer for missteps and mistakes. Now that informed consumers can find competitors just a couple of touches away and delivery increasingly 2 hours away (thanks to Amazon), complacency is not an option. And while challenges come from many competitors and business models, Amazon is far and away the number one threat (see “At-a-Glance”).
For all but a few companies, the typical paths where competitive advantages can be gained are out of reach (see graphic above). Those avenues take massive investments/resources and even with that, are only attempts at catching-up, not surpassing Amazon. Still, all is not lost. The most crucial, flexible, broad and encompassing opportunity to outcompete Amazon is user experience, “UX” (called customer experience by some or “CX”) which happily, does not have to break the bank to be a success.
Amazon is good at UX, but you can do better. With an earnest commitment, you can create experiences and relationships that customers will appreciate, will seek you out for, will pay higher prices for, and will share with others. The specifics of how to develop amazing UX are as varied as businesses themselves. It truly depends upon where you are now, where you want to be, the resources you have, and your USP (unique selling proposition).
It’s something that we can explore and with a deep understanding of your business, something that we can craft and execute upon together. That said, here are some opportunity areas that are extremely important for you to consider:
Almost all reviews and user questions anywhere are flawed or implemented poorly, including Amazon. Customers seek them and value them, so it’s a huge opportunity to sieze. We can do far better.
Conversational interfaces/chatbots/virtual assistants
High level customer support needs quick and capable fulfillment 24/7. Customers are concerned with getting what they want when they need it and not the nature of the source of help. We can make it so.
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
True personalization, shopping logic, anticipatory needs assessment, faster/better answers, more operational efficiency, etc. We can elevate your customer’s delight.
Customer purchase lifecycle
Omni-channel and omni-experience anytime/anywhere your customer needs or thinks of you. End-to-end tweaks and improvements to every customer touchpoint. We can raise the bar.
Multiple improvements to the customer experience, customized to your brand and offering in physical retail to fulfill shopper’s desires for real-world engaging experiences. We can make you a desired destination.