Let me divulge a secret. I’m a huge Amazon fan. When I think about purchasing something new, I first turn to Amazon. I know that Amazon doesn’t always have the best prices. I know that there’s an increase in fake reviews. Despite all of this, the Amazon customer experience still comes out on top.
We all know that Amazon is growing like crazy. There are always stories about Amazon hiring thousands of workers, adding a second headquarters, and simply how much Jeff Bezos is worth (it’s at $175 billion when I wrote this).
Behind all the hype, Amazon does deliver a great experience. Let’s dissect how Amazon does this.
From my perspective, Amazon has designed its customer experience around one idea: get what you need, fast.
Some people might think it’s about getting everything you need, but Amazon doesn’t sell everything. Services like groceries aren’t available in all markets, and some things are better suited for local purchases. However, I wouldn’t be surprised if Amazon wants to be your one-stop-shop for everything in the future eventually.
In the meantime, Amazon focuses on giving you what you want as fast as possible. Amazon strives to deliver your purchases as quickly as possible, sometimes even on the same day. Amazon also makes it easier to go through product research. There are usually multiple options for what you may need, and you can make the best choice based on extensive product descriptions and reviews.
I find that impulse purchases are extremely easy on Amazon. You can browse through 2 -3 options, add it to your cart and buy it within a few minutes. Amazon remembers your preferences on credit cards, addresses, and more.
Amazon also rewards loyalty through its Prime membership. Loyalty programs can be a hit or miss, but Prime is worth every penny. I don’t remember the last time I had to wait more than a few days for a package to arrive at my house, and that’s all thanks to Prime.
Prime is more than just free shipping. It also includes movies, TV shows, and other perks only available in specific markets. There’s even a “Prime Day,” which is Amazon’s way of creating their own Black Friday.
Through these three ideas – quickly getting what you want, simplifying product research, and rewarding loyalty, Amazon can achieve incredible growth.
There are countless examples of how the Amazon customer experience plays out but let’s focus on three to showcase a few principles.
1. Prime Day
Amazon’s Prime Day is the equivalent of Black Friday. Prime is one of the few memberships that I think is always worth it (Costco also comes to mind). Historically, Prime Day leads to billions of dollars in sales (2019 was $6.93 Billion), and it’s another reminder of how to keep your most loyal customers happy.
2. Easy Refunds
Getting a refund from Amazon is easy. You start a ticket or conversation, explain the reason why and Amazon will issue a refund. Returning a package isn’t so easy, but that’s a general problem with online orders.
I’m always annoyed at companies that make getting refunds hard. Refund requests are an opportunity to build trust and loyalty. I understand if a company makes a mistake with one of their orders, but if you handle the error properly, I am more likely to keep shopping with you.
3. Consistent Experience Across Apps
Amazon is available on many platforms, including web, Android, and iOS. The experience is consistently good across all platforms, and you can even move between them. That is, you can start shopping on the mobile app, add products to cart, and then move to the web to finish your purchase. Amazon understands how we tend to shop and, once again, makes it easier for me to give them my money.
Amazon is known for its sophisticated approach to data, and I’m sure they have multiple metrics for understanding the performance of their customer experience. If I were consulting with Amazon, I would recommend that they focus on the following three metrics:
# of Orders on Prime vs. Non-Prime
I think Prime is a fundamental difference in behavior among the Amazon customer base, and I would track this across critical metrics like orders, refunds, and visits to the site. I would then learn how I should engage these two separate groups of users.
Uptake of Amazon Recommended Products
I’m interested in knowing how much consumers trust the Amazon brand and its recommendations. When I label a product as “Amazon’s Choice,” does that impact its sales? Are consumers happier with their choices?
Use of Prime Features
Prime is associated with free delivery, but I want people to take advantage of everything else. I want the membership to be a steal for all customers.
You can’t copy everything Amazon does, but you can learn the fundamental principles and apply them to your business. Galvanize your company by embracing the ethos of how Amazon tries to engage with their customers.