Amazon.com is the leading ecommerce retailer in the United States, generating a whopping $67.9 billion in revenue in 2013. Most people choose Amazon because of their low prices, but what if I told you that prices weren’t the sole contributor to their success?

What if I told you that, in fact, it had more to do with their ecommerce customer experience?

The rise of the internet fostered a growth in the number of speciality ecommerce retailers. If you’re looking for a pair of Calvin Klein boxers, there are now hundreds of websites that you can go to and buy this product.

Recently, I needed to make an online purchase and immediately went to Amazon.com. That got me thinking – why did I automatically choose Amazon?

Was it because I knew their prices were competitive? Was it because I knew they had a large range of products? Was it because they offered free two-day shipping with an Amazon Prime membership? Or was it because I knew they would have a lot of product reviews?

This really got me thinking. Why do millions of Americans and customers from around the world buy from Amazon? It’s like they have this competitive advantage that no other ecommerce retailer has.

It couldn’t simply come down to the price, could it?

Price isn’t the sole reason you and millions of others shop at Amazon. You do it because they offer the best ecommerce customer experience.

The following is a discussion of five ways Amazon creates an amazing experience that compels you to be a loyal customer, make repeat purchases and tell all your friends about it. Take note of these ideas and see how you can apply them to your own ecommerce business.

 

1. Personalized emails

Personalizing your email marketing will help improve its performance and ensure you add more value and are more useful to your customers. Personalized emails work better because they are tailored to the individual needs of the customer, meaning they are more relevant. This increases the likelihood that they will be opened, read and clicked on.

Amazon uses personalized emails particularly well. In fact, they have three emails that I like and you should consider using:

Cart abandonment emails: These emails are sent to customers that have added a product to their shopping cart but not yet completed the transaction. A friendly email reminder is triggered and sent within a couple of hours that shows the customer the item they have in their cart and suggests some other options, too. Check out the email I received after I searched for and placed in my cart a pair of sports shorts:

Special offer emails tailored to a customer’s interest: Amazon uses data collected from a customer’s shopping history to send specific offers tailored to their interests. For example, I was shopping for a new Dell laptop and checked Amazon for the prices. One week later I received this special offer via email:

Transactional emails: These emails are generally “thank you” messages sent after a customer purchases a product and offer personalized product recommendations. According to ExactTarget’s recent Retail Touchpoints Optimized report, typical transactional emails are opened 70-80% of the time. This offers a tremendous opportunity to catch buyers while they’re shopping and send a personalized offer.

 

2. Self-service support

According to a study by Forrester, 72% of customers prefer to use self-service support to find answers to their questions, rather than phone or email support.

For your ecommerce business, this means offering comprehensive information about your products on your website. This could be in the form of detailed and accurate product information, a wide range of product photos and/or real reviews from customers.

Gregory Ciotti, marketer at Help Scout, suggests you have a knowledge base or collection of FAQ-style articles that address common problems your customers might encounter. Gregory says this will “decrease the amount of tickets you receive, and increases the amount of happy customers, as they now have the option to solve small difficulties on their own.”

Amazon exceeds customer expectations by offering a wide range of information that helps its customers find answers to their questions themselves. Nearly all products sold by Amazon have a detailed product description that is full of information – often information you can’t even find on the manufacturer’s own website. You can also find real reviews from customers that go into detail about the pros, cons and use cases for the product. Finally, there are plenty of images – both directly from the manufacturer and uploaded by customers. The combination of these three elements gives customers a stronger sense of trust with the Amazon brand. They know what to expect when buying from Amazon, which makes the purchase easier to justify.

Gordon Tan

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Gordon Tan is an entrepreneur based in Australia who has started and sold multiple technology companies with a combined value of $150m. This included a client satisfaction benchmarking platform which gave him first hand insight into the best practices of over 6,000 businesses. After retiring at 35 he is now a recognised thought leader on winning and retaining clients - His two passions: making clients the heartbeat of a business no matter what the product or service and this blog.

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