"We'll do that like Amazon". I have heard this so many times in my concept workshops that I've lost count. It's true that Amazon does a lot right and swallows about 25% of the German e-commerce pie chart. But anyone who wants to be like Amazon is setting themselves up for a failure.
Amazon's concept is pretty simple: pricing combined with availability. Amazon lets you buy pretty much every product, mostly on offer for the lowest price on the market and delivered the following day. Amazon is, so to speak, the personal logistician for any desires anyone could possibly have. So the shop no longer needs the typical features of a good seller at all. For instance, trust-building using certificates or a phone number for questions and problems, authentic teasers on the home page to get people's shopping juices flowing, etc.
Anyone who wants to assert themselves in competition with Amazon must either force their way into the market with the same energy, as Zalando is currently doing, or fail like the traditional German mail-order firms Quelle and Neckermann. The alternative? Do it differently from Amazon.
7 steps in your own direction
- The majority of retail added value lies in the design of the product range. The range is what makes a store stand out, and only the range will secure someone's loyalty to a shop. Particular brands, particular sizes, or products brought together in a completely new way.
- The seller has to know his target group. Who the design is for, who my product descriptions are intended for, or how photos should look on the website. Selling is one of the seller's key functions and is possible only if he has the target group in mind. Persona is the easy way of developing virtual personalities and keeping them constantly in view.
- The more the merrier - but the time and money required is a luxury that not everyone can afford. If you don't have an enormous advertising and development budget, you have to ensure that you play the right cards and decide what is truly important. Follow a consistent direction, because this, not the speed, is what makes the crucial difference.
- It's easy to order from Amazon because payment is completely straightforward. This is why you should always offer the option of paying with PayPal and on account in order to make shopping easy.
- Have special product ranges available. You can do this more easily because your range is smaller than Amazon's. Only put together a range which is really available.
- Amazon can hardly offer advice on purchases because the range is simply too big and participants in the marketplace don't always provide the best information. This is your biggest advantage. Describe products better, show better images, and offer a more attractive purchase advice service. Make shopping with you more fun and engaging - which is something Amazon struggles to do. Just as shopping in a small store is often more fun than going to a department store.
- People can't ring Amazon, but they can ring you! The phone number should be in the header and visible to every user. Offer advice on the product and show expertise in your product environment.