The announcement Amazon will invest $800MM in one-day Prime delivery has some merchants wondering if it’s another sign their brand is going to fade into the distance as Amazon consumes more of the eCommerce market. We’re not so pessimistic.
Is this really a surprise? Is it really a game-changer? This move by Amazon comes after 2 years of stagnant Prime membership growth in the US, hinting that one-day delivery is an effort to ignite more rapid growth, rather than bowing to ardent customer demand. It’s been Amazon’s mission to deliver products as quickly as possible since 2005, and this investment is just continuous motion to continue that quest, not a sweeping change.
It’s important to consider what merchants can do better than Amazon, rather than focusing on merely trying to blindly mimic their play book. One of our favorite eCommerce sales stories is from a sales rep that spent 20 minutes on the phone with a potential customer answering questions and making recommendations. After picking his brain, the customer said he was going to price shop and check Amazon. The sales rep raised his voice saying “you’ve got to be kidding me! I just answered every one of your questions and gave you a solid recommendation to solve your problems. Did you know you can’t even call Amazon?” He made the sale.
What you can do better than Amazon is be the absolute expert in your category and build and nurture relationships with your customers. Building your brand as the dominant resource for customer care is something Amazon can’t fulfill – they just let customers return items on a whim, not help them solve specific problems.
That being said, there are two fundamentals we suggest perfecting to help spur other creative, more agile marketing ideas to grow in an Amazon-driven market.
Grow With Amazon
First, you should be selling on Amazon if you’re not already. No joke. This isn’t a how-to beat Amazon article – you can’t beat them. It’s more about focusing on growth so you don’t live in fear of the evil empire. After all, 53% of sales on Amazon are actually sold by third-party merchants using their Amazon Marketplace. Getting into marketplace sales does involve updating your software integrations and logistics, but it’s a significant potential revenue stream well worth pursuing.
Don’t ignore other marketplaces either. eBay only has 19.7% share of the online marketplace, but they are significantly more seller-friendly than Amazon, allowing you full access to your customer and their contact info. That allows you to remarket and openly communicate to your customers to build your brand and relationships, as opposed to Amazon, who hoards all of their consumer data from merchants.
SEO and Conversion Rate Optimization
Second, get your site in order with SEO and Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO). It is difficult to be agile and adjust your logistics or add new marketing tactics if you don’t have the fundamentals down solid. Merchants often want to add new features but discover they have to satisfy some prerequisites before going above and beyond. We specify marketing fundamentals as being SEO and CRO (or as we now refer to it: Site Engagement Optimization, recognizing that there are actions we want customers to take on merchant’s sites in addition to making a purchase), because the success of any other marketing effort is influenced by the results of those tactics. It’s useless to invest in social media marketing or pay for any kind of traffic if your site doesn’t convert well. Tactics like digital advertising and email marketing benefit from good CRO and site engagement. Good SEO, especially engaging, meaningful content, and improved conversion rates amplify any other inbound marketing effort you’ll try, and serve you forever as assets to your business.
That all said, if your business is positioned to compete on the logistics level and move to 1-day delivery, ShipperHQ has recently announced a partnership with Deliv, a Same Day Shipping service currently focused on larger cities across the country.
If you’d like to discuss or learn more about our perspectives discussed in this article, give us a shout.