Don’t let your business underestimate Amazon – they have a secret weapon (and so can you)

Ecommerce

Amazon’s recent Australian launch received a lukewarm reception, with average prices and faster shipping being the only apparent selling points. What you can’t see though is that their competitive advantage is behind-the-scenes of its website. Amazon embraces testing and experimentation, otherwise known as Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO).

Amazon succeeds where other online retailers fail because it does not shy away from experimentation. In fact, every day there are a number of experiments carried out on their website. The business is constantly testing tweaks to its site, including copy, layout, user experience, calls to action and much more. This is what makes Amazon a high converting website, and therefore more competitive than most ecommerce retailers that are slow to embrace the power of data.

I have found it to be crucial for small and large businesses alike to use data-driven insights to give their website visitors what they want, and to encourage them to make positive decisions on your site – whether that is making purchases, booking appointments, making enquiries, signing up, or making a commitment.

Here are three golden lessons we can learn from Amazon to make your website more effective:

Look for evolution not revolution

Amazon is everchanging and evolving. It is always conducting tests and making gradual but impactful changes. The changes that Amazon makes are often so subtle that most of its users would not even notice. However, what is happening in the back-end of Amazon’s site is that the business is reviewing and learning from a massive amount of interaction data. This indicates to Amazon what the right strategies are to push live on the site.

Rather than carrying out big, noticeable changes to its site, Amazon focuses on smaller, more frequent changes, led via data, which come together to create a bigger result.

Mobile first

An increasing number of consumers are getting more comfortable with buying via mobile devices. In their Mobile Consumer Survey (Australia cut) 2017, Deloitte found that mobile purchases rose 25% in 2017 and were set to continue to rise, with younger age groups preferring to use mobile devices over tablets for purchases.

One element of design that Amazon succeeds in is that that it designs up from mobile to desktop, and this is a fundamental part of Amazon’s strategy. Amazon understand that its customer’s experience must be exceptional on mobile, and then look to define how that experience comes to life on desktop – not the other way around.

Design to the tribe

Amazon is such a behemoth that it has a certain type of shopper that comes to its site – we call this a Tribe. Amazon is constantly running tests and experiments that deliver real time results which then helps them better understand the nuances of its tribe. Amazon uses this scientific data to improve the experience on their site with their particular tribe in mind. Your business may not be a behemoth like Amazon but it is crucial that you identify who your tribe is and how to optimise your site for better conversion rates.

Questions to ask yourself about your own site include, who do you design for? Do you know why they buy from you? Do you know why they might or might not shop from your competitors? Do you know what purpose you fill in their lives? Do you know how they like to shop on your site?

If you do not know the answers to these questions, then you don’t know your tribe. You may be trying to cater a little to everyone who visits, but doing so means that you are not really maximising the opportunity to convert the core visitors to your website as much as you could.

Despite Amazons uneventful arrival, they didn’t become a giant in their industry by accident. They have a strategic commitment to understanding their tribe and embracing data in a way that we can all learn from in order to better our own business.

The three golden rules above are found not just behind-the-scenes at Amazon, but in all successful e-commerce sites, and can be implemented into yours as well. Don’t shy away from experimenting on your site and using Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO) to continue to strive to understand and meet the needs of your clients.


About the author

Nima Yassini is the CEO and founder of New Republique, an award winning brand, UX and digital marketing agency focused on delivering Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO) strategies to dramatically improve the performance of websites for brands like Kogan, Catch of the Day, BMW Australia, HSBC, Employsure, Bendigo Bank and OFX.