If you’re reading this, it’s likely the title caught your attention, most probably because you’re keen to find out what it is Amazon can’t do. As the world’s largest online marketplace and one of the world’s major tech players and leading ecommerce platforms, it’s hard to believe there’s anything Amazon can’t do right now.
Amazon has a market share of more than 30% of the UK's ecommerce market, up from 28.8% in 2018, according to research from Edge by Ascential. Globally, more than 197 million people around the world get on their devices and visit Amazon.com each month. That’s more than the entire population of Russia.
What’s more, a large proportion of their customer base now pay a subscription fee to receive additional and priority benefits. According to a survey of 1,500 Amazon shoppers, eighty-five percent of Prime members browse for products at least once a week, with nearly half (45%) making a purchase at least once a week. With 15 million Amazon Prime members in the UK, that’s a lot of orders.
How are today’s retailers supposed to compete with an ecommerce giant that is constantly changing the goalposts in terms of consumer expectations? The answer is, they can’t, and shouldn’t try.
Of course, it’s important that retailers accept and embrace change, and we’re starting to see that play out now. For example, many well known retailers have downsized physical sites, re-imagining their store fronts and investing in online.
A recent retail industry report published by Retail Expo based on a survey of 2000 shoppers, stated that 31% of online shoppers abandon a purchase if site navigation is poor. 28% get annoyed if online checkout takes too long and 23% abandon their basket if their preferred payment method isn’t offered. Investing in technologies to improve customer experience continues to be essential for survival, but will only help retailers to level the playing field.
The growth opportunity, and where retailers (and b2b merchants looking to sell direct to consumers) can stand themselves apart from the likes of Amazon and large faceless corporates, is by embracing their uniqueness to create emotional connection. In the retail industry report mentioned earlier, it stated ‘The future of stores in 2020 will primarily be to deliver “what Amazon can’t” in the form of elevated experience, brand story and provenance, infused with emotion and garnished with high-value, data driven human interaction.’
Amazon is seen as a one stop ‘everything store’. What it doesn’t offer is experiential retail. Shoppers choose to buy because it’s convenient and quick, not because they love the Amazon brand or the website experience. As ethical consumerism becomes more prevalent, we are seeing more and more people choosing to buy from brands that share their values and that they have an affiliation with. This is good news for retailers.
Retailers that have a clear reason for being, and clear values which are shared by their target audience, have an advantage over those that don’t.
One effect of the Amazon phenomenon which can’t be ignored, is that consumers now expect more choice than ever. In ecommerce, more choice means more complexity. Being able to offer not only choice but also personalisation, helping consumers find the products of particular interest to them through your online store, requires a robust ecommerce platform.
In order to manage complex catalogues and multiple SKUs and product variables, your ecommerce platform needs to integrate with your ERP and other third party systems, such as EPOS. 9xb’s Peracto platform can be deployed quickly and inexpensively and then customised to your exact needs, integrating with 3rd party systems to automate processes, migrating data, managing large and varied product catalogues and developing complex business logic.
As we’ve already mentioned, the right technologies are going to be crucial in the next wave of ecommerce. By combining larger known suppliers with more niche, innovative players, you benefit from greater innovation, more responsive service, the ability to be more agile. and most importantly, you gain a point of difference.
Getting all of these elements right will provide renewed growth for struggling retailers. One case in point is Lush, the natural cosmetics retailer, who has created a loyal base of fans thanks to its ethical products, policies and values. Regular instore experiences, combined with exceptional customer service and innovative use of technology - Rather than scanning labels for information, visitors can scan products directly using the recently launched #LushLabs app, replacing packaging with a digital solution - creates a winning recipe.
Find out more about 9xb’s Peracto platform and agile technology solutions for ecommerce.