5 Ways to Compete with Amazon

2013 looks like being another record-breaking year for Amazon, with the Kindle now it’s fastest selling device of all time and a business model that continues to thrive at a frightening pace.

For many retailers Amazon can be the greatest of allies, with Marketplace enabling an exciting new sales channel for big and small brands alike.  However for the majority of our beloved high street brands, the bread and butter is fighting for direct business – and to ensure sales from even the most loyal of customers – major high street brands are going to need to act more like Amazon.

“Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.”

Charles Caleb Colton (1780 – 1832)

I admit to being a serial Amazon user, so decided to summarise the reasons why and highlighting a few retailers who are ticking the boxes that Amazon does so well.

1.  Offer Multiple Delivery Options

Amazon Delivery

The looming temptation of Amazon Prime…

Go back 10 years and delivery was one of online shopping’s biggest pitfalls with many consumers seeing it as an expensive and inconvenient alternative to the high street.

Fast-forward to the current day and this is still a key component of online shopping with so many customers citing flexible and cheap delivery options as the primary reason they shop with Amazon.

Brands could do well to take a page out of the M&S book, who offer a variety of delivery options, from different delivery speeds (and costs), in-store pickup and even designated delivery days.

2.  Search like Google

Good to see Pop up Pirate is still a favourite…

On how many websites will you use the internal search bar?  If you do, how confident are you that you’ll get a decent result?

One of the joys of shopping with Amazon is that you know it will be easy to find what you’re looking for.  With a ‘Googleness’ about the search and friendly results interface it’s a consistent winner.

Companies like BloomReach make this kind of search possible for any retail brand, Buy.com for example, who have made their search intuitive (predictive) and providing a sensible and useful results panel.

3.  Get Product Reviews

Furby was a safer example than Veet for Men…

Amazon picked up pretty early on that people trust people… not us marketers, and product reviews has been an integral part of their offering since 2004.  Over 24% of Amazon customers say they will read a review before purchasing a product showing both the trust in Amazon’s method as well as the model as a whole.

Companies like Reevoo and Bazaarvoice have done a great job in making the Amazon review style look fairly dated in the current climate. High street brands need to follow the likes of Debenhams who do a great job of using customer comments to help products sell.

4.  Offer Recommendations

Ruining all your Christmas surprises…

One of most recognized features of shopping with Amazon is the recommendation engine.  This has evolved over the years from a simple products purchased logic to their current model which has a multitude of layers based on browsing behaviour (both on Amazon and the wider web) and product specific ranges (Kindle for example).

Companies like Peerius and Rich Relevance have taken recommendations to the next level working with brands like NotontheHighStreet.com who do a great job of offering dynamic recommendations across a wide and varied product range.

5.  Store Customer Details

The awful temptation of One-Click…

Over 55% of Amazon customers say they keep returning because the site remembers who they are.  Citing the ease of checkout (one-click is patented I’m afraid) and the lack of having to source payment cards etc each time they buy is a major winner.

Play.com were early adopters of the concept of saving customer delivery and billing details and make it incredibly quick and simple to get from product to order confirmation with the minimum of fuss (and clicks).


Everyone wants to be like Amazon, but the key is picking your battles.

Look at your product range and customers and prioritise the key steps that are going to make the biggest difference.

Chris Sheen is Head of Marketing @ SaleCycle. 

He has a 17 year-old cat and loves Coors-Light beer (which he rightly get’s plenty of stick for).

Get LinkedIn with Chris here >> 

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