First, the good
Amazon is the biggest threat to online retailers in, well, ever. Amazon’s share of the US ecommerce market hit 49%.
To put things in perspective, this is more than Amazon’s top three competitors combined, with eBay coming in at 6.6%, Apple at 3.9%, and Walmart at 3.7% (source).
Amazon has incredible transaction volume. Shoppers purchased more than 100 million products during the Amazon Prime day in 2018 (CNBC, 2018).
But Amazon’s massive size also means they have vulnerabilities.
What qualifies us to write this article
We (Frictionless Commerce) specialize in conversion optimization, which means online retailers hire us to understand the behavior or their site visitors to improve online experiences. We do this by paying close attention to online buyer psychology.
We’ve been studying Amazon for years. And while they may look intimidating Amazon has some serious vulnerabilities.
What we’ve learned observing Amazon
Reason #1 why Amazon sucks
— Amazon product page layout sucks. There is one Amazon formula and no matter what product you’re looking at (off-brand $12 baby diapers [link] or a $15,615 bracelet [link]) the experience is the same. In school, I remember reading how in communist Soviet Union schools didn’t have names. They had numbers, like School 12229. This was done so a school with a catchy name wouldn’t stand out. Amazon is a little bit like that. It’s the communist version of capitalism.
— Brand search on Amazon sucks:
— Search results on Amazon are all about lowest prices.
— If you are in research mode Amazon isn’t the best method:
— Some of the products on Amazon are extremely low quality. I purchased and then quickly donated a video studio setup built using items from Amazon. They were totally low quality and packing and sending them back would cost more in lost productivity than the items themselves. It was a terrible experience.
And finally, reason #6
What Amazon does great is customer service. But, that’s pillar has an Achilles heel too because once the market starts putting the squeeze on Amazon their “we’ll take things back no questions asked” policy will change. I know it.
10 years ago Apple customer service was beyond amazing. At the time Apple market share was big, but not too big. Their growth rate was healthy and so they had the chance to build their team with quality people. Every person I interacted with Apple customer service was a genuine fan of Apple products. They would look forward to challenging service calls because they wanted to find a solution. In the last 4 years, every time I call someone at Apple I have a terrible experience. It’s clear the agent has a quota to fill. Look, I get it. All I’m saying is that Amazon will have the same challenges. Oh, and speaking to crappy customer service, Google has got to be the worst.
Moral of the story? Don’t be intimidated by Amazon or any competitor. When I feel stress it helps to look at this image: