There’s no denying that Amazon plays a huge role in the changes we see in consumer buying habits and behaviour online.
Disrupting the digital landscape and showing retailers how shopping habits continue to change and how the ways in which consumers want to shop and buy are ever evolving.
For independent retailers with traditional high street premises to survive and remain competitive, it is essential that they too evolve.
What is the Amazon effect?
The Amazon effect is a term that describes a phenomenon that took place in 1994 when Amazon completely disrupted the digital marketplace.
Introducing customers to an almost seamless shopping experience with today, close to immediate results.
For example, Amazon introduced one-click ordering, free shipping, faster delivery, and, we’ve got to admit, speedy customer service.
Today, ongoing disruption in the retail environment is continuing to be driven by eCommerce.
Due to these online changes, customer behaviour also changed. So much so that we now, as consumers, want and almost expect the same seamless experience when we shop in-store.
However, with more and more people spending time shopping online, how can you compete?
How to compete with the Amazon effect
Identify all touchpoints (both digital and physical) – identify all of your customer touchpoints throughout their buying journey with you and look at how you can improve these and make these areas more efficient and streamlined. Optimise these transactions and use the insights gained from your EPOS systems to improve your overall customer experience.
Offer a personalised service – with the right EPOS system in place, you can offer personalised loyalty programmes and discounts tailored to your customer’s shopping habits and buying behaviour as EPOS gathers vital information from your customers. In addition, you can create and develop much more informed incentives and promotions by tracking customer behaviour using analytics and data gathering.
Make sure everyone’s on board and singing from the same hymn sheet. All staff members should know what to do and how to do it. This means training on mobile POS and EPOS systems to ensure everyone knows how to use the system and deliver the same great service.
Have an online presence too – to match in-store experiences, make sure you have a website that loads quickly, is user-friendly, and is mobile responsive. Your online and offline should accommodate all consumer preferences and touchpoints. You should also consider if you need to have an active social media presence. How are you engaging with your audience and understanding their needs, preferences, and behaviours?
Use your physical store to support your online store, with all sales and ordering transactions supported by a robust POS system. A system that allows your customers to order in-store, collect online orders in-store, make returns, and so much more. Again, consider your whole customer journey both online and offline; these two areas shouldn’t compete but work in harmony.
Introduce mobile technology – improve checkout times and reduce queues by introducing mobile POS. Consider self-serve checkouts, self-serve ordering apps, payment taken on handheld devices, etc. Think about how you can help your customers acquire what they need as quickly and straightforwardly as possible, improving customer engagement along the way.
Retailers need to ensure that their physical stores offer something more. Focusing on the fact that they can provide a physical experience of the product matched with exceptional customer service and a range of point of sale options.
Today, consumers are facing change across all aspects of retail. What’s important is how you apply the features from technological systems that will most benefit you and your customers.
Businesses must use technology to their benefit while continuing to meet customer needs.
Amazon will never be able to provide a 100% people service, not like in-store retailers can; this is the benefit you should capitalise on at any given opportunity.