78% of Australian retailers say they don’t have a strategy in place to combat Amazon. Here’s what you need to do.

78% of Australian retailers say they don’t have a strategy in place to combat Amazon. Here’s what you need to do.

According to the Commonwealth Bank Retail Insights Survey*, Australian retailers have no strategy in place to combat Amazon and need to up their game.  If you do not pay attention soon, your business could be at risk of irrelevance. What to do? Read on.

The key advantage driving Amazon’s 51% year-on-year growth is their customer-centric approach; it’s in the DNA of every layer of the retail giant. Your company might not have access to drone delivery technology yet, however I pretty much guarantee that there are things you can do with the resources your company has now to maximise the ROI on every piece of space on your site, streamline the process to purchase and better understand your guests. The reality is that you can compete with the retail giants; it’s time to pay attention.

Advertising has grown up – no longer is it okay to say ‘buy my widget’ and everybody will go buy your widget. Now, people want to know why they should buy your widget and what it’ll do for their health and whether it was ethically sourced and whether you have same day free shipping. You must know your customer more intimately than you’d like to admit in polite company. And that all-grown-up advertising industry? It thinks it’s an adult. But it’s just passed its driver’s licence and picked up its first new car. Get ready for developments as it puts its foot down for face-melting acceleration, and make sure you’re on for the ride.

How do people find your business?

Of course there is advertising. But then there is 🌟advertising 🌟 – peak-performance, laser sharp campaigns that speak directly to your ideal customer and solve their problems. Traditional mediums and methods have their uses, but these days you have access to incredible results-driven data with which to make decisions on how you drill down to your highest quality audience, what you say to them and when you say it.

Did you know that right now you can, for instance, advertise to people – right in their mobile news feed – who have an upcoming birthday in their household? Or, if you prefer, that you can send a specific message to people who are inclined to shop often? And that’s just a quick example. The FB algorithm has as many as 270 touch points for each user of a network to evaluate regarding when, on what channel, and whether at all to show them your ad. Your message is in the detail.

Organic reach is, well, on the respirator. It used to be that you could build a business by posting on your FB business page and people would love it and share it and come buy your widget. With the heated competition for space in a user’s news feed, it’s become pay to play. Estimates run to about 2% of people who are connected to your page actually seeing the posts on your page. Post the content, provide value. But don’t expect that to bring you revenue in the immediate future. Think of your content as a back-up for your credibility when people are checking you out.

Your brand is the sum of your product, your company’s ethos, your company’s interaction with its customers. When you run an ad campaign, look at the end-to-end process from the first time a potential customer see your first ad, right through to how they feel when they buy from you. Look at the social interaction with your ads and use that as another step in building your brand. We’ve seen how even a negative comment on a client’s ad was turned into a forum where other prospects began asking questions re the client’s solutions and booking a call to sign up with that client. It’s in the way things are handled. Is your team off-handed or defensive with less-than-stellar feedback, or do they take it as an excellent opportunity for interaction and displaying the professional, human aspect of your business?

What kind of experience do your customers have on your site?

When a visitor encounters your site, does it load quickly enough to stop them bouncing away? (Note: current standards recommend a page load time of 3 seconds maximum. Most of us have work to do to achieve that. For a stellar example, look at what The Iconic are doing. Use Google Developer’s free page speed insights tool to start out. Get to it.)

Do visitors immediately know they are in the right place? Does it feel neat and tidy? Does it feel neat and tidy on mobile? Design for mobile. Don’t even ask questions on that one. Just do it.

Do your products have clear descriptions? What kind of font size are you using? For instance, if you’re selling higher-ticket items you might want to experiment with smaller font and remove the dollar sign from the price.

How easy is it for people to find what they’re looking for and check out? What’s the bounce rate between ‘Add to Cart’ and ‘Purchase’? How can you decrease that?

Use a heat map to learn how people actually use your site. Learn how long people spend on each page, how they move through or about each page, and when they click away. Use a survey tool to get real time feedback from site visitors. Listen to that feedback. Make adjustments accordingly.

Do you give your customers the opportunity to include complementary products in their purchase? When thinking about what kinds of products to use here, remember they have solved their ‘problem’ buy selecting a product; make sure other items offered will build on solving that ‘problem’ more efficiently. If you’re customer has bought a t-shirt, for example, what about a cap to go with it?

What happens after your customers check out?

Monitor whether the products arrive either on time or earlier than promised. Evaluate the quality of your brand right down to what the parcel looks like when it lands on their doorstep.

One way you can increase revenue from your customers after they check out is to offer them a ‘thank you’ discount on their next purchase. Time it to arrive just after they receive their product so they’ve had time to get it and love it. Use either a targeted news feed or messenger bot ad or an email campaign to send their next offer.

To measure how this is working, create a customer cohort according to when each person placed their first order, and monitor the retention rates of customers; learn the average time between orders, average order value, and whether they purchase routinely, seasonally or impulsively.

These are just quick notes to attend to that will lift your eComm business performance. You have an arsenal of tools at your disposal. Step up to the challenge and see where you can take your business.

“Local retailers are not without the means and ability to fight back,” notes the Australian Financial Review. “Yes, their margins are going to be hit by lower prices and higher investment, but our best retailers will lift their game and compete.”**

If you want peak performance re your site and in how you communicate with your customers, let’s talk.

 

 

 

 

Sources: Commonwealth Bank Retail Insights Survey, as quoted in ‘Marketing’ magazine, ‘How Amazon is Disrupting Everything’, October/November 2017.

Australian Financial Review, 4 December 2017; http://www.afr.com/business/retail/australian-retailers-will-get-an-amazon-boost-too-20171204-gzyryf#ixzz50LGJTxUh