How to compete with Amazon & why it’s possible: Marketing tips for the rest of us

Amazon doesn't need an introduction. They sell anything and everything and tout unmatched shipping options. They’re a trillion-dollar company with hundreds of thousands of employees. They’re playing a pricing, scale and speed of delivery game that no one can compete with. As an online retailer, it’s intimidating and overwhelming, to say the least.

So, what can you do? How do you convince consumers to buy shoes from your website, for example, instead of Amazon? Don’t despair – it is possible! In fact, plenty of companies are competing with Amazon and winning every day. It all comes down to creating a different, personalized experience – recognizing Amazon’s limits and using that to your advantage by building a brand story and a genuine connection with your consumers.

Amazon, of course, is the king of recommended products. They give their customers what they want, when they want it. Need new shoes? You have 257,369 of them to choose from. But Amazon is limited by their own model. They can’t be the best at everything. All of their consumers see the same generic page layout, cluttered with products and relevant recommendations. It’s clearly a successful one, but it’s also expected and increasingly impersonal. What if you could provide consumers with a unique, personalized website experience? What if you focused on doing a few things really well, instead of trying to be good at everything?

It would be like shopping at a local market versus the big box chain down the street. Sometimes you need a fast, discount transaction. But many consumers want more than that. Providing a personalized experience and honing in on specific products or a certain niche (hi, local-everything trend!) offers more value and encourages consumer engagement and loyalty. As Simon Sinek said in his famous Ted Talk, “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.”

So, what does your business stand for? Why are you different from the competition? And, of course, what do your customers want? By creating a brand story around your products that cultivates a meaningful connection – whether it’s an innovative product approach or donating profits – you can move beyond price and speed. You can capture consumer attention with a better experience, give them what they want and make them feel like part of your community.

Amazon is trying to commoditize all products, but consumers today want to be conscious, they want to connect with your brand and they want their dollar to stand for something. By de-commodifying your business, you can make it personal and set your brand apart. You can compete with Amazon and win consumers over to grow your eCommerce business. It all comes down to the following differentiators:

  1. Embrace your story and omni-channel marketing. It’s not your product OR your brand that will take you to the next level. It’s your products AND your brand. It’s who you are and the personalized value you offer across platforms and mediums.
  2. Speak directly to each consumer about what is important to them. Show your products in the context of what is meaningful to your audience. On the surface, for example, ten people are all looking to buy a watch online. When you dig a little deeper, however, you find out that all of their motivations for doing so are different – and so the same marketing message for all of them wouldn’t be effective.
  3. Deliver exceptional experiences. Amazon says: “You bought some shoes, here are 50 more.” You, on the other hand, can say: “I know you’re interested in running shoes, so here’s an image of a woman jogging, an article on how to pick the best shoe and a testimonial from a well-known trail runner or someone you identify with in your area.”

As you can see, it is possible to win digital consumers over in the age of Amazon. By utilizing website personalization, you can set your brand apart, create personalized experiences and build better connections. Website personalization empowers businesses of all sizes and types to hone in on their customers and offer increased value by way of unique experiences. With personalization, you can:

Streamline your website and maximize its potential. Home pages are typically for branding and product pages are more specific – why not combine them? This offers an all-in-one experience with more convenience for the consumer.

Extend campaigns to on-site experiences for end-to-end consistency. Why personalize social media ads and email messages only to send consumers to a generic, impersonal website? Give your audience a consistent story to connect with and you’ll be surprised at the lift in website metrics.

Increase customer engagement and your conversion rate. Create engaging website experiences that immerse them in content that they want to see, not just what you’re trying to sell. As we said above, embrace the why, not the what. This will lead to an increase in sales and your conversion rate, but more importantly you will build a long-term relationship with your customers.

It’s said that customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator by 2020. Consumers want more – and retailers who can provide it by way of website personalization and omni-channel marketing will reap the benefits of this eCommerce shift. Are you ready to take on Amazon and win?

Contact the Persosa team here to see how website personalization can work for your brand.