Where do you go when you’re searching for a product to buy—Amazon, Google or another site? According to a survey of 1,000 US consumers by PowerReviews, 38% begin on Amazon, followed by Google at 35% and a brand/retailer site at 21%. This shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise as Amazon has quickly asserted itself as ecommerce's largest power player.
So why are they the first choice for so many consumers? According to the survey, Amazon's rich product offerings, free shipping offer, better prices, and product reviews are best in breed. Although many other retailers have the same offerings, the digital giant has created such a frictionless shopping experience (especially on mobile) that consumers now view them as the superior option.
When we take a look at the behavior of those who start the research process on Google, 52% will go on to select a Google Shopping result and 41% will select a link to Amazon or another retailer site. It’s no surprise that Google’s Product Ads are the preferred next step. These image-based ads make it easier for consumers to see a lineup of product options for them to choose from, an experience that mirrors that of Amazon’s product pages.
So what are a ways that brands can increase their online visibility and ensure they’re chosen over Amazon and other competitors? Let's take a look.
1. Get to consumers before they make a search
Brands collect and store massive amounts of consumer information that can be used to create custom audiences to target across social, email, display, and search. Expose these audiences to products that may be a fit based on historical purchase history, interests, major lifetime events, and more. For example, serve a display ad for a pair of drum sticks to someone who purchased a drum set, a Facebook ad promoting perfume to someone who has a high interest in beauty and fashion, or send a 20% discount offer email to someone who has an upcoming birthday.
I need a new pair of glasses, but I hadn't started looking at options. This ad caught my (blurred vision) eye and jump started my search.
2. Ensure you’re using all necessary extensions
Consumers choose Amazon because of their product reviews, free shipping and better prices. Odds are, you also offer all three of these, so make sure you’re promoting these offers in your ad extensions.
3. Add product ratings on Google Shopping
Product reviews are an important part of consumers’ decision making process, with 45% saying they’ll go back to a search engine if there aren’t enough reviews. Make sure all of your reviews are available in Google Shopping.
4. Direct shoppers to local storefronts (if you have one!)
With 90% of retail sales taking place in physical stores, multichannel retailers have a serious advantage on etailers like Amazon. Make sure you’re using Google’s Local Inventory Ads to drive local searchers to nearby stores. At Adlucent, we’ve found that LIAs performed 4X better than standard PLAs.
5. Create a community
Are most consumers die-hard Amazon loyalists? Typically not. We shop on Amazon because it’s quick and easy. By using perks and rewards to build a community of brand enthusiasts, you’ll increase your odds of becoming their go-to destination.
6. Improve the shipping process
Have you ever ordered something online because it was cheaper, but then it arrived a week later than you expected? We all have. If you can’t offer free shipping (and/or returns), make the shipping process better. Assume a small piece of the financial burden to ensure the package is delivered earlier than expected. Work with an SMS platform to provide real time updates on the status of the delivery.
7. Make customer service a priority
Is Amazon known a leader in customer service? They’re not, so play the “Nordstrom card” and invest in delivering a great customer experience. Check in to see how your customer is enjoying their purchase, make returns hassle free, and answer questions in real time. I recently bought a mosquito repellent on Amazon and when it arrived, it had expired the year prior. It turns out the seller ran a business out of her house and when it went under, she sold the old, excess inventory on Amazon, and then she begged me to not write a bad review or notify anyone of the problem. Sure, I got my refund, but I lost a lot of trust in Amazon as a seller.
So where do you go to start the product research process—a search engine, an app, a retailer, a marketplace, or a manufacturer site? Do you have any Amazon or marketplace stories of your own? Weigh in here!