March 25, 2020
No, Amazon is not saving the world.
But they are doing their part to get people what they need in these untenuous times we are all faced with. We should all commend their role amongst many other digital businesses facilitating the basic needs of sheltered Americans and people around the world. Where would be right now if digital commerce and its delivery systems in today’s mobilized economy did not exist? Hard to imagine that prospect of getting basic goods and supplies without them.
So while we salute the digital pioneers who have changed the world and are playing a critical role in stabilizing it, we must not forget that before all this happened, the “Amazon Effect” was still top of mind. It was an ubiquitous talking piece for just about every retailer and direct to consumer business not more than a mere month or two ago.
A world where you couldn’t compete on price. You definitely were not able to get it into people’s homes faster. Customer service and returns? Forget about it.
But right now, while Amazon is stretching its mighty capabilities to focus its time and resources on “essential” goods and services, it presents an opportunity for businesses to help their customers. Or at least temporarily while Amazon beefs up its staff and operations.
5 days for shipping is unheard of on Amazon but 30 days? It does not seem real. Even navigating the marketplaces, not just Amazon, is a futile exercise of out-of-stock and delayed shipment anxiety that no customer wants right now. There is stress enough abound.
As an online retailer or direct to consumer brand however, this is your window of opportunity to ship faster, price better and deliver exceptional customer service while Amazon can not. Your products are still essential, even if they haven’t made the Amazon cut.
- Shipping Offers - Entice customers with free ground shipping or even better discounted 2nd day air now. 70% of most ecommerce sales already achieve your minimum threshold for free ground shipping so extend the offering for the remainder. A flat rate expedited shipping offer for existing customers, if not entire all sales can provide added comfort to an expectation temporarily lost. While shipping does come at a cost to you, avoiding discounting merchandise through faster service can be just as appealing, if not more. Especially at a time when you can get there faster than Amazon can.
- Flexible Return Policy - Extend your return policy at no cost or nominal fee. Alleviate uncertainty for customers that may find themselves required to replenish their funds due to unforeseen circumstances. Piece of mind is worth investing in your brand.
- Flexible Payment Options - Add Klarna, AfterPay or other forms of extended payment options that lessen the immediate financial impact. It’s lower risk for customers and higher reward for your business
- Loyalty Expansion - Reward your most loyal customers with special discounts and exclusive product offers. They’ve stuck with you for a reason and now is a perfect time to reward them for it.
Most importantly, your biggest opportunity right now is to Invest in your customer experience as much as possible. Customers are reliant on your digital experiences to deliver them goods and services, positive affirmations and laughs and little more connectedness in their everyday lives . No business or person is excluded.
Now is the time to offer more, not less. Frictionless commerce. Overzealous customer service. Compassionate resolve.
Make happy customers. Just like Amazon does.