How to Create an Amazon-Like CX and Increase Conversion Rates by 54%
With an estimated 37 percent share of the U.S. market, Amazon.com is the retailer most online shoppers are familiar with, and the one that sets their expectations for customer experience (CX). That makes Amazon a formidable competitor. It also makes Amazon a resource that retailers can study and emulate to improve their own CX.
While it may seem like a lofty goal to try and imitate Amazon, I’ve narrowed down 10 elements of Amazon’s CX that are easy to implement and have a positive impact on conversion rates. In my experience, stores that implement just five of these 10 elements can increase conversions by an average of 54 percent. Let’s take a look at each element and what we can learn from Amazon.
1. Product Selection
One of Amazon’s big strengths is its huge product assortment. Amazon has built a massive product selection through its marketplace, where other brands can sell their products. That allows Amazon to offer more items without adding warehouse space to store them. It also keeps customers on the site as they search for all the items they need.
By adding marketplace capabilities to your e-commerce site, you can extend your product assortment, decrease your customer acquisition costs, earn more sales, and increase your bottom line.
2. Shipping Time Visibility
Research shows that consumers don’t care as much about shipping speed as they do about when they’ll receive their order. Amazon’s product pages do a great job of making shipping options and delivery dates visible. Not only can you see all the delivery options, you can see when the product will arrive and how long you have to place your order to receive it by a certain date. When customers know when to expect their orders, they’re more likely to buy.
3. One-Click Checkout
Amazon pioneered one-click technology, which is now off patent, because tedious checkout processes reduce conversions. Twenty-six percent of consumers who have abandoned a shopping cart say they did so because the checkout process was “long or complex.” The less friction and fewer steps customers have to take to complete their order, the more likely they are to do so.
The ideal is one-click or password-less checkout that requires customers to enter their payment and shipping details only once, not on subsequent orders. That technology is easy to implement, and it can result in more repeat purchases and lower customer acquisition costs
4. Customer-Generated Ratings and Reviews
There’s lots of research showing that consumers seek out, trust and make purchasing decisions based on reviews. Amazon capitalizes on this by making customer reviews and ratings prominent on its product pages. You can even filter search results by ratings to screen out products with poor or no reviews.
Going from no reviews on a product page to just one customer review can increase conversions by 10 percent. With 50 reviews, the conversion rate can increase by 50 percent, and with 100 reviews, conversions can increase by 57 percent. Review tools are easy to implement, and the biggest conversion gains happen early. Therefore, if your site doesn’t support customer reviews yet, it’s time to start.
5. Customer-Generated Questions and Answers
Questions and answers are another way to leverage customer-to-customer information sharing. They provide information the original product description does not, and they come from a source customers trust.
Amazon lets shoppers post and answer questions on each product page, then makes the discussions searchable so other shoppers can find answers fast. This generates more relevant content than basic product descriptions, and can also help with SEO and increase conversion rates. Lastly, Q&A sections are easy to set up.
6. Subscription Options
Earning repeat purchases is a key to lowering customer acquisition costs, and subscription options make it easy. Amazon offers subscriptions for many products in intervals from every month to every six months. This saves their customers time reordering items they use often, and Amazon offers a small discount to encourage customers to subscribe. Subscriptions also keep customers from buying those items on other websites.
7. Product Recommendations
Thirty-five percent of Amazon revenue is driven by product recommendations. Those recommendations are generated by an artificial intelligence-powered engine, and they appear almost everywhere on the site. On the homepage, you’ll see recommendations based on your search and purchase histories. On search results pages, there are editorial recommendations written by third-party content providers. And on product pages, you’ll see more recommendations, like items that were also bought together with the product on the page.
8. A/B Testing
A/B testing isn’t something customers are aware of, but it does improve their experience. Amazon does A/B tests and offers A/B testing tools to its third-party sellers to help them optimize product page content for more conversions. For example, does a different headline or photo affect conversions? What about different copy or a different page layout?
Every retailer that’s serious about raising conversion rates and improving CX needs an A/B testing program that looks for areas of potential improvement, gathers enough data for high-quality analysis, and focuses on statistically significant results.
9. Effective Product Search Tools
Amazon allows visitors to search in many different ways on desktop and mobile. The website's search bar, barcode search, image search, past orders, Alexa search and other tools make it easy for shoppers to find what they want fast. However, many retailers fall short of the ideal when it comes to their on-site search, especially on mobile devices. Better homepage design, thematic browsing, optimized category hierarchies and static content in place of auto-rotate carousels can help consumers find what they’re looking for, according to Baymard Institute research.
10. No-Hassle Returns
Amazon’s easy returns give shoppers the confidence to buy before they try, which is especially important for items like clothing. Because 67 percent of online shoppers look at a store’s return policy before they decide whether to buy, a no-hassle return policy that’s easy for customers to find can increase conversions.
These 10 elements can help your store quickly improve CX and conversions, but they’re not the only aspects of an Amazon-like experience. There are dozens of other things Amazon does to lead the CX pack. Therefore, consider these items a starting point on your journey to continuously improve your CX to stay competitive, win more customers, and earn their loyalty.
Alex Soncini serves as the North American general manager of VTEX, the leading global commerce platform that unifies customer experience into one comprehensive enterprise solution.
Alex Soncini serves as the North American GM of VTEX, the leading global commerce platform that unifies customer experience into one comprehensive enterprise solution. Alexandre brings over 20 years of experience in the digital commerce industry and a passion and appreciation for the accelerated transformation of brands and retailers. As a founding employee, he has successfully propelled the company’s expansion and dominance in Latin America, currently serving over 2,500 online stores in 30 countries. Alexandre is now leading the company's strategic North American expansion. For more information visit: https://vtex.com/us-en/, or follow on Twitter @vtextruecloud.