Wednesday Feb 27, 2013

Amazon Winning the Race

Amazon has been at the forefront of innovation in e-commerce, and that's because they are constantly looking for new ways, not to sell, but to satisfy customers.  That's a key point.  Instead of advertising products, they provide information and advice to customers either directly or via other customers.  This helps people make better decisions about their purchases.  Looking back, we can see Amazon has been a leader in many areas:

  • 1995 - customer reviews
  • 1997 - recommendations & bundles
  • 1997 - 1-click ordering
  • 2001 - look inside the book
  • 2001 - where's my stuff?
  • 2002 - free super saver shipping

The latest feature I've seen is the Customer Questions & Answers. On certain product pages, you can click on "Questions" and pose a question to other customers that have purchased the product.  Apparently Amazon send the question via email to past customers that purchased the product and they are encouraged to reply with an answer.  Shoppers can browse past questions and answers as well.

This emulates the physical world quite nicely.  You see a product, like a digital camera, and want to know how many pictures it can take without a memory card.  A current owner responds with an answer, and you are better positioned to make a decision.  Its just like asking your co-workers and friends, except Amazon knows who already owns the product so they do the "matchmaking."  Amazon claims 96% of the questions get answered, and 40% within two hours.

So what should retailer's take away from this?  Focus less on traditional advertising and selling, and shift to satisfying your customers' needs.  The selling part will eventually follow.

Check out this fantastic presentation on Amazon to learn more:

Tuesday Dec 11, 2012

From Transactions To Engagement

I've mentioned in the past that Oracle has invested quite a bit in acquiring social companies to build out its Social Relationship Management suite.  The concept is to shift away from transactions and towards engagement.  Social media represents a great opportunity to engage with customers, learn what they want, and personalize the shopping experience for them.

I look at SRM as the bridge between traditional CRM and CX.  If you're looking for ideas, check out Five Social Retailing Suggestions and Social Analytics and the Customer.  There are lots of ways to leverage social media to enhance the customer experience and thus drive more sales.

My friends over at 8th Bridge have just released their Social IQ report in which they rate retailers on their social capabilities.  They also produced a nice infographic so you can consume the data quickly, but I'd still encourage you to download the full report.

Retailers interested in upping their SRM abilities should definitely stop by the Oracle booth at NRF in January.

About


David Dorf, Sr Director Technology Strategy for Oracle Retail, shares news and ideas about the retail industry with a focus on innovation and emerging technologies.


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