Today’s customer journey is a long and winding road. Online consumers, in particular, often navigate between multiple channels and touchpoints in order to make purchases. A buyer, for example, can browse an item in-store, research the product online, and finally complete his or her transaction using a mobile device.
One way to simplify the customer journey involves integrating user-generated content, such as customer ratings and reviews, into your e-commerce platform. By enabling users to research products directly on your website, you can prevent prospective buyers from navigating away from your page before they’ve made purchases.
But with other e-commerce retailers like Amazon already well-established in this area, what can your business do to stand out from the competition? More specifically, how can you beat Amazon at its own game?
Why Amazon is the benchmark for e-commerce
Amazon was among the first organizations to successfully leverage user-generated content to influence decision making and increase sales. And with an annual revenue of over $100 billion in 2015, it should come as no surprise that the company has continued to harness the power of its strong social community to widen its competitive advantage.
Amazon contains a wealth of rich content – in the form of customer ratings and reviews – that empowers buyers. As a result, its website has become the go-to destination for prospective buyers in search of peer recommendations and product information. According to Forrester Research, 47% of customers use Amazon ratings and reviews before buying items.
Additionally, a staggering 70% of people say they’re more likely to purchase products when they’re able to view ratings and reviews on a website. So if your business hasn’t integrated user-generated content into its e-commerce platform, it’s definitely missing out on sales opportunities – likely to Amazon.
How easy is it to be better than Amazon?
Of course, while Amazon is widely regarded as the preeminent leader in e-commerce, the enterprise is certainly not without its flaws. For one, the site’s reviews are poorly regulated. It’s easy for users to post ratings and reviews under incorrect models or even under the wrong products altogether. So you’re liable to find as much lousy information on the site as insightful information.
With that being the case, now is the perfect time to close the gap between your company and Amazon. But how can you get started? Here are three tips to help you top Amazon:
- Offer products worth raving about: The best way to get people to talk about your products – and your company, in general – is by offering great products. When customers are completely satisfied with their purchases, they’re more inclined to rate and review their new items as well as share other helpful details about their customer experiences.
- Incentivize your customers to rate and review your products: Do you have great products but still no ratings or reviews? Well, you need to do something about that. Even when people are blown away by their purchases, they aren’t always eager to document their satisfaction online. After all, people rarely act today unless there’s value in it for them. So give customers incentives for rating and reviewing your products. Offer a 2% rebate to anyone who leaves a rating on your website. Reward users who share particularly helpful reviews by inviting them to appear in an advertisement.
- Offer valuable services that Amazon doesn’t: So you’ve done everything you can to emulate Amazon. Your site is now chock-full of glowing ratings and reviews. But you still feel you’re losing business to Amazon. One solution is to differentiate your enterprise from the competition and begin making your customers feel special by offering valuable services that Amazon doesn’t. Amazon may provide users with helpful information and low-cost shipping, but it’s definitely not willing to install the new television you buy from the site. But you can – and it could very well earn your brand the customer loyalty it needs to overtake Amazon as the worldwide leader in e-commerce.
Technology is the key to winning your battle with Amazon
In order to compete with Amazon, you need to have the right e-commerce infrastructure in place. Your platform must create seamless links between the products on your site and the content related to your products, be it a rating, review, how-to article, blog, or FAQ.
Educating your buyers is imperative to your e-commerce success. Fortunately for your business, the technology now exists for you to achieve this. By making helpful user-generated content available on your website, you can attract and retain customers, drive sales and increase revenue, create loyal customer advocates, and reduce shopping cart abandonment.
Best of all, by adopting the latest innovative e-commerce technology and following the three tips above, you’ll finally be prepared to beat Amazon at its own game.
For more winning e-commerce strategies, see What’s Driving Real-Time Business?