The Amazon Effect, and how you keep up with it

Do you want to feel old? How about this – web giant Amazon opened its (digital) doors in 1994. Yes, the same year Ace of Base saw ‘The Sign’. And back then, believe it or not, they only sold books. No talking home speakers, afro wigs for dogs or instant underwear (just add water). Things have changed a lot since then. Amazon have been the driving force behind how we shop and the future of merchant and e-commerce. Not to mention the standards and expectations customers have on the shopping experience, customer service and delivery.

Amazon has had such a big impact on shopping, retail and business in general, that there is a thing called the “Amazon Effect”. A broad term, describing everything from how e-commerce has affected traditional brick-and mortar retail to logistic and deliveries. The probably biggest Amazon Effect has to do with the revolutionary change in customer experience. Amazon introduced its customers very early on to a streamlined and basically frictionless shopping experience with near-immediate results. One-click-buy, recommendations, prime shipping, gratifying post-purchase experiences etc.

The key to Amazon’s success seems to be that they predicted how the customers would take charge of the shopping process. As well as how important it was to keep them happy. Or as Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos put it: “Proactively delighting customers earns trust, which earns more business from those customers, even in new business arenas. Take a long-term view, and the interests of customers and shareholders align.”

Amazon made a pretty big splash in the pond of e-commerce, and the rest of the online retailers are certainly feeling the waves. These days customers are comparing their shopping experiences relative to Amazon, and expect the same fast and frictionless buying journey from everyone else. If you are going to survive in the world of online shopping, you need to keep up with the Amazon Effect.

The Amazon Effect on deliveries

While most online retailers have caught up with the importance of being as helpful and service-minded as possible to the customer during the shopping experience, they seem to have forgotten how to proactively delight the customer once the purchase is made. For the merchant, the sale may look like it’s ending the moment the product is paid for, but certainly not for the customer.

Remember, Nothing is sold until delivered. To the customer, the transaction is not completed until they hold their purchase in their hands and squeal with joy. When Amazon reshaped the online retail world they not only taught the consumers to expect their shipments to arrive fast and cheap (preferably for free), they made them expect a complete end-to-end visibility.

Today’s consumers expect full transparency in shipping and delivery. They want to know where their package is, when and where they will get it, and if there are any delays. And they want that information handed to them if not on a silver plate so at least in a proactive manner from the seller. These expectations are driving a change in customer delivery logistics process, and in the way the merchant, e-commerce providers and the carrier communicate.

Enter the proactive customer service tool.

Here’s your box

Improving the post-purchase experience is not only to make the customer happy (and as a result becoming a returning life time customer). With a more effective and visible way to handle deliveries it’s also possible for the merchant to reduce delays, errors, passive returns, and customer service handling. With a tool integrated with all the major carries you as a merchant can monitor all your shipments in real-time. You can also provide your customers with the visibility and proactive delight Amazon have taught them to expect. This service can help you (and your customers) to:

– See where the delivery is in real-time.

– Keep track of any troubles or delays, and notify the customer if something happens. In other words; “There was a problem, but don’t you worry, we are already dealing with it”. This will not only reduce customer service handling, it will also put a positive spin on a negative situation.

– Avoid that ship happens. As in shipping losses, that is. If these kind of losses happen they can be reduced and recovered quicker of they are noticed immediately.

– Tell the customer in a nice branded communication that “Hey, your package is still waiting to make your life more fun” when it’s been gathering dust at the service point for too long. Passive returns are costly, but can be reduced by 50 % with the help of friendly reminders.

Too good to be true? Not anymore. With VIEWMYBOX® you can meet the expectations from your customers, and keep up with the Amazon Effect.