Amazon has more than 40 product categories shown in their website and they continue to expand into grocery market (Amazon acquiring Wholefoods) and create their own house products. This retail giant is the largest online retailer in the world measured by revenue and market capitalization and second largest after Alibaba Group in terms of total sales globally.
One unorthodox aspect about Amazon is the fact that customer service has never been the priority of Amazon’s marketing strategy, so how is Amazon able to achieve better customer satisfactions than a lot of other online retailers who spend a lot on providing life help and other more traditional customer services? Typically customers come to Amazon.com already knowing what item they are looking for. They look for price comparison or reviews. So customers do the research, read the reviews and select the items into shopping cart, and pay online. During this process there are no cashier, no greeting person no sales person no information center. This process requires the customer have some knowledge of the product or have done the research to make a compelling decision for purchase. Customers are involved in these processes. Amazon did not do much to service the customer during the shopping process.
Amazon has no issue achieving customer satisfactions and continuously converting customers to become loyal repeat buyers. That’s because Amazon gave us the essential services and elements of shopping that we want: availability of almost anything available for sale and hassle free experience from buying to returning unwanted items. The two most common questions we ask Amazon is do you have what we want and how fast you can get us this item. Amazon gave us most definitely answer for these two questions than any other online retailer so we love their service. Their priority is never customer interaction or customer service instead it is about variety and fast delivery. Amazon spend most of their money and resource developing automation system in their fulfillment centers and warehouse to support and guaranteed a fast delivery of orders. It’s a resolution of lifestyle they provided for people who adapted the online shopping. This also allows the customers to be more independent and have a level of privacy and freedom to peruse, browse and do their own product research without pressure from sales people or paying extra for a company that do provides higher level of customer services.
Since Amazon is the front-runner in the online retailer market by far. They can afford to have an easy and generous return policy that makes them truly popular among customers. What we learn from them is customer service/marketing can be an important part of your business but should not be a standalone priority of the company. Knowing what customer truly wants and responsive to their need is the guidance to all service business. The company I work for is a small tech accessory design startup. With the company’s small scale we often find ourselves swamped by the volume of customer service that we need to deal with. In the busy season, we are severely off-balanced due to putting too much efforts and resources into customer service as suppose to product development and sales, which is the core function of the business. We find ourselves nearly solely reactionary at that point as supposed to be proactive in terms of brainstorming regarding the directions the company should move forward.
Amazon is inspirational and allows me to take a step back to evaluate my work and identify critical priorities and objectives that can add value to the company and which are the tasks just reactive and how to prioritize them.