, , , ,

The competition between Amazon and some retailers is evident and obvious (think Walmart, Target, Barnes & Noble, Staples, and so on). But according to some analysts, Amazon competes with literally every retailer, which means the every retailer needs to understand what makes Amazon work so well if they are going to remain competitive and hold on to at least some of their market share.

NGR-INGPLYHE0770-SThe advantage comes from three main features. First, Amazon is incredibly convenient, available to meet shoppers’ every product need, at any time. Second, it is increasing its remarkable availability even further, such as with its expansion into services and its introduction of new tools and channels to help customers interact with it more often. Third, just in case people want to interact personally, Amazon is gaining steam as a brick-and-mortar retailer as well.

Let’s consider these benefits in turn. Not only is Amazon’s inventory unsurpassed, but it makes ordering them easy with checkout tools such as one-click and automatically repeated purchases on frequently bought items. Then it gets the ordered products to customers quickly and conveniently. For a fee, many customers even can get the products on the same day. But with its expanding roster of distribution centers, Amazon ensures that even its free, standard shipping service is pretty fast.

So why does it need physical stores? It recognizes that some customers like to shop in an actual environment, rather than a virtual one. Accordingly, Amazon plans to apply its remarkable facility with integrating and leveraging customer data to make recommendations to its brick-and-mortar stores. In so doing, it appears poised to make a successul transition from a mainly online presence to a truly omnichannel source.

It also is making its presence felt in other ways, especially in customers’ homes. With its Echo service, Amazon customers who pay for Prime Now service can place orders by calling out their grocery list to an artificial intelligence device installed in their homes. With records of prior purchses, Echo can also suggest alternative options and apply previously set shipping preferences. The Dash device is another means for consumers to reorder various items with literally a push of a button.

As consumers invite Amazon in and solicit further services from it, the effect the retail giant has on the market appears destined to increase. For retailers seeking to compete with it—and by definition, that means pretty much every retailer in the world—paying attention to what Amazon is doing now represents a necessary task.

Discussion Question: 

What are some of the things that make Amazon so good?

Source: Dan Berthiaume, Chain Store Age, November 9, 2015