No one can deny Amazon’s meteoric rise. The company has reported $52.9 billion in revenue in the second quarter of the year and posted its largest profit in history ($2.5 billion in Q2). However, that doesn’t mean other retailers can’t compete. Here are five marketing tactics both physical and online retailers should consider implementing to catch up with the tech giant.
1- Build and Nurture a Fanatical Fan Base
Renown marketing and e-commerce influencer Neil Patel notes that “building a jumping, screaming, raving, fanatical fan base is not easy, but it is possible”. The key is to stay “small”, especially when it comes to customer interaction. As a brand, your social media and content marketing efforts must have a personal and tight-knit community feel to it. It’s all about unity, connecting with your audience, and “going the extra mile” service.
Neil mentions GoPro as a company that employs that approach very well. Over the years, the camera company has built a significant e-commerce presence with millions of dedicated fans: “ … can you connect with GoPro as a brand (on Amazon)? Do you have the same sense, feel, connectedness and emotion? Absolutely not. That’s why true GoPro fans are going to stick to the GoPro site to buy their GoPro swag. They love this brand. GoPro has defined their niche (that’s step one), and refined their customer service. Now, they have a peerless fan base.” At the time of writing GoPro had 14 million followers on Instagram versus 1.4 million for Amazon.
2- Be Flexible With Payments
Retail stores that offer flexible payment options can have a competitive advantage. AJ Saleem, Academic Director at Suprex Private Tutoring, says that Best Buy’s credit card, which lets him pay off his balance over 18 months interest-free, is one of main reasons he chooses Best Buy over Amazon. He added: “As a startup owner, this is extremely beneficial because cash flow is limited for a startup company”.
If it makes sense for a specific business, one can look into implementing partial payments, split payments, and layaways.
3- Invest in employees
A 2017 report by customer experience management company InMoment finds that resourceful retail staff members can be a crucial element of shopping experiences: “A positive experience with staff on average increases a customer’s satisfaction across industries by 33 percent. In the fashion industry, a positive experience with staff can be even more consequential, increasing a customer’s satisfaction by 73 percent”.
The report suggests staff should develop the following attributes:
- Knowledgeable: 54 percent of shoppers value in-store staff who are knowledgeable about products and services (65 percent for millennials). Shoppers also appreciate when employees remember past purchasing patterns as needs as well as loyalty membership status.
- Helpful: one third of consumers see value in staff members who understand their needs. The same number reward staff members who make helpful recommendations on new items.
- Authentic: consumers appreciate authentic, tailored interactions while shopping in-store, where associates take time to understand what shoppers really need, and then shapes the experience to those needs.
4- Get better search results in exchange for a cut of purchase price
Back in March, Google has started a partner program for retailers. In return for a cut of the purchase price, Google allows retailers to list their products in search results, the Google Express shopping service, and on Google Assistant.
Furthermore, shoppers can add a product to their Google Express cart and then come back and add other products from different searches and retailers. Such results in a convenient “single cart purchase containing everything they want”.
5- Integrate Product With Service
Retailers can make physical stores more appealing to shoppers by offering in-store services. For example, grocery stores can offer free coffee in-store for loyalty-card holders whereas fashion retailers can provide personal styling.
Amazon may have a dominant position in many retail market segments however other retailers can remain competitive through clever customer experience, human resource and pricing tactics.
By Phil Siarri