Founded in 1994 by Jeff Bezos, Amazon was initially an online marketplace for books when Jeff Bezos came up with the idea of the ‘everything store’, having been overwhelmed by the  Internet’s 2300 percent annual growth rate and the $10 billion book industry. Today, Amazon is one of the world’s most valuable brands in the world owing to its highly successful business model.

The question is–How did Amazon build to conquer the e-commerce market? What’s the ‘Amazon way’ of building and marketing products?

Let’s analyze and look at the outstanding factors below-

Constant Innovation

Amazon has launched a vast plethora of path-breaking products like the Echo which is Amazon’s amazing voice command device. It can be used to play songs, research your favorite soccer team, and even check the weather with your voice. This innovative technology was a huge investment for the e-commerce giant however it was one that fostered exceptional results. In fact, over 22 million Echo units were sold in 2017 alone vindicating Amazon’s decision to launch and market the Echo.

While Amazon’s forward-thinking perspective doesn’t always lead to fruition, accomplishments like the Echo prove that innovation can lead to promising results for e-commerce companies.

 World-class Customer Service

Amazon’s Customer Service team has won several accolades for its immense dedication to mitigating and quickly addressing problems for customers. One of Amazon’s most important missions is to become the world’s most customer-centric company—and their perseverance to stick to this goal has paid dividends and resulted in a massive customer base unmatched by none other.

Social media is another medium that Amazon utilizes to engage with customers and improve the quality of its customer service. When done right, social media platforms can help your burgeoning e-commerce business address customer concerns and build a solid foundation of loyal and passionate customers who advocate your brand and help to increase its visibility in the market.

Working Backwards

Amazon utilizes an approach called “working backwards” in which they try to work backwards from the customer, rather than starting with an idea for a product and trying to bolt customers onto it. While working backwards is a process that can be applied to any specific product decision, results have shown that it is especially pivotal when developing new products or features.

For prospective new products, Product managers at Amazon usually have to begin by writing an internal press release announcing the finished product. The target audience for the press release is the new or the updated product’s customers, which can be retail customers or internal users of a tool or technology. These uniqueness of the internal press releases lies in the fact that they are centered around the customer problem, regarding how the current solutions that are already available are not up to the mark, and how the new product will blow away all the existing solutions and create a niche for itself in the market.

Conclusively, If the benefits mentioned don’t catch the customer’s eye or aren’t exciting to customers, then perhaps they shouldn’t be built thus giving Amazon’s product managers a clearer perspective . Instead, the product manager should keep tinkering with the press release to come up with benefits that actually sound like useful to the customer. Modifying a press release is a lot cheaper than iterating on the product itself and thus, Amazon uses this effective approach to build the right products.

 Brand Differentiation

What sets Amazon apart from other online retailers are three main components embedded in their brand approach that are:

  1. The product selection
  2. The customer-centric approach 
  3. The prices

Regarding the selection, the original tagline for the company was “Earth’s biggest bookstore” in 1994 emphasizing the fact of how Amazon tries to be the best among its competitors.

The second approach, regarding the lowest prices, has been part of Amazon’s branding strategy from the beginning. In fact, the company is so focused on under-pricing its competitors that Amazon did not deliberately make any profits for the first four to five years of operation, in order to keep prices low for customers. Recently, other money-saving features have been added to the retail site in addition to low pricing—the most notable being the Amazon Prime program, which offers customers free two-day shipping, unlimited movie streaming, and now unlimited music streaming called ‘Amazon music’ for a yearly subscription fee of under Rs.1000—amounting to around Rs.129 per month.

Jeff Bezos once said,

“I didn’t want to repeat the mistake of Steve Jobs — pricing the iPhone in a way that was so fantastically profitable that the smartphone market became a magnet for competition”.

He is of the opinion that high-profit margins justify rivals’ investments in research and development, thereby attracting more competition, while low margins attract more customers and are much easier to compete within the market.

Marketing through Customer tracking

The level of customer tracking at Amazon.com is at a whole different level. Using the data it collects on every registered user during each and every visit to their website, Amazon directs users to products they might actually be glad to discover — and buy. Amazon recommends products that are:

  • identical to what you are currently searching for
  • related to what you have searched for or clicked on at any time in the past
  • purchased by other people who’ve searched for what you searching for or have bought what you’ve bought

This approach really sets the tone for customers logging on their website to show more and to show more frequently over a period of time increasing sales while increasing the customer base.

 Diversification

Starting off as an online bookstore, Amazon now offers everything from frequently used to limited-edition products. Such is their extensive list of options that even a search of the term “nuts” shows over 37,000 results. Currently, Amazon has a multitude of products in the music, health, books, electronics, and beauty industry. Moreover, business owners and entrepreneurs can sign a contract with Amazon’s network of professionals to get the required IT support, furniture assembly, and even A/V services. By diversifying its offerings, Amazon is continuously driving and leading customer reach and relevance.

Regardless of your industry, you should be fearless in the pursuit of diversification. Expanding into new markets and product categories will help you attract new business opportunities to grow your organization incessantly. Amazon provides great inspiration for other e-commerce companies to follow its lead in diversifying its digital growth initiatives whenever possible as it currently boasts a staggering 3.6 billion backlinks as well as 3.8 million referring domains. A highly diversified link portfolio plays a pivotal role in any successful SEO campaign and has been a pillar behind Amazon’s success. 

Hence, an inculcation of Amazon’s strategies for building and marketing your brand can help you to create your dream company and successfully create a niche for yourself in the market. Product Managers can learn from Amazon’s perseverance to outlast its competition and to dedicate itself to the needs of its customers to conquer the crowded e-commerce market.

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