When launching or redesigning your online store it’s always a great idea to look at some of the market leaders for ideas and inspiration. Of course none are bigger than Amazon and whether you’re a multi-million pound business or working with a Shopify agency to build your first online store, there’s definitely lessons that can be learnt from their shopping experience.
Great Onsite Search
Something that Amazon really excels at is having an effective onsite search. The bigger a store’s product catalogue, the more important on-site search is. On Amazon it’s the primary method of navigating the site as their tabbed navigation is completely impractical for the number of products they have.
When it comes to your store, I’d recommend that any store with over 20 products has onsite search as a feature and any store with over 100 products should view onsite search as a really key feature of their store.
Customers who use onsite search generally find what they’re looking for a lot quicker and convert at a much higher rate than customers who do not search. Partly this is due to the mindset of customers who use search, they often come to the site looking for a specific product and are ready to purchase. Maybe they’ve purchased or viewed the product before, or maybe they saw your product featured in a magazine – either way let’s make this journey as easy as possible for them.
More advanced online stores will usually utilize search and merchandising software to power their onsite search allowing them to tailor the experience. But for smaller, simpler online stores there’s too quick and easy things you can learn from Amazon.
Firstly, make the search bar prominent and noticeable in your design. On Amazon the search bar dominates the header and it’s clear to the user that this is where their shopping journey should start.
Secondly, always have search terms at the front of your mind when it comes to setting up your products and product collections. Some quick research will tell you what fields are actually searched by your store’s search feature. Ensure when you’re creating your products that these fields contain terms that your customers will be searching for. For example, if you’re running a Shopify fashion store and your product is called “Burgundy Ball Gown”, then make sure the terms ‘red’ and ‘dress’ also feature in a searchable field.
Amazon offers a level of service that is impossible for smaller businesses to compete with. But again there’s still some lessons that we can learn from them and apply to every store.
When it comes to delivery prices, times and service, clarity is hugely important. Making these clear to the customer at every step of the journey will manage their expectations throughout, leading to less customer service queries and an increase in conversion rate.
If you do offer a next day delivery service then make it clear to customers what the cut off time for this is and which products are available on this service. We’ve also seen a lot of success in the past when we allow customers to filter products by ‘Available for Next Day Delivery’, if this is an essential requirement for that customer then let’s make it as easy for them as possible.
Customer reviews are a vital part of Amazon’s eCommerce strategy and help the customer’s shopping journey in a number of ways.
The main benefit of product reviews is that they help to instill confidence in both the online store and the product itself. They act as a form of social proof, showing the user that other people have purchased this product and positive reviews build the customer’s confidence further.
Another positive that product reviews provide is that they tell the customer more about the product they’re looking at. Customer’s reviews are often filled with snippets of information that aren’t included in the product description. Good examples of this would be how easy a product is to assemble from an online furniture store. Or whether a fashion product is sized slightly too big or small. These snippets of information can really help the customer make a more informed purchasing decision.
Including a product reviews feature on your online store is essential but it’s just as important to make sure you have steps in place to encourage customers to leave reviews. A product with zero reviews doesn’t look good to a customer.
The Amazon checkout process is probably the sleekest and easiest checkout process around, it’s even often possible to checkout in a single click. The main thing we can learn from this is to simply make the whole process as quick and pain free as possible. Although in most cases the changes that can be made to your checkout process will be limited as it’s likely you’re using Shopify or Magento as your platform.
Simple ways to do this include saving customers addresses and card details and auto-filling forms. If you can offer customers PayPal, Apple Pay and Google pay then do. Some providers may charge a higher percentage but usually that’s more than outweighed by the increase in conversion rate that comes from implementing these.
When undertaking major website work it’s always worth reviewing your competitors’ sites to see what they offer. But Amazon is now competition for all online stores, and just because they’re on a different scale to most eCommerce businesses it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be reviewing their site as well.