It’s not easy to make online customers surprised or excited anymore. The world of technology has brought immense e-commerce competition—including the Amazon giant. Competition to be the best online retailer has led to faster shipping, lower costs, and increased e-commerce value. The customer’s expectations have risen drastically in recent years.
Increased consumer demands call for high-quality customer service and delivery. Amazon is the leader in this field, setting the standard for customer expectations online.
If you sell on Amazon, you need to not just match the Amazon expectation but exceed it. If you want to compete on the Amazon platform, your brand needs to surpass customer service expectations to set you apart from the crowd.
What do you need to do in order to deliver high-quality service to your Amazon customers?
How is Amazon a customer service leader?
“We’re not competitor obsessed, we’re customer obsessed. We start with the customer and work backwards… We’ve had three big ideas at Amazon that we’ve stuck with for 18 years, and they’re the reason we’re successful: Put the customer first. Invent. And be patient.”
In 2017, Amazon accounted for nearly 44% of all U.S. e-commerce sales and 4% of total U.S. retail sales.
Amazon has been able to capture such a significant market share because of their industry-leading customer service. They offer the widest variety of products, all in one place, at the lowest possible prices. They also offer Prime perks, multiple shipping options, detailed product information, user reviews, top deals, one-click checkout, and fast service replies. They even personalize the shopping experience with “Today’s Recommendations” and customized recommendations.
Amazon puts the customer first, and the customer feels it.
One study looked at the major reasons customer prefer shopping with Amazon:
- 79% like the variety of products
- 64% - free shipping
- 60% - better deals
- 55% - customer reviews
- 54% - search capabilities
- 29% - mobile experience
In fact, Amazon’s customer service is so strong that experts have dubbed it “the Amazon effect.” They have set a standard of service so high that consumers are beginning to expect this kind of customer service from all of their online platforms.
As an Amazon seller, you need to ride the wave of the Amazon effect. You can utilize this Amazon loyalty to boost your business if you too can exceed expectations.
So how can your brand provide top-notch customer service to your consumers?
1. Offer shipping options.
One of Amazon’s top features is fast, easy shipment. Customers expect that their goods will get to them within days—if not hours. Along with speed, consumers expect shipping to be cheap—if not free.
But with a truck shortage, speed and low price are hard to come by. You need to have fast fulfillment and even faster delivery.
The best way to handle shipping is through FBA. If you outsource to Fulfillment By Amazon, your products are automatically Prime eligible. This means Amazon offers two-day, one-day, or same-day shipping on any of your FBA products. It also allows for free shipping for Prime customers.
This allows you to offer the best shipping options to the most loyal customers. It also provides free and easy return shipping.
2. Price competitively.
Price is at the foundation of customer service. You want to offer the greatest value to your customers at all times.
Your prices need to be as low as possible in order to compete. In order to win Amazon’s Buy Box, you need to offer some of the lowest prices on the market. It used to be that the lowest price always won the Buy Box, but that’s no longer the only determining factor for Amazon’s algorithm.
However, you’re not only competing with other Amazon sellers. You also have to compete with other major retailers like Target and Walmart. Big box stores automatically assign value to low prices, making these larger retailers nearly impossible to compete with. Customers can easily open up a new search tab to compare prices of similar products at big box stores.
To compete against major retailers, offering the lowest price can often be in your favor. But not always.
Providing “value” doesn’t necessarily mean you offer the lowest price. You can have a slightly higher price if you add convenience or experience. For example, you could offer free shipping and simplify the checkout process. You could also create an unboxing experience that excites and delights the customer (and that they can post on their social media for social marketing).
You want to offer low prices to your customer, but focus on adding value first and foremost.
3. Provide detailed product information.
Customers love that it’s easy to conduct product research on the Amazon platform. Amazon makes it easy to research products right on their site. This helps avoid losing customers to other online retailers if the customer had to go to search engines for product information.
You want to retain your customers by providing complete and optimized product listings. This includes a thorough headline, bullet points, and descriptions. Learn how to optimize your product listings here.
You should also consider enhanced brand content if you are a Brand Register owner.
The key to optimized product information is to be honest. If you lie or exaggerate to make a sale, you’ll lose your credibility, get bad reviews, and have a high number of returns. It’s better to offer comprehensive, honest detail on your listings to ensure customers know exactly what to expect when they order your product online.
You want to make your online storefront offer the same all-inclusive shopping experience as if the customer were shopping in the store. This especially includes visual content. 7 out of 8 online customers look for visual content, including pictures submitted by other customers in product reviews.
The more experiential information you provide, the greater your customer satisfaction and conversion.
4. Focus on reviews.
Reviews and ratings aren’t just useful for optimizing search, winning the Buy Box, and converting customers. They’re also an important customer service feature. 49% of Amazon shoppers say product reviews are the most influential factor in their purchasing decision.
Customers want to see what other people are saying about your product. This helps them better understand the honest specifics so they can ensure they are ordering the right product for them.
Another aspect of customer service is answering negative reviews. This shows you care about customer satisfaction and that you’re willing to go the extra mile to solve a problem. Responsiveness encourages customer loyalty and shows prospects that you stand behind your product.
Learn how to respond to negative product specs here.
5. Answer questions.
In a similar way, you want to be responsive to customer inquiries. On Amazon, customers can ask questions directly on your product listing to find out more in-depth information.
An IBM report found that 81% of consumers demand a strong response time after an inquiry. Responding quickly and thoroughly is a great way to show your customers that you care about their needs and concerns. It also helps answer questions that other prospective customers might be wondering.
Note: If there’s a question that customers are frequently asking, you may want to update your product listing to include that information. This will improve your listing while minimizing time spent answering questions.
6. Have your own website.
Even if you are an Amazon seller exclusively, you want to create a separate website for your brand. Customers want to be able to look up your website and social media to see if you are a legitimate company. This falls into the “product research” category of customer service.
This is especially important if you sell private label. A separate website can teach your customer the unique story behind your brand, mission, and business.
This helps your customer better relate to the products they purchase. You should also include a “contact us” section so the customer feels they have greater access to you if they have questions, comments, or concerns.
7. Be mobile accessible.
Today’s online customer is mobile. If you want to reach the e-commerce customer, you need to promote a strong mobile design and experience.
If you’re an Amazon seller, you automatically have access to one of the best mobile platforms on the market. Amazon is constantly updating their mobile technology to meet the needs of consumers. Selling on Amazon can help open up your target market with ease.
Make sure you optimize keywords for mobile search as well. Keep in mind that Alexa—voice artificial intelligence— automatically purchases from the Buy Box winner. If customers ask Alexa about products, she’ll only talk about the first product listed. Thus, if you want to win voice and mobile sales, you need to be the number one in the Buy Box.
Your own website should also offer a unique mobile platform. Optimize your mobile design for easy access, fast loading times, and branded experience.
Customers trust Amazon’s service. They know that Amazon will consistently give them a positive shopping experience with the greatest value for their products.
As an Amazon seller, you can use this trust and credibility to your advantage. By offering easy, convenient, valuable service, you can convert and engage a loyal set of customers.
Meeting expectations is no longer enough.
You need to exceed expectations at every step on the selling journey.
How do you exceed expectations?