So you want to start your own online store, huh? You’ve got the entrepreneurial itch and you’re ready to scratch it. Before you dive in headfirst, take a page from the playbook of the biggest ecommerce giant out there—Amazon. Jeff Bezos built Amazon from the ground up using some key strategies that you can steal and apply to your own business. If you want to set yourself up for success from day one, follow these winning strategies that Amazon used to dominate online retail. By focusing on customer experience, building a loyal community, and using data to drive decisions, you’ll be well on your way to creating an online store that thrives. Ready to get started? Let’s go over exactly how Amazon built their empire so you can do the same.
Focus on the Customer Experience
If you want to build a successful online store, focus on the customer experience like Amazon does.
Amazon is obsessed with customers. They make it easy to find what you want, with recommendations based on your interests and buying habits. As an owner, put yourself in your customers’ shoes. Think about what would make their shopping experience simple and enjoyable.
Offer a wide selection. Give customers lots of great products to choose from, especially in popular categories. Make it a one-stop shop. The more they can find, the more likely they’ll come back.
Streamline the buying process. Have an easy to navigate website, clear product photos, detailed descriptions, and reviews from real customers. Offer quick and affordable shipping with tracking. And make returns hassle-free.
Provide great customer service. Respond to questions and concerns promptly and helpfully. Loyal, happy customers will spread the word about their positive experience.
Keep improving. Continuously make changes to enhance the customer experience. Pay attention to feedback and reviews. Update your product line, website features, shipping options, and more based on what your customers want and need.
If you put customers first like the everything store does, you’ll build a thriving business with repeat shoppers and word-of-mouth promotion. Focus on selection, convenience, service, and constant improvement. Your customers will love you for it, and your success will follow!
Build a User-Friendly Website
To launch a successful online store, you need a user-friendly website. Follow these tips from Amazon:
Build a clean, simple design. Keep your site easy to navigate with minimal clutter. Use lots of white space and make buttons and links obvious. Shoppers want to find what they need quickly.
Optimize for mobile. Over half of shopping now happens on phones and tablets, so your site needs to look great on all devices. Focus on a responsive design that automatically adjusts to different screen sizes.
Include high-quality images. Help customers visualize your products by including multiple large photos from different angles for each item. This gives shoppers a better sense of what they’re buying.
Write compelling product descriptions. Describe items in an enthusiastic and conversational tone to help people connect with your products. Mention key features and benefits to inform customers about what they’re viewing.
Offer free shipping and returns. Take a page from Amazon’s playbook and provide free shipping on all orders over a certain dollar amount. Also allow for easy returns to give shoppers confidence in their purchases.
Personalize the experience. Use data about your customers and their browsing/buying habits to provide personalized recommendations and tailor the shopping experience for each visitor. People appreciate a customized experience.
Make search and filters robust. Give customers multiple ways to find what they want, whether browsing by category, searching for a specific product, filtering by price, brand, color, etc. The easier you make it to shop, the more people will buy.
Follow these proven principles and you’ll be well on your way to building an online store as user-friendly and successful as Amazon’s. Your customers will love the experience and keep coming back for more.
Offer a Wide Selection With Low Prices
To successfully compete with major players like Amazon, you need to offer customers a huge selection of products at the lowest possible prices. This is one of the core principles that has allowed Amazon to dominate the ecommerce space.
Carry a large variety of products in your niche. Don’t just stock the bare essentials – aim to be a one-stop shop for customers. The more products you have, the more reasons shoppers have to visit your site. Stay on top of trends and frequently add new items to give customers a reason to come back.
Price your products competitively to match or beat the big guys like Amazon. Run regular sales and promotions to give customers the perception they’re getting a good deal. You may have to sacrifice some profit margin in exchange for building a loyal customer base. Once customers start associating your store with great prices, they’ll keep coming back.
Offer free shipping on most or all of your products. Customers have come to expect free shipping thanks to Amazon Prime, so you need to provide the same to compete. Build the cost of shipping into your product prices so you can still make a profit. Free shipping is a major incentive for customers and will drive more sales.
Run lots of sales, coupons, and promotions to give customers a sense of getting a bargain. Send email newsletters with discount codes and coupons. Run sitewide sales for holidays and events. The more you train customers to expect discounts from your store, the more loyal they’ll become.
Following Amazon’s lead and providing a huge selection, low prices, free shipping, and frequent discounts is key to starting a successful online store. While it may require tight profit margins at first, the long term rewards of building a dedicated customer base will pay off. Keep optimizing and improving to create the best possible experience for your shoppers.
Provide Fast, Reliable Shipping
To build a successful online store, you need to provide fast, reliable shipping. Customers today expect near instant gratification, so make shipping a priority.
Offer free shipping
- Offer free standard shipping on all orders. This is table stakes these days and customers expect it. You can build the shipping costs into your product prices.
- Also provide expedited shipping options for an upcharge. Some customers will pay more for faster delivery.
Ship within 1-2 business days
- Aim to ship all orders within 1-2 business days of the order being placed. Any longer and customers may start to get impatient.
- Make sure you have enough inventory on hand to meet demand and ship on time. Stay on top of your supply chain and re-order more stock before you run out.
Use a reliable carrier
- Partner with major carriers like UPS, FedEx or USPS to handle your shipping. These companies are trusted, provide tracking and insurance, and have lots of experience shipping products.
- Negotiate the best rates you can. The more volume you ship, the better deal you can get. Pass on any savings to your customers in the form of lower prices.
Offer free returns
- Providing a hassle-free returns policy, like free returns within 30 days of delivery, gives customers confidence in buying from you.
- Make the return process as easy as possible by including a pre-paid return label in all shipments. The easier you make returns, the more customers will buy.
Following these proven strategies used by Amazon and other major retailers will ensure your customers receive a great post-purchase experience. Fast, free shipping and easy returns will keep them coming back to buy from you again and again. Focus on nailing the logistics and the rest will follow!
Continue Improving and Innovating
To build a successful online store, you need to constantly improve and innovate. Amazon is the master of this, and you should follow their lead.
Expand Your Product Selection
- Start with a focused product line, but steadily add related products over time. Amazon began selling only books, but now sells just about everything.
- Pay attention to trends and add popular, in-demand products. Stay on the cutting edge.
- Source from a variety of suppliers to get the best deals and widest selection.
Optimize the Customer Experience
- Make your site easy to navigate with clear categories, search features, and product recommendations.
- Offer fast, affordable shipping and hassle-free returns.
- Provide great customer service to quickly resolve any issues. Build loyalty through a positive experience.
- Use data and analytics to gain insights into your customers and make improvements. See what’s selling and what’s not.
- Implement personalization to provide tailored recommendations and deals for each customer.
- Stay on the forefront of ecommerce technology like voice shopping, augmented reality, and more. Continually revamp your mobile app and website.
Expand to New Markets
- Once you’ve built up your customer base, consider expanding into new product areas or geographical markets. But do so cautiously.
- Start with small tests to determine demand before fully launching a new market. Make changes based on feedback.
Continuous improvement and innovation are what keep major companies like Amazon on top. By making ongoing enhancements to your product, customer experience, technology, and markets, you’ll build a successful and sustainable online store. Keep tweaking and optimizing, and your business will thrive.