Winning Back July: How Retailers Can Compete for Sales on Amazon Prime Day
By Meyar Sheik
Ahead of Amazon Prime Day, Amazon announced its latest innovations including 3D views of shoes, shoppable style feeds curated by influencers, and new Alexa voice-controlled capabilities. For retailers who are still struggling with supply chain disruptions and the transition to an advanced omnichannel customer experience, Amazon Prime Day threatens to be another major hit to their revenue.
Despite the buzz around one of the biggest shopping days of the year, other retailers can still make a big splash and earn their share of profits in July. While Amazon’s new innovations are great, oftentimes customer loyalty comes down to something less buzzworthy yet immensely critical: convenience. Both online and during the fulfillment process, shoppers appreciate Amazon’s efficiency, but other retailers can offer these benefits, too.
Retailers have many strong tools in their arsenal that can be used to combat the retail giant in the days surrounding Prime Day and throughout the year. Two of the best tools for this mission, in my opinion, are personalization and order management.
Personalizing the Online Store for Each Customer
There’s no way around it: Amazon does personalization well. From product recommendations to subscription program opportunities, Amazon offers a simplified customer experience driven by customer data. But retailers of all sizes can create a shopper journey that rivals Amazon by delighting customers with impactful, individualized experiences.
The first step is to utilize sophisticated A/B testing to eliminate guesswork and learn more about customers. This research and experimentation should be ongoing, as customer behavior changes rapidly. For example, sentiment around discretionary spending has fluctuated tremendously since the pandemic began. Shoppers who had begun spending at pre-pandemic levels at the start of this year are now once again tightening their purse strings due to inflation.
Through testing, the retailer can then choose to personalize on a one-to-one basis or to build valuable audience segments based on variables like behavior, context, first- and third-party data, and more. When paired with AI, customer data pertaining to these segments or individuals can power expansive personalization opportunities that rival Amazon’s.
Retailers have many choices for how and where to use personalization on the e-commerce site. Options include optimized content, messaging and website layouts, relevant product recommendations, personalized search and more. The results of these efforts will include increased engagement, conversions and customer loyalty.
However, implementing personalization once won’t help retailers stand up to Amazon this July. Personalization requires constant review of detailed analytics and continued experimentation. While Amazon is focusing on implementing 3D models of shoes, competing retailers should dedicate their time to truly understanding their customers and creating the best shopping experience for every individual.
Outsmarting the Supply Chain With Order Management
Amazon Prime promotes convenience with one- or two-day shipping options for many popular products. While this can be a difficult perk for other retailers to compete with as they are relying on an already strained supply chain, there are other opportunities to offer a convenient experience with an order management platform.
With a distributed order management solution, products can be rerouted from one distribution center to another, or from a warehouse to a customer’s doorstep in the most efficient and cost-effective way. As a result, shoppers feel as little pain as possible from supply chain bottlenecks. This also ensures that inventory is optimized, regardless of where it is stored.
While the strategies made possible with a strong order management platform may not guarantee that shoppers will always get the product faster than they could with Amazon Prime, it does guarantee a positive experience. With order management, retailers can provide more fulfillment options to every shopper, enhancing the customer experience and improving profits. And, throughout the delivery process, retailers can offer shoppers real-time updates thanks to the enhanced vendor collaboration made possible through an order management system.
Improving Sales Despite Growing Industry Competition
Amazon Prime Day highlights the impact Amazon has on the retail industry, but retailers shouldn’t back down during the event. If retailers utilize strong personalization and order management strategies this July and throughout the year, their competitive edge will grow compared to both Amazon and other retailers, increasing their share of sales. But at the end of the day, it all comes down to knowing the shopper and creating the experience that fits their needs. The retailers that do so will continue to shine through Amazon Prime Day and beyond.
— Meyar Sheik, President and Chief Commerce Officer, Kibo
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