How to Compete with and on Amazon

eCommerce sales boomed in 2020, and Amazon dominates eCommerce business. In order to compete online, businesses need to exploit Amazon’s weaknesses and learn from Amazon’s strengths.

Almost 70 percent of product searches now start on Amazon, according to a recent webinar on overcoming site search challenges in B2B ecommerce. Half of business buyers make at least 10 percent of their purchases on Amazon business, and since younger buyers are even more comfortable looking for products on Amazon, that’s a trend likely to grow.

Roland Gossage, CEO of GroupBy Inc., said businesses can excel in that environment, whether they’re selling on Amazon or on their own separate site.

“Companies offering a great user experience online can differentiate themselves from Amazon,” Gossage said. “Buyers will be loyal to a company that offers a consistently outstanding user experience and superior value, regardless of the channel they’re buying through.”

How to Make Products Stand Out:

A business that’s selling on Amazon can differentiate its products by using high quality content, optimizing for searches and learning from what Amazon prioritizes as they search related terms. The business could also stand out by offering better prices, not only on Amazon but across all its channels, as buyers can easily sort products by price on multiple websites.

A company that’s selling from its own site might be able to neutralize some of Amazon’s specific strengths while capitalizing on its own unique value. One of Amazon’s strengths, for example, is fast and free delivery. Bed Bath & Beyond is one retailer that was able to compete with Amazon by offering free, same-day delivery. Another strength a company might be able to neutralize is offering a wide variety of products in a specific niche.

Identifying and Exploiting Amazon’s Weaknesses:

Amazon has 2,500 developers who work on search motion, so another company is unlikely to be able to compete with that. But a smaller company could exploit another Amazon weakness – offering so many products that it can be overwhelming for buyers – by tailoring the search experience to the user. If a company can make it easy for a buyer to find exactly the product they are looking for, as well as complementary products they might not have known they would need, they can get the sale. That is the kind of thing a company like GroupBy, with its industry-leading features for data enrichment, search, navigation, personalization, merchandising, SEO and search autocomplete, can help with.

GroupBy’s Gossage said that leaders who are evaluating the effectiveness of their search often look at conversion, but that’s not the only metric. Another metric he recommends is the amount of traffic being driven to your company’s site. As more people look at the site and the products being offered, the company will ultimately make more sales.

“Often we’ve had clients start with a $30 average order value and end up getting hundreds of dollars average order value just by increasing the amount of traffic coming to their site,” he explained.

Soliciting Customer Feedback:

Regardless of how a company is selling its product online, it’s important to solicit customer feedback regularly to understand what they need in products and in the user experience they get on the website. Updating the website or Amazon content regularly to reflect that feedback cultivates a positive relationship with buyers and can encourage them to explore additional products instead of just reordering the same products again.