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Amazon’s Marketing Strategy

What Small Businesses and Entrepreneurs can Learn from Amazon’s Marketing Strategy?

It was in 1995 when we saw an unknown company disrupting the way we do shopping.

The company leveraged the power of the internet to make it very easy for us to purchase our favorite books.

That company I’m talking about is a homonym of the largest rainforest on the planet.

No one would’ve thought (including myself) that this one-man show would lay the foundation stone of a $25 trillion global ecommerce market.

It would not be an exaggeration to say that Amazon has now become a tech goliath. From ecommerce to the cloud, from media entertainment to smart speakers; Amazon has a come a long way and continues to burgeon as I write this piece.

They if you can’t create success by yourself then you should emulate those who have achieved it. Austin Kleon, in his ground-breaking book, suggests, “Good artists copy. Great artists steal.”

So if you want to become a wealthy man, there are countless ways to do so. Other than robbing from the Bank of Spain, it’s easy to learn from market leaders and apply those strategies in your small business.

Why it’s beneficial to Steal from Amazon?

The e-commerce herculean started from scratch and while pursuing the company’s grand vision satisfied 350M customers as of 2019 with a revenue of $232.89B which is 31% more than 2017.

Straight-away motivation for anyone who is passionate enough to succeed regardless of the sacrifices needed to get there.

So how did Jeff Bezos did it?

One aspect of Amazon’s huge success has to do it with the way it markets itself. What can you learn from Amazon’s marketing strategy and apply to your own business?

Let’s take a more in-depth look at the marketing strategies that have been working for Amazon for the past 20 years.

  • A Fine-Tuned Email Strategy

Since the beginning of time, Bezos forced, cursed, and in some cases humiliated employees who fail to make customers happy. From customer service to personalized emails – Amazon has done it all. Amazon was the first company to adopt personalized email tactic in their marketing.

Amazon sends nine types of email to every customer, depending on the phase the customer is in the buyer’s journey.

Why Amazon’s email marketing is the best? The answer is quite apparent: They track data and use it well.

Amazon collects data related to the customer. Data which includes:

  • Which products grab the attention of the customer?
  • Which products are ordered repeatedly by the same customer?
  • Which of the promotional emails does customer click the most?
  • Which of the products customers keep in their cart without buying?

In addition to all of that, Amazon has specific email templates which are sent automatically when a particular behavior is triggered. For instance, if a customer abandons the cart without completing the purchase, the system shoots an email to the customer to find out the reason and assist him in completing the purchase. Email templates include product recommendations, membership upgrades, and cart abandonment coupons.

Amazon is not afraid to send an umpteen amount of emails to its customers about the latest product offerings and discounts. Through these customized emails, Amazon resurrects dead customers and convinces them to complete their incomplete orders. Take a look at one of the emails by Amazon to delight a nearly lost customer: 

  • Amazon’s Impeccable Product Delivery

Amazon’s grand success revolves around three simple strategies:

  1. Customers come first.
  2. Always offer something new.
  3. Be patient at all times.

A survey done by Prophet Brand Relevant Index done in 2018 revealed that Amazon became the second-most-loved company next to Apple.

How did Amazon beat Google, Disney, or Uber? It’s because Amazon treats its customer as a crown prince. If you ever want to replace the product or return it, Amazon customer service will make you fall in love with their agents.

What makes customer service at Amazon, different?

Additionally, they keep updating their product delivery methods to align with how a customer feels? Yesterday’s science fiction of ordering a cooking oil using voice commands is now a reality. Thanks to Amazon’s Alexa!

With your voice, Alexa can deliver cooking oil even on a Sunday within an hour. Everything is possible due to Amazon’s customer-first and inventive approach.

This shows the importance of delighting the customers at any cost.  

  • Customers love to speak good about Amazon

The best form of marketing is word-of-mouth marketing. It’s better than running ads on social media, on tv or in print publications.

How does Amazon generate so much positive word-of-mouth?

This question was answered by Jeff Bezos himself 15 years ago.

“We don’t do any television advertising, and we take all of the money that we would put into television advertising, and instead put it into things like free SuperSaver shipping [free shipping on most orders over $25], lower product prices, category expansion, and the invention of new features. Absolutely. The thing that we did early on is that we made it very easy for people to find very obscure products. That was something people remarked on. If you’re not doing something that people will remark on, then it’s going to be hard to generate word of mouth. The only way to do this consistently over time is through invention.”

The statement remains valid till the date.

Hence, to generate more orders, it’s essential to get referrals from existing customers and invest heavily in creating a seamless, hassle-free experience for the customers.

There is no point in wasting tons of money on heavy advertising if the customers don’t stay for long. Instead, a better approach is to improve customer service, use innovative ways to delight customers. This will automatically increase customer retention and boost acquisition, as well.

  • Amazon’s Suicidal Review System

Can you even imagine an e-commerce store today without a review system in place?

The review system was made possible because Amazon has trained everyone to add a review of every product they purchase online. 

Do you want an award-worthy e-commerce website to sell your products?

When Amazon started its review system on the website in 1995, critics labeled it as a “retail suicide.” However, Jeff Bezos replied with a smile, “taking a different approach…we want to make every book available — the good, the bad and the ugly…to let truth loose.”

What exactly makes the Amazon review system different from others?

Let’s dig deep on what’s happening behind the veil:

  • With every purchased product, Amazon sends a review email. While most of the e-commerce websites send a single email, Amazon sends multiple emails.
  • There are a set of review guidelines that customer needs to follow before their review gets published online.
  • Reviews will automatically be sorted by “most helpful customer reviews“ which you can change as per your preference.
  • Just by asking, “Was this review helpful?” Amazon was able to increase its revenue by $2,700,000,000 every year. The question allows Amazon to keep quality products in stock and remove everything else.

According to Amazon’s about customer reviews page:

“We’ve worked over the years to make our millions of customer reviews as useful as possible – we’ve added features like Amazon Verified Purchase, helpful votes, and review comments in the pursuit of a system that’s open and flexible and yet structured and helpful for anyone who wants to learn more from other customers about anything we sell.”

  • For Amazon, it’s always long-term

When Amazon’s CEO Jeff Bezos issued a manifesto to its shareholders, he was not predicting the future; he was actually shaping it.

The same manifesto is sent every year for 20 years to all the shareholders in which Bezos explains the true definition of long-term success:

Bezos explains the true definition of long-term success

As a startup, a small business owner or an entrepreneur, it’s vital to see the bigger picture. Don’t just see the picture, feel it, sleep with it and work for it every single day. As per James Clear in his iconic book, Atomic Habits, “those tiny habits and practices make all the difference in the long-run.” To play a long game you must follow the grand vision and start being profitable just like Amazon.

  1. Be Active and Help Customers on Social Media

With around 29M Facebook page following and 3.1M Twitter followers, Amazon has reached its pinnacle in helping customers. Amazon employees respond promptly to the customers.

Take a look at how Amazon employees respond to customer by name and add a human touch with every comment:

how Amazon employees respond to customer by name

Amazon uses Facebook to introduce and educate customers regarding their latest product offerings and responds to negative comments quickly.

Upon asking the question, Amazon representatives judge the mood of the customer and understand their problem before they offer any solution.

On Twitter, Amazon promotes their blogs and engage with customers to make their experience as easy as possible.  

The Pinterest page of Amazon is nothing more than an extension of the website. Amazon is careful which images to promote on Pinterest. Unique, image-friendly, products get selected and promoted on Pinterest.

Check the Handmade category on Pinterest.

Handmade category on Pinterest

Amazon’s marketing strategy for Snapchat is quite impressive. Since the messages disappear fast, Amazon shares time-based offers to keep customers coming back for more.

Amazon has partnered with Snapchat to create a visual tool that will capture the product in Snapchat and display name, price, and reviews regarding that product. Amazing, right?

An ever-evolving social media strategy by Amazon helps to gain more followers than its competitors. Engagement is enhanced and sales now directly come from social media.

Final Thoughts

That’s it, folks! Amazon marketing strategy is crystal clear to you. Feel free to replicate it and get more customers for your business. Just as Amazon used Prime to expand its customer database you need to think of something similar. Whatever you do, don’t forget to keep the customer happy at all times. Make the best use of technology and always stay patient. Happy marketing!

Yousuf Rafi

A Caffeine dependent non-mainstream person trying to elevate small talk to medium talk. I know I will win, not immediately but definitely. I do most of the talking in my head. However, for other things, I prefer writing blogs.