Amazon has been disrupting the retail market since it came on the seen and completed changed the way books are sold.  Each step along its history Amazon has delivered capabilities and services that are focused on the customer rather than the sale.  The underlying principle being if it is right for the customer the sales and profits will come.  Starting with the low prices Amazon could deliver to the big data analysis used to recommend purchases, to the Prime service for shipping and the latest Amazon Unlimited to allow consumers unlimited access to books and music for a monthly subscription fee Amazon has been pushing the boundaries of the retail market. 

The key to their success is the focus on customer service that makes purchasing easier.  This is the focus that I have been encouraging for quite some time with every Christmas season.  It gets a little frustrating to see the lack of commitment from omni channel retailers to focus on the consumer desires for shopping improvements rather than a new purchase outlet.  From the retail market perspective, most retailers just miss the point.  Even now the huge announcement from Target simply focuses on cost and the purchase process.  I think that consumers have proven over and over that service is a critical ingredient to successful sales.  The entry and foundation is supporting the purchase and its how you support the shopping that makes the difference.

In every aspect of the site Amazon supports the consumer shopping and has built this capability on top of a solid foundation that supports the purchase.  Amazon is able to do this because they recognized very early in their life cycle the importance of data and analysis.  You can tell from the delivery and the almost immediate acceptance by consumers that each of the new programs coming from Amazon are based on a great deal of data analysis.  Another aspect of the programs is that many collect a great deal of information and then then this information is used in turn to improve service and develop new programs.  The consumer reviews is a good example of this type of program.  It seems very simple at first glance, then the additional capabilities that are derived from this are quite amazing and the both utilize a great deal of data that was originally collected from the customer reviews along with collect a great deal of information to improve programs and services. 

These methods and practices from Amazon should be used by other retailers as a how to guide for developing programs that both excite and retain customers.  Instead what you see from the majority of retailers is a follow the leader process.  To bring Target back to the discussion, how can a retailer lead the marketplace when they are focused on the order value at which to offer free delivery?  The leader in the market offers a delivery program that provides value to the customers and strong shopping retention to the retailer. 


And now for the audience participation portion of the show…

ECommerce will have wide ranging impacts on both the retail and manufacturing sectors.  How can you focus these abilities to improve the consumers’ experience?  Improving the consumers experience will require a re-evaluation of the sales channels, the manufacturing channels and practices and the supply chain channels and practices from the raw materials to the consumers’ homes.  In order to ensure and maintain success in this new reality you must harness the tools and capabilities in many new areas.  How can you support these continuously changing requirements?