This Wednesday The Atlantic commented on an interesting report regarding Amazon’s market share in e-commerce. According to research compiled from SEC documents, Amazon sells more than the next 12 leading online retailers combined.
Target’s online sales comprise of only 2% of their business. At places like Wal-Mart and PetsMart, the statistics are similar. What is Amazon doing that these other giant retailers aren’t? A company like Target certainly has the resources available to devote attention to their website.
The key issue in online shopping is that people want to interact. This interaction need not be in-person; Amazon is proving that people don’t necessarily need to feel tangible items, but are providing visual information that other online retailers are missing out on. Amazon’s wide breadth of available information answers online shoppers questions and allows them to close the sale. Note that this visual information isn’t flashy, or reliant on design; in fact, Amazon’s overall aesthetic is rather plain and focused on functionality.
As The Atlantic points out, contrary to popular belief, Amazon’s advantage is not just price. Amazon’s got three big advantages over other online retailers:
Not sure about which brand you want to purchase jeans from? Type “jeans” in the search bar and you get fifty different options. It’s easy to sort through and find the top rated and best sellers.
Leading off of the first point, Amazon’s massive inventory size allows it to cut prices to levels other stores can’t compete with.
Last, and most importantly…
Product Reviews -
Amazon offers a level of product information and resources you won’t find anywhere else. The vast amount of customer reviews, video product reviews and in-depth product information is the key feature that raises it above other online retailers. In tandem with the wide selection of inventory, product reviews and ratings push top sellers to the top and allow other online shoppers to find products that are popular.
What does this mean?
E-commerce is really social commerce. Product reviews and dependable information are the essential component to success - it is what people look for when they are deciding which product to purchase. Candid, real responses from other shoppers and product experts ensure that the consumer can find what’s best for them easily. It is information that closes the sale.