Did you know that people spend more time on Amazon than they do on any other e-commerce site?
Earlier this year, a comScore study revealed that in the U.S. alone, customers spent 22.6 billion minutes on Amazon, and that was just in December 2017. This total is 6 billion more than the other nine e-commerce sites in the top ten list combined, and 16.4 billion more than the closest competitor, eBay.
The level of customer engagement on the Seattle-based tech giant’s platform is incomparable. But the question is why?
The hard thing about customer engagement
In his best-selling book, The Hard Thing About Hard Things, entrepreneur and venture capitalist Ben Horowitz talks about the role of product strategy in relation to customers.
“Figuring out the right product (or service) is the innovator’s job, not the customer’s. The customer only knows what she thinks she wants based on her experience with the current product. The innovator can take into account everything that’s possible, but must often go against what she knows to be true.”
This advice is truly insightful considering the fact that Horowitz was describing a time before the advent of big data and before we had easy access to customer insights and analytics tools like Google Analytics and Mixpanel.
While “the customer only knows what she thinks she wants based on her experience,” the innovator (or business owner) can pinpoint precisely what the customer needs using insights that reveal past behavior and predict future ones.
Now more than ever, regardless of industry, companies are waking up to the importance and effectiveness of analytics in understanding their customers and improving engagement. The use of data is making businesses more competitive.
A report by MIT Sloan reveals that “more than half (59%) of managers say their company is using analytics to gain a competitive advantage . . . a higher percentage of respondents than in the previous two years.”
Back to Amazon
This brings us back to Amazon. The company is able to engage customers and get them to purchase more because it has mastered the art of data and predictive analytics.
Amazon studies what customers want by looking at the categories they visit often and how much time they spend in those categories. Combined with search history, price filtering, and other aggregated customer insights, the platform is able to make tailored recommendations that then influence the user to come back again, and the process repeats itself.
Most companies do not have Amazon’s resources, but we can all learn important lessons from their modus operandi and use customer insights to better engage our customers and improve the bottom line. Below are our top three lessons from the e-commerce king.
- People are complex, and customers are people; so treat your customers as the complex beings they are
According to MarketingTech, “50% of customers cite how they felt about their interaction with a brand as being the most important factor in a relationship or transaction — rather than the actual tangible elements that the company delivered as part of the product or service.”
While obsessing over data, it’s easy to forget that the sources of your data are actual people with complex emotions, needs, and desires. Sometimes the data you collect tells the full story, but more often, it doesn’t.
Customers appreciate simple, individualized gestures that show them you understand and care about them as individuals. It is paramount to always keep this concept at the core of your customer engagement efforts.
If you run a business that caters to online entrepreneurs, you can segment your customers and send them relevant information to help with their businesses. Like Amazon’s “People like you purchased this item” prompt, you can base these suggestions on purchases made by similar customers. As an added value, you can create and send your customers a PDF with information from your analytics so that they feel like they are getting unique insights from your business that they can’t get anywhere else.
Follow the steps outlined here to edit PDFs downloaded from your analytics tool. You can get rid of all sensitive and confidential information but keep it authentic.
If you run a bakery, you should go beyond keeping track of how many orders you get for special types of bread and pastries. Remember, your customers have birthdays and other milestone celebrations in their lives — envision your pastries as an important part of those of celebrations.