What CTOs of online retailers learn from Amazon?

Amazon Prime Day, falling on 16 July this year, has become one of the biggest days in the retail calendar, driving both sales and sign ups for Prime memberships. It’s also a brilliant opportunity for ecommerce retailers of all sizes to learn from Amazon’s Prime Day tactics, and apply it to their own strategies, especially when preparing for seasonal sales spikes.

So what can CTOs of online retailers learn from Amazon, and what technology strategies should they put in place to ensure they keep pace with changing customer demands, especially during peak sales times?

Make the most of mobile

Consumers can now shop online from anywhere, at any time and on multiple devices, meaning online retailers need to ensure they have the right technology in place to tailor their online shopping offering to allow shoppers to quick and painless transition between devices, especially during peak sales times.

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Smartphone adoption has accelerated rapidly in recent years, and its growth is only set to continue. According to eMarketer, retail e-commerce sales reached $2.3 trillion in 2017 alone, a 23.2% increase on the previous year. Over half (58.9%) of these sales were made via mobile devices. By 2021, mobile e-commerce could total upwards of $3.5 trillion, making up almost three quarters (72.9%) of e-commerce sales.

Mobile technologies will increasingly influence every stage of the customer’s shopping journey – but while the stats show that mobile sales are taking away from in-store transactions, mobile technology is being specifically developed to complement, not detract from, the in-store experience. From custom offers prompted by geotargeting to in-store product research and price checks, mobile technology is becoming an integral part of retail. In-store mobile payments will also enable customers to pay for their purchase without waiting in line.

Optimise the online checkout process

Despite the booming popularity of mobile, retailers mustn’t forget their website offering and see it as a combined and optimised omni-channel strategy. With this comes additional challenges, especially around peak sales days. Retailers want to move shoppers through their site quickly to eliminate website traffic and the risk of a website crash, while shoppers want to get to the buy button as fast as possible so they can move on to the next bargain site and start filling up their next virtual shopping basket. There is a crucial solution to this – leveraging data intelligence to cut out the most mundane and least attractive task for consumers – imputing their details at the checkout process.

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Consumers don’t want to waste time inputting their details every time they switch to a different device or website, every time they proceed through a checkout process. Leveraging fast and accurate data verification technology will ensure speed to purchase, increase customer satisfaction and even reduce the number of incorrect deliveries, as data such as a shoppers addresses will be verified at time of purchase.

Amazon’s one-click checkout is a strong example of seamless customer experience. Online retailers need to follow suite and ensure they have the right data intelligence solutions in place to streamline this process, minimising customer frustration which can lead to basket abandonment.

Streamlining the checkout process is all about making it as easy as possible for the customer to get from browse to buy, and simple additions like type-ahead technology, which cuts down the time it takes to fill out online forms, can make all the difference.

Prioritise back-end technology

Online retailers need to maximise efforts to move consumers through the site quickly, to eliminate unnecessary traffic and minimise the risk of a website crash. During peak times or key retail dates, CTOs need to ensure their back-end technology is keeping pace with the ever-increasing speed demanded by consumers. As other online retailers are piling on deals to compete with the likes of Amazon Prime Day, consumers race through multiple online retail websites to load up their virtual shopping baskets and speed through the checkout.

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With speed, come clumsy mistakes, as shoppers are only human. This is where technology comes in. Ensuring back-end systems are optimised for fast, efficient data verification such as type-ahead, will mean that shopper details can be verified instantly, moving them through the site quickly and eliminating the risk of incorrect names, delivery addresses, contact details being inputted at checkout – all of which lead to countless incorrect deliveries that retailers generally foot the bill to amend.

To tackle this challenge, retailers need to load test their websites to ensure they’re ready to deal with a significant increase in traffic, and coordinate with logistics teams to ensure they’re able to keep pace with online orders and deliveries. Having the right data verification technology in place has crucial value for a retailers back-end processes.

Today, the retail landscape looks totally different than it did ten years ago, and it will look drastically different in the next ten years. This is why e-commerce retailers need to ensure they are staying on top of their entire shopping offering across mobile and online, as well as leveraging the right technology to streamline back-end process. This is crucial to keep ahead of the curve, continuously deliver the best possible experience for customers and remain relevant in an environment that’s ever-changing.


Sourced by David Green, Managing Director at Loqate

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Nick Ismail

Nick Ismail is a former editor for Information Age (from 2018 to 2022) before moving on to become Global Head of Brand Journalism at HCLTech. He has a particular interest in smart technologies, AI and...

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