Every retailer is afraid of Amazon.com – and for good reason – they’ve nailed it:
- Products delivered to my door only hours after I click “order”
- A vast product assortment that is quickly navigated via search
- Product reviews that are actually reliable and helpful
- My shopping experience is tailored based on my behavior
This last point can’t be emphasized enough. The Amazon algorithms actually add value to my experience. Even if they don’t accurately guess exactly what I’m seeking at that moment, the impression I get from the second I hit the homepage is that the site is tailored to me.
Walmart isn’t new to digital/ecommerce. Back in 2000, Jeanne Jackson, pretty much responsible for turning around Banana Republic, left to run walmart.com out of Brisbane, CA. Although that’s 6 years after the launch of Amazon.com, I believe there’s a fundamental strategy difference here. Amazon is using my data to merchandise products to me. The Walmarts and Sears of the retail world are still relying on merchant intuition and merchant driven marketing – which is simply less relevant to the individual consumer.
But don’t take my word for it – see for yourself:
Below is the Walmart homepage (signed-in state): nothing here that says “Bill – we have something special for you”. “Amazing gifts” and “awesome prices” pretty much apply to anyone.
Contrast this with the Amazon.com homepage. Yes – there’s a big feature on Black Friday – but there’s also an “Inspired by Your Browsing History” section – above the fold and right there waiting for me.
And, of course, I’ve been looking at trail running shoes, so there’s a selection of those offered as well.
Take-away: Amazon is winning by tailoring the customer shopping experience – whereas the traditional retailers (Sears.com is also shown below) – continue to push featured products and top sellers. Easy to see why Amazon’s customer experience is superior and the others are playing catch up.
Here’s Sears.com for reference: