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EcommerceBytes-NewsFlash, Number 2981 - January 17, 2013 - ISSN 1539-5065    4 of 4

What Does Amazon Do Right? Tips from Retail's BIG Show

By David A. Utter
January 17, 2013

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It's one thing for companies to find online selling success in specific niches, but when a company is so successful it makes retailing giant Walmart sit up and take notice, its practices bear examination from ecommerce pros.

One discussion at the just-concluded NRF Retail's BIG Show looked at Amazon, Nordstrom, and Walmart to pick up some of their keys to winning online. Speaker Fiona Dias of ShopRunner cited excellent leadership, long term planning, product excellence, and the customer experience as common ground for those retailing masters.

"The reason you stand out among a sea of competitors is product," Dias said. Indeed in ecommerce, no matter what niche one is in, there's likely to be competition. Make sure your product is one customers will want to have when they discover it.

Without a physical presence, customers have to feel they are valued for not only their purchases but for their feedback. This is where Amazon has a "laser focus," maintaining and improving the customer experience. Make sure that solicited feedback really does receive consideration when adjusting one's site for a better experience.

Leadership likely isn't an issue for smaller ecommerce businesses, but larger ones should ensure they select a solid leader. Dias noted the contrast between Amazon, with founder Jeff Bezos leading the way, and Walmart, which has experienced a "revolving door" when it comes to ecommerce leadership.

That leader should consider the long term. We know we focus a lot on the nearest holiday shopping season, with good reason. But the ecommerce market, particularly the paradigm of people shopping solely from desktop PCs, is on the cusp of change, especially regarding tablet and smartphone shopping. A good leader will have an eye on the future as well as the present.

Oliver Walsh, founder of digital creative agency Wednesday, also discussed some basic retailing truths during Retail's BIG Show. He suggested brands have an opportunity to become credible authorities via the content they display for customers.

Ecommerce pros already understand the value of such credibility. It's at the heart of what's probably a foremost consideration - top of page organic search results in Google. Authority by a brand on its field means a lot, from Google to customer retention. That's why you'll hear a lot about content marketing in 2013, where you sell by what you know as well as what you produce.

About the author:

David A. Utter is a freelance writer based in Lexington, KY. He has covered technology topics from search to security to online business and has been quoted in places like ZDNet and BusinessWeek. He considers his appearance on NPR's "All Things Considered" with long-time host Robert Siegel a delightful highlight. Send your tips to media@davidautter.com and find him on Twitter @davidautter and on LinkedIn.

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