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How Amazon Changed Shopper Expectations

PowerReviews, a leading provider of ratings, reviews and question-and-answer technology to more than 1,000 global brands and retailers, released a new research paper detailing Amazon’s rise and how the retailer’s dominance has changed shopper expectations. The paper is based on a survey of more than 1,000 U.S. consumers aged 18 and over. It explores behavior and contributing factors to Amazon’s dominance, plus steps that brands and retailers can take to compete.

“Amazon accounted for almost half of all 2016 online holiday sales and is the undisputed ecommerce market leader. Our survey found that consumers biggest pain point pre- and post- purchase was not having enough information. Amazon provides rich content in the form of product reviews, photos, videos and descriptions to build trust. Consumers have come to not only rely on this information but expect brands and retailers to provide it as well,” said Matt Moog, chief executive officer, PowerReviews. “Retailers are under no illusion about the competition they face but they have the tools compete and win by providing relevant content and by utilizing loyalty programs to increase engagement and conversion.”

The survey found that 71% of shoppers make at least one Amazon purchase a month. Shoppers cite the following reasons:

  • Variety of Products: 79%
  • Free Shipping: 64%
  • Better Deals: 60%
  • Volume of Customer Reviews: 55%
  • Search Capabilities: 54%
  • Mobile Experience: 29%

Additionally, 70% of surveyed shoppers use brand or retailer sites to research their purchase before navigating to Amazon to complete the transaction, a cause of frustration for retailers. Amazon is shaping the ecommerce landscape with detailed product information, authentic user generated content, and loyalty perks that consumers now expect.

Our survey found two main themes, noting that Amazon is both consistent and trustworthy. Consumers have come to rely on Amazon to delivery everything from daily essentials to the higher priced splurge items. Unlike a typical loyalty program offering discounts, Amazon Prime charges customers a membership fee in return for benefits such a free shipping and free videos. In return, shoppers are fiercely loyal. Amazon has raised the bar for all retailers and brands who are struggling with how to compete in this new and complex world.

Table Stakes: Our survey confirmed that free shipping and returns are table stakes for e-retailers:

  • 84% cited free shipping as a compelling incentive
  • 62% were tempted by the offer of free returns
  • 29% found reordering ease enticing

Through its Vine program, Amazon is also redefining loyalty by focusing not only on customers who frequently buy products, but also on customers who frequently contribute useful reviews with perks such as free samples.

Differentiators: Shoppers are attracted and retained through the following perks:

  • 33% of consumers would like free products
  • 29% cited loyalty points
  • 27% want early access to sales
  • 19% are intrigued by early access to products

To read the full white paper please visit this page on PowerReviews.com, or listen to a breakdown on the survey results in a webinar recording with Theresa O’Neil, SVP of Marketing.

Source: PowerReviews Press Release

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Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com. See disclosure at EcommerceBytes.com/disclosure/.