Amazon Basics
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Learn from the Best: Amazon’s 4 Pillars of Success

Lesson 20 Chapter 1 Module 3

In order for a business to become successful, it has to be built on solid foundations. 

I'm sure by now you can agree with me that Amazon is successful in every sense of the word. It is, after all, the most valuable company in the world. 

The company (and its founder, Jeff Bezos) doesn't just do eCommerce. It has a stake in many industries, and it is successful in each one. 

Here's the thing though: it doesn't matter which industry Amazon enters, it's foundation remains the same. It's that foundation that ensures the company's success time after time.

AMAZON'S 4 PILLARS OF SUCCESS

1. BE CUSTOMER-CENTRIC

Amazon is always ready to change as their customers do and always ready to ask, "how high?" when a customer says, "jump!"

They watch the market carefully and focus on what people want. They don't try and fit their customers into a preconceived idea of what a customers is supposed to be.

You may not like the idea of the above image. But if you want people to give you their hard-earned money, you'd best develop an Amazon-mindset. It did not become the most successful company in the world by arguing with its customers about what they (Amazon) think is the best for them (their customers).

HOW YOU CAN FOLLOW AMAZON'S CUSTOMER-CENTRIC EXAMPLE

Give people what they want. It's really that simple.

If you want to sell something, learn everything you can about the people who are passionate about it. 

Let's say you absolutely adore Pugs. You do some research and find out that there are at least a million other people who adore Pugs too. You also think Pug Booties are the best invention ever, and since there are so many other Pug-lovers out there, you're going to sell them Pug Booties. You find a supplier, buy the best Pug Booties, put them up for sale on Amazon and wait for the sales to roll in. 

And nothing happens. Not. One. Sale.

What happened? You did your research. People are passionate about Pugs! Why aren't they buying your Pug Booties?

You didn't do your research properly. You see, your search doesn't end with how many people are interested in something. You need to find out everything about them.

  • What do they like?
  • What do they dislike?
  • What are their aspirations?
  • What are their fears?
  • What is it that makes them so passionate?
  • The list goes on...

If you did your research properly, you might have discovered that those people wanted to buy Pug Jackets instead of Pug Booties. Or maybe they were more interested in personalised dog tags for their Pugs. Maybe they wanted Pug T-shirts... 

Give people what they want and they will throw their money at you.

2. BE CREATIVE

Amazon is constantly trying new ways to improve their customers' shopping experience.

HOW YOU CAN FOLLOW AMAZON'S CREATIVITY EXAMPLE

When you're just starting out, you don't have a lot to go on. In that case, keep an eye on what other sellers in the same space as you are doing. 

  • How are they improving their customers' experience (if at all)?
  • Buy something from them. Is there something you can do better with the product(s) they sell?
  • See how they handle the sale- and after-sale process. How would you do it better?
  • Go to their product pages on Amazon and read the reviews. What are people complaining about? That's your golden chance to give people exactly what they want.

Below is a screen recording of how to look for reviews on Amazon.

In the example, I went to Amazon.com. I typed 'pug booties' into the Amazon search bar and clicked on the 'search' button. That led me to a results page with all kinds of dog boots. I chose a random option. Once on the product page, I scrolled to the bottom of the page to see the customer reviews. I then clicked on the 1-star reviews to see what people were complaining about with regards to the booties. 

Give it a try. Go to Amazon and search for anything that interests you. See if you can find out what people are complaining about. Then think about how you would address the issue and make the product better.

3. BE FOCUSED ON CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE

Giving people what they want is one thing. Giving them an enjoyable experience while buying (or even returning) a product is crucial.

If you give someone a good experience, they'll tell their friends and family about it. Not only that, they will become your loyal customers - meaning they'll buy from you again and again.

Every detail in the Amazon online store is designed to engage customers and have them excited to be there.

HOW YOUR BUSINESS CAN FOLLOW AMAZON'S EXAMPLE OF BEING FOCUSED ON CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE

Follow Amazon's detailed guidelines (which we'll discuss in the Advanced Training) when listing your product on their platform.

The 'blueprint' for your customers' enjoyable experience is already there. All you have to do is 'fill in the blanks' for your own product(s).

3. CONTINUOUSLY IMPROVE AND OPTIMISE 

Amazon makes good use of its data. The company is always crunching the numbers, and it uses data in just about every aspect of the business, including customer experience, warehousing, operations, finance, and marketing.

HOW YOU CAN FOLLOW AMAZON'S EXAMPLE OF CONTINUOUSLY IMPROVING AND OPTIMIZING

Learn to make good use of data as your own online business grows. It will help you make informed business decisions.

Let's use the Pug example again. You learn from your mistake and realise you'll have to collect data with regards to what Pug-lovers really want to buy BEFORE you offer them a product.

You set up an online survey which runs for a week. After analysing the results, you learn that most Pug-lovers are more interested in showing how much they love the breed as opposed to buying accessories for their dogs. 

Now that you know what the Pug-lovers want, you dive into action. You contact a graphic designer with a few ideas and together you come up with an awesome Pug T-shirt. You put it on Amazon and bite your fingernails (because last time you had a bad experience).

And the sales come in. You have a winning product! 

The image above is an actual product on Amazon, by the way. It generates about $718.00 per month on the USA Marketplace. That's over R10,000 per month for one, simple T-shirt. (You can see the product here.)

That's the power of using data to help you make business decisions.

If you hate the idea of working with data, you'll learn to love it once you understand what a difference it can make to your business's bottom line. If you really can't make friends with it, then hire someone to collect, analyse and report the data to you. However you collect it, make sure you make good use of it and it will serve you well.

CONCLUSION

When it comes to building a successful business, there's no need to reinvent the wheel. Model after the successful companies (like Amazon) who have already proven that their strategies, values and practices work.

Make Amazon's 4 Pillars of Success part of your business strategy and you're already halfway there!

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