Has Amazon fundamentally changed the way Americans shop?
Many — as yesterday’s RetailWire discussion on Walmart.com’s new free two-day shipping offer demonstrates — see little that other retailers can do to come between Amazon.com and the millions of consumers who shop the site. A new research paper looks at what sets Amazon apart in the minds of consumers and, clearly, the table stakes have been set quite high.
A survey of 1,000 U.S. adults conducted by PowerReviews found 71 percent make at least one purchase a month from Amazon. A variety of factors influence their decision to purchase from the site including:
- Product variety: 79 percent
- Free shipping: 64 percent
- Better deals: 60 percent
- Customer reviews: 55 percent
- Search: 54 percent
- Mobile experience: 29 percent
While other research has indicated that many use Amazon as a de facto search engine for online shopping, PowerReviews found that 70 percent of its respondents use brand or retailer sites before completing a transaction on Amazon.
“Our survey found that consumers’ biggest pain point pre- and post- purchase was not having enough information,” said Matt Moog, CEO of PowerReviews, in a statement. “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.”
The e-tailer has succeeded with consumers, according to the study’s analysis, because it is viewed as both “consistent” and “trustworthy.” How Amazon, particularly through its Prime program, does business has created high expectations among consumers. Eighty-four percent cited free shipping as important while 62 percent were influenced by free returns. Twenty-nine percent liked being able to reorder items easily.
Delivering products as promised is key to the reputation that Amazon has developed with its customers. Yesterday, Amazon announced it was building its first air cargo hub in Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky Airport in Hebron, KY to support the company’s Prime Air cargo planes. Last year, Amazon reached deals to lease 40 dedicated cargo planes to support its Prime shipping program. Sixteen of the aircraft are currently in service.
- How Amazon Changed Shopper Expectations – PowerReviews/Business Wire
- Will free two-day shipping give Walmart an edge over Amazon? – RetailWire
- Amazon to Create 2,000 Jobs at New Air Cargo Hub in Kentucky – Amazon.com
- Amazon launches Prime Air – RetailWire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What do you see as the key factors that separate Amazon.com from other retailers in the minds of consumers? How will the creation of Prime Air hubs affect the e-tailer’s business going forward? What will it mean for Amazon’s competitors?