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5 Ways to “Amazon” your Online Store

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Amazon is the world’s largest internet-based retailer. They didn’t get there by sitting on their hands – they’ve been doing many things right from the start. Anyone operating an online store, whether built from scratch or hosted on WordPress, Magento, or anywhere else, can learn a lot (and generate more sales) by following their lead.

Today, Amazon is at the cutting age of e-commerce technology and best practices. As the world’s largest online marketplace, their collection of data is second to none, allowing them unprecedented insights into e-commerce trends and consumer behavior. With this information, Amazon has been able to identify and refine the key design principles that increase conversion and keep consumers coming back.

To “Amazon” your online store, implement these five proven strategies.

Encourage Product Ratings/Reviews

Product ratings and reviews are powerful. Consumer-generated content has a significant impact on purchasing decisions: shoppers are three times more likely to trust customer reviews than the product description provided by the brand or retailer. Find ways to encourage your customers to rate and review your products, such as prompting them via a follow-up email after a purchase or offering some kind of reward scheme. You can provide discounts for regular reviewers or you can just introduce an arbitrary points system – in today’s “gamified” world, many people will collect points just for the sake of collecting points.

Optimize Images

E-commerce optimized images is perhaps the most disproportionately overlooked design principle. Studies have shown that online shoppers rely overwhelmingly on images, particularly those browsing on mobile. Consumers scroll through results pages, often not reading the text at all until they see an image of what they’re trying to find. By providing highly-visible, easy-to-read images that are optimized for small screens, you help your customers find what they’re looking for and keep them from going to another vendor.

Display Costs in Real-Time

Today’s consumer is less forgiving than ever of hidden fees. Unexpected costs are a leading cause of shopping cart abandonment and even without any hidden fees, sticker shock can prevent shoppers from finalizing the sale if they aren’t keeping track while adding items to their cart. To prevent this, display your customer’s subtotal for them as they browse your website and update it in real-time as they shop. Being direct and transparent about the total cost helps your customers keep to their budget and builds consumer trust in your brand.

Offer Free Shipping

Similar to displaying shopping cart sub-totals, offering shipping time estimates while the customers browse can lower your abandonment rate and build consumer confidence – but what is even more powerful for increasing both conversion and sales is to offer free shipping. Setting a minimum order value for free shipping is proven to boost the average order size, as more than half of online shoppers have added more items to their shopping cart simply in order to qualify for free shipping. Knowing that free shipping is on the table will also keep your customers coming back.

Introduce a “Prime” Membership

Amazon Prime’s membership doubled in the past two years, granting subscribers access to exclusive items, free 2-day shipping, and several other features including streaming service Prime Video. Introducing “members only” content can be very effective for turning casual shoppers into loyal, committed customers, which will both increase their purchase frequency as well as generate additional income from the membership fees. Subscription services also convey a sense of trust and reliability to casual shoppers as well, making them want to be part of the group.

The success of Amazon is the envy of any e-commerce operation, but it is by no means a monopoly. Online shoppers around the world are always looking for independent niche vendors where they can find products tailor-made for them and feel like they’re part of an exclusive club. Take advantage of these Amazon-tested-and-proven tactics for making consumers feel comfortable, giving them a frictionless path to purchase, and offering them something more from their shopping experience.

Along with these tips, don’t forget to offer your customers a range of payment options! You’ll want a highly secure payment processor that is easy to integrate onto your website and that supports multiple payment methods, such as credit card, Bitcoin, and e-money transfers.

A Payza account makes it easy to accept online payments and there are lots of added bonuses, like free recurring billing, built-in fraud protection, and no hidden fees. Payza’s Guest Checkout options make it easy for your customers to pay you instantly.