The most advanced companies in e-commerce such as Amazon or Zappos have experienced a constant process of learning about the behaviour and purchasing habits of their customers. This behaviour is measured and analysed in each act of purchase. They know their customers and their preferences so well that this allows them to recommend future purchases with a high percentage of success and success. They get in this way that their customers buy more and more frequently. Not only do they establish patterns for each client, but they cross them with models of clients that have similar purchase histories and, based on their decisions, create promotions with a high percentage of success.

The best way to study and experience this advanced development is to become a client of the big players, Amazon, eBay or Zappos. Subscribing to their email newsletters will help us discover many of their strategies, and we will be able to observe over time how each time they personalise their messages more according to our preferences and on old purchase decisions.

It is about being able to guess which offer fits best with our possible demand. Recommendations can increase sales in e-commerce by 8 to 25%. It is about offering products similar or related to the current purchase or even those products that the a consumer with similar consumption profiles have chosen.

Also the management and exposition of the images of the products that we are offering and the selection of the same ones is something that we must observe in the great referents or leaders. Images in three dimensions, rotating, wide (many images in different sizes as in the case of online clothing sales) and truthful information will greatly reduce complaints and increase orders. Those complex products (industrial, technology, advanced services) may require an ad-hoc explanation by an expert at the same time that the graphics information is displayed.

Perhaps, the most important learning you can get from your competitors is the effort they have used in the simplification of processes and business model. This is particularly valuable in the simplicity of their purchasing processes. Make an order to check it and carefully study each of the steps. Someone has tried hard and has observed for a long time how they behave and how customers act. Do not do it yourself; it would be like reinventing the wheel. Observe, inspire and adapt.

Many e-commerce websites compete against themselves by complicating processes and asking for more data than is strictly necessary. What big players do is just remembering the data and recognise the customer so that they do not have to re-fill out a tedious form every time they make a purchase.

We only have to request the strictly necessary data, not more.

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